Throughout the course of late night television history, there have been several notable feuds between the major show’s hosts. But when it comes to friendships, there has arguably only been one that is truly legendary: the bromance between Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
It all began when Stewart took over The Daily Show — where Colbert had been working as a correspondent since 1997 — from Craig Kilborn in 1999. During a 2015 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Colbert spoke about the instant chemistry he felt with Stewart on the first day they met.
“The first time I met Jon Stewart was at the press conference that Comedy Central held to announce Jon would be the new host of The Daily Show, which back then was not called The Daily Show with Jon Stewart…So, I heard that there was going to be a press conference that day announcing that Jon was going to be the host, and I said, ‘Well, wouldn’t The Daily Show cover something like this?’ So I left the offices and went over to Comedy Central, and I stood up and said, ‘Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show. In what way does this announcement affect my chances of becoming host of The Daily Show?’ Jon Stewart turned to the president of the network and said, ‘You told me he wasn’t funny.'”
From then on — as they blossomed into two of the most influential TV personalities of their time — the bond between them was unmistakable.
See a comprehensive guide to their epic — and adorable — friendship below.
The Daily Show:
After Stewart joined Colbert on The Daily Show, the pair spent six years together satirizing the news as host and correspondent, respectively. Their banter was often some of the show’s most memorable work, with Colbert later revealing that he reveled in making Stewart break.
“My favorite memories of Jon are making him laugh,” he told EW. “There is no greater joy in the world than to sit at the desk next to him and though he knew the material already and was part of the team that wrote what you were about to say, you are cracking him up. I’m sure he did funny things too, but all I cared about was being funny for him.”
The Colbert Report:
Colbert left The Daily Show in the fall of 2005 to strike out on his own as host of The Colbert Report, turning the conservative pundit personality he had cultivated with the help of Stewart into a full-time gig. But their antics didn’t stop there. With back-to-back time slots, Stewart was able to frequently devote the final moments of Daily to hilariously tossing the ball to Colbert.
The pair also made numerous appearances as guests on each other’s programs throughout the years, with two particular standouts coming in the form of sketches centered around Stewart explaining Hanukkah and Colbert transferring his infamous Super PAC.
Of course, no cameo was more iconic than Colbert’s return to The Daily Show for Stewart’s final episode, during which he went off-script to thank Stewart for everything he had done for him.
Several times throughout their dual Comedy Central careers, Stewart and Colbert were asked to present at the Emmys, allowing their brilliant rapport to shine on television’s biggest night of the year.
However, their best awards show moment came in 2012, when they enlisted Jimmy Fallon to join in a bit that involved the losers in their shared category — Outstanding Variety Series — attempting to keep the winner from accepting his award.
If you somehow weren’t already enamored by this golden duo, they became even more difficult to resist when they started using their talents to raise money for charity. The pair has definitely not been shy about making people laugh for a good cause, performing at events such Comedy Central’s Night of Too Many Stars telethon, filming viral gold to promote an Omaze campaign for the Star Wars: Force for Change initiative, and even organizing their own Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.
The Late Show:
Ever since Colbert was handed the reigns of the Late Show from David Letterman in 2015, Stewart has played an integral part in raising the show’s political commentary to new heights. From dressing up as Donald Trump to hiding out with Colbert’s longtime alter-ego to taking over during the live Republican National Convention broadcast, Stewart has continuously lent a helping hand to his friend.
When Stewart interrupted Colbert’s monologue:
Stewart’s reunion With Colbert’s Colbert Report alter ego:
When Stewart took over the Late Show:
Colbert and Stewart’s 2016 Election musical:
Jon Stewart’s Donald Trump impression:
Jon Stewart’s plea to the media: