This past week, Stephen Colbert sat behind his desk on the set of the Colbert Report for the very last time. After nine years, the hilarious satirical news show has ended so that Colbert can take over David Letterman’s job on CBS’s The Late Show. Colbert’s final episode was hilarious, as always, but also very touching, as a star-studded group of dozens of actors, politicians, journalists, and Sesame Street characters joined him on stage to sing “We’ll Meet Again.”
What made the goodbye especially bittersweet was the fact that Colbert has essentially been playing a character for the past nine years, and when he begins hosting The Late Show, he’ll be his normal self again. Of course, Colbert is charismatic and witty whether playing a role or not, but I will definitely miss his lovable ultra-conservative blowhard persona. The character of Colbert was truly unique in television history, and that uniqueness also extended to his environment. I will miss not seeing the ridiculous opening graphics again, with the digital eagle that swoops toward the viewer before the camera pans down to Colbert at his familiar blue-and-red desk and the audience erupts with applause.
However, we can still experience the iconic Colbert Report studio, even if Colbert never sits behind that desk again, because the whole studio has been added to Google Maps!
Now, in much the same way that you can explore a city street, you can explore the inside of the Colbert studio, including the bookshelf with all of its odd memorabilia, and the portrait of Colbert above the fireplace, in front of another portrait of Colbert, in front of another portrait… and so on, ad infinitum. You can also position yourself behind Colbert’s desk, look out at the audience and soak up some of that over-inflated ego which he so often projected.
And are you curious about the story behind some of the memorabilia on the walls and bookcase? The show also created an interactive tour which explains some background information on these items here: http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/colbert-report-studiotron. For example, did you know that Captain America himself bequeathed his shield to Colbert?
Thanks to digital cartography, people now have the luxury of exploring both outside and inside places that they may never have the chance to visit in real life. With the Colbert Report over, the studio will be dismantled, the audience will never return, and the desk is being given away to one lucky fan. But the studio as will always live on, on Google Maps and in our hearts.