So many great stories and observations here.
Never mind intelligence and wit; the amount of compassion and being-in-the-moment that it takes to conduct a Colbert-style interview is just mind-boggling.
I like the kindness he showed his guests, both backstage and on stage. I like Ken Burns's observation that "we have to appreciate it even more: He’s doing it backward." Kind of like the old line about Ginger Rogers. If I were a public person — which I very much do not want to be, but if I were — I would absolutely kill to be interviewed by Colbert.
I love the tribute to his mother that Sarah Silverman mentions. Had not seen that.
I'm not worried about his transition to being a "regular" talk show host. I don't hold him up to some impossible expectation of how he has to outdo the genius of his Colbert Report character. Rather, I look forward to seeing the new ways in which he'll continue to be himself and continue to be kind to his guests.
The thing about a person that brilliant is, you can discuss him all day and it still doesn't compare to the actual experience of watching him do his thing. Heck, I might have to start watching TV again.