The 10 Nerdiest Moments of The Colbert Report (So Far)

By Bri Buckley in Daily Lists, TV
Monday, March 28, 2011 at 8:06 am
Stephen Colbert is a nerd's nerd, having played D&D as a kid and developed an impressive knowledge of J.R.R. Tolkien's works, among other things. As an alumnus of Second City, Strangers with Candy, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, he's had quite a few opportunities during his career to let his geek flag fly. If you recall, he was also featured in part two of TR's list of celebrity nerds, but by far the ultimate platform for his nerdery is The Colbert Report, a faux-conservative spinoff of The Daily Show. As the show gained momentum since its debut in 2005, so did the more-than-occasional coverage of Stephen's awesome nerdiness. Here's a list of the ten nerdiest moments of the show, which were difficult to narrow down due to the sheer volume of them. Any of these moments would be enough to make us non-famous nerds positively green with envy, but don't worry - I've also compiled a simple three-step system any of us can use to achieve the same kind of nerdy success:

• Step One: Get your own TV show to publicly demonstrate your nerd worthiness.
• Step Two: Abandon your pride and beg for what you want.
• Step Three: Profit!

Good luck with that.

10) Stephen Has a Spider Species Named After Him

Sure, it's kind of cool to have baby bald eagles, sea turtles, or hockey team mascots named after you - but those are just individual animals (or freakish costume adaptations of them). The true path to animal-naming immortality is to get an entire species named after you! After Stephen heard about a biologist who had named a species of spider after Canadian rock star Neil Young, he just had to have the same honor for himself - and all it took was some shameless begging on a late-night cable TV show. So Stephen had an arachnology jargon-filled conversation with biologist Jason Bond, who graciously allowed Stephen to choose from a variety of trapdoor spider species - one of which became Aptostichus stephencolberti. You arachnophobes may need to look away, or at least remind yourselves that spiders in video clips, while scary, can't really get you. It's the one crawling up your leg that you need to worry about.

9) Stephen Calls Out CNN for Mistaking a Balrog for the Devil

True to his nature as a nerd, Stephen couldn't let CNN get away with using a visual representation of a Balrog from a 1970s Lord of the Rings calendar as a stand-in for Satan during a lame filler-story about the significance of the number 666 (CNN aired this June 6, 2006). He dedicated a few minutes from his show the next day to explain - in detail - the differences between Balrogs and the Prince of Darkness. This is a nerd win on a few different levels: religious nerdery, LOTR nerdery, and the nit-picking compulsion that we all seem to have when we see or hear someone getting something terribly, terribly wrong. You keep picking those nits, Stephen!

8) Stephen Gets a Free iPhone

Most gadget nerds were practically drooling in anticipation of the release of Apple's iPhone. Stephen was no exception - cue the shameless begging! These two clips capture both the joy of receiving something cool and electronic to play with, and the agony of finding out that the damn thing doesn't work the way it's supposed to, even if it does make delicious salsa. Those nerds of you who are so inclined will have fun with the binary code runners toward the bottom of the screen. Stephen had similar joy when he received a free iPad later.

7) Stephen Gets a Space Station Treadmill Named After Him

In his on-going quest to get things named after him, Stephen exercised the awesome power of his audience to vote in an online poll NASA was running in order to name a new international space-station node. As you'll see in the clip, Colbert won the poll, with Serenity trailing in second place. NASA naturally reserved the right to make the ultimate decision and decided to name the node Tranquility instead (Come on, NASA! Even Serenity wasn't good enough?). However, they did deign to name a treadmill after Stephen, complete with creating a patch and a complex acronym to fit his last name: COLBERT (Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill). As awesome and nerdy as that is, I hope I'm not the only one feeling just a little disappointment at knowing that there's not currently an object in space officially called "Fart Monkey."

6) Stephen "Wins" Twitter

Stephen raised the bar for both social networking nerds and celebrities by being awarded "The Golden Tweet" by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. Stephen's tweet about oil-soaked birds in the Gulf of Mexico became the most re-Tweeted Tweet of 2010. Stephen, of course, accepted the award with all of the grace that goes along with rubbing his victory in the faces of Ashton Kutcher and Kanye West, who (let's face it) are really not interesting at all but seem to have a lot of followers. Will he take it again for 2011? Only time will tell. This clip is also notable for Matt Damon asking Stephen to use his Twitter followers to plug a charity, and Stephen taking the opportunity to tell him to go to hell - twice!

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