Stephen Colbert officially says goodbye to his pandemic show

America is closer to normal than it’s been since the beginning of last year – the seven-day average number of newly reported coronavirus cases is the lowest it’s been since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 – which means it’s time for late-night shows to start going back to their regular formats. On Thursday’s “Late Show,” Stephen Colbert said farewell to the “Storage Closet” studio where he’s been doing his show since August as he prepares to return to the main studio at the Ed Sullivan Theater for full-capacity shows on Monday. As he looked back on the unprecedented past 15 months, he had a lot of thanks and praise for his staff, who adapted to the new challenges and kept the show going, his family, and the viewers who stuck with him. 

He thanked his staff and crew for rising to the occasion “not only with confidence but also with ambition.” He said they did episodes this past year that could stand among the show’s best. “You make me want to be worthy of you,” he said to his employees. 

Next, he thanked his family, who also served as his crew for a good part of the past year. “I love you, and not just because this year I get to write you off as dependents and business expenses,” he joked. 

“And I want to thank you, the audience at home, for being here, too,” he said. “It was a strange and scary year, but if I had to be alone, I’m glad it was with you.” 

He concluded with a fist-pumping, freeze-framed tribute to the end of “The Breakfast Club” and a joking montage telling viewers what happened to everyone from the pandemic-era version of “The Late Show,” which had been called “A Late Show” (not that anyone really stopped calling it by its actual name). Colbert achieved the EGOT, but not the one you’re thinking of; Evie Colbert got cast in the 10th “Fast and Furious” movie; stage manager Mark McKenna made millions in NFTs but forgot the password to his cryptocurrency wallet; and the mug Colbert drank out of returned to a life of crime and is wanted in six states for identity theft. 

As New York City opens back up, many late-night shows are returning to normal. Jimmy Fallon is already back to filming in front of a studio audience and “Desus & Mero” will move into a new studio of its very own on June 20. Only Trevor Noah’s “Daily Show” is currently still filming remotely. 

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