One of the very few rare occasions when Stephen Colbert is out of character. And probably the longest he has been so, in public. A truly delightful exchange.
Because he the character most of the time - this ego-manic, right-wing, rigid fool- it makes you wonder if he really is a smart guy at all, or is he just playing himself.
This video sets to rest all your doubts. This guy is a genius. He is one of the most intelligent, gifted and witty tv personality ever. It is clear that not just the writers writing top-class material on his show, but Colbert's owns insights and spin of the news would be responsible for more than 1/2 the funny stuff on his show. His off-the-cuff remarks about J D Salinger testify to this guy's intellect.
The way he acknowledges Jon Stewart without being fawning was touching; he could easily slip into his character and make impudent remarks about Stewart and get away with it (the audience were laughing even when Colbert paused between serious statements).
Mr Colbert, I bow before thee.