With indelible character, Stephen Colbert made us think twice

December 14, 2014 3:22 AM

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With indelible character, Stephen Colbert made us think twice

Television has been a fixture in American life for so long now that on some level almost every show feels like a rerun, a present-day iteration of something we’ve seen before. How often, really, does someone burst through the small screen’s many formulas and deliver something that feels wholly new?

It’s true that his comic persona — the blowhard conservative pundit, often in error but never in doubt, with an ego the size of the Grand Canyon — was originally inspired by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, or “Papa Bear,’’ as Colbert called him with mock reverence.

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