Sure, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are revolutionary comedians, stirring activists for change and legends in the world of late-night television. But also, they're friendship goals. Individually, Stephen and Jon are hilarious and hard to match, but when they're together, they're just at a whole different level. You come for the comedy, and stay for the bromance, so to speak. There's something about watching the two together that's always simultaneously hilarious and adorable, from their perfect chemistry, to their history together, to the way they so obviously love each other. From those early days on The Daily Show, to The Colbert Report, to The Late Show, they've always been two of the most influential voices on television, keeping Americans informed, but also, laughing. Whether they're presenting at the Emmys, hiding out in a cabin or singing Christmas songs together, they are always a joy to watch. Here are 15 times Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart were the ultimate friendship goals.
15 When Jon took over Stephen's desk at The Late Show
On this episode of The Late Show, Jon snuck underneath Stephen's desk between commercial breaks, while Stephen's staff distracted the audience. So, when Colbert takes a seat at his desk to film the next segment and Jon rises up from beneath his desk, the live audience was as surprised as us viewers at home. At that point, Jon had been off TV for over a year and had apparently forgotten you usually don't show up to a late-night television show in a grey t-shirt, so Colbert equips his old friend with the old tools of the trade, pinning a tie to his grey t-shirt and putting a suit jacket over his shoulders before ceding the chair to Jon. "Have a good time," he tells Jon, before slipping beneath the desk himself. Jon then proceeds to berate the many stances of Republicans, getting a bit profane, at which point, Colbert reemerges with a horn and bleeps out an emerging expletive. The two then engage in the sweetest awkward chair-hug of all time, embodying every friendship goal we've ever had.
14 When they sang a Hanukkah carol together
In this hilarious clip from The Colbert Report's Christmas special, Jon visits an upset Stephen for the holidays (who is apparently trapped in his cabin due to an imaginary bear outside... so, you know, the usual). With Colbert clearly unhappy with how his Christmas is turning out, Jon decides to pitch Hanukkah to Stephen as an alternative holiday to celebrate (is it just me or has the word 'alternative' been ruined by the election?). He serenades Stephen with a Hanukkah carol, highlighting all the amazing aspects of the Jewish holiday, from the eight days of gifts to the potato pancakes. However, Stephen, a Catholic, ultimately decides to stick with Christmas, singing, "I'll keep Jesus, you keep your potato pancakes." The video ends with the two realizing they're standing beneath a mistletoe, and Colbert debating whether they should kiss. But when Jon describes the supposed Jewish tradition (it's literally one giant bleep with many suggestive hand movements), Stephen decides to pass. If carolling together in a fire-lit cabin isn't friendship goals, then I really don't know what is.
13 When they battled for the title of biggest Star Wars fan
In this hilarious clip, Jon and Stephen engage in a trivia contest, battling for the title of biggest Star Wars fan (with Jon dressed as Obi Wan, wielding Darth Vader's lightsaber). However, when it becomes clear that they are equally matched in their knowledge, the contest evolves into a battle of Force, each trying to use the Force to steal Jon's lightsaber away from the other (and each barely able to keep it together as they very unconvincingly pretend to use the Force). When Stephen finally prevails and attains the lightsaber, he slashes at Jon, who disintegrates into a pile of Obi Wan's robes. "I guess he's dead," Colbert says, while nudging the remains. Jon then reemerges behind Stephen dressed as Princess Leia (as one does), at which point, Stephen admits defeat. As he leaves, Jon stops him. "Stephen," he says, then, looking a bit flustered, continues, "I love you." And, in perfect Star Wars fashion, Colbert responds, "I know." Oh, such nerd porn.
12 When Stephen tackled Jon at the 64th Emmy Awards
At the 64th Emmy Awards, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon apparently decided before the awards that whoever of the three of them won, the other two would tackle and try to prevent him from getting to the stage to accept the award. So, as Jon's name was announced as the winner, Fallon and Colbert did just this, tackling him as he stood up from his chair and wrestling him to the ground. As Stewart tries to escape, he drags Jimmy and Stephen down the aisle of the Emmys behind him, who are clinging for dear life to Jon's feet. Eventually, Jon manages to wriggle himself free, pulling his feet out of his fellow nominees' grasp and ascending to the stage. You know you're friends when you're willing to tackle each other on live TV for no other reason than sh*ts and giggles.
11 When Stephen found Jon living in a cabin with Colbert's old character on The Late Show
In this hilarious segment, Colbert decides to retrieve his old Republican pundit character from The Colbert Report to get his take on Donald Trump. To find him, Colbert has to go into the woods, where apparently, Jon Stewart and his old character have been living since their shows ended. When Stephen knocks on the door, a very woodsy-looking Jon answers, and Stephen tries to update him on the Republican National Convention. Jon doesn't seem to want to hear it, having forgone his politicking ways, and assures Stephen that Jeb will be a fine candidate. "Jon, it's not Jeb," Colbert says, but before he can reveal that it's actually the pumpkin we all know as Trump, Jon insists on taking a mouthful of water, which he, of course, spits all over Stephen when he tells him the real candidate. Jon then retrieves Stephen's old character, who accompanies the real Stephen back to The Late Show, with Jon shouting, "Call me if you're gonna be late!" after him.
10 When Stephen made Jon cry on the last episode of The Daily Show
In this tear-jerking clip from Jon's last episode of The Daily Show, Stephen goes off-script to issue a heartfelt thank you to the host for his leadership and his friendship. A man who always eschewed thank you's, Jon becomes obviously emotional, unable to look Colbert in the eye as he lays on the praise. As Stewart tries to hold back tears, Colbert gushes about the incredible example that Jon set for all of his proteges during his time as host of The Daily Show. "You are infuriatingly good at your job," Colbert tells him, "All of us who were lucky enough to work with you for 16 years are better at our jobs because we got to watch you do yours. And we're better people for having known you." Don't worry Jon. You're not the only one crying.
9 When Jon crashed Stephen's monologue on The Late Show
In this hilarious clip, Jon interrupts Stephen's monologue to deliver a message about the 9/11 first responders bill. He faces the camera and starts to deliver his spiel, but Stephen interrupts him, insisting that, in a world with Trump absorbing all media attention, Jon would need a little more pizzazz if he wanted anyone to listen. Eventually, Colbert decides to take matters into his own hands, Trumping up Jon with a straw-coloured wig and some orange "make-up" (AKA Cheetos dust). Jon then proceeds to go full on Trump as he advocates for the Zadroga Act, doing a pretty impressive impression that would give even Alex Baldwin a run for his money. And after he finishes, Jon joins Colbert to introduce the rest of the show for that night. Colbert is barely able to read out the teleprompter lines with Jon hugging him. As the camera cuts away to Jon Batiste in the last few seconds of the video, you can just barely hear Jon whisper, "Just like old times, buddy," to Colbert. Can they be any more adorable?
8 When Stephen and Jon presented a prune metaphor at the Emmys
In this hilarious clip from the Emmy Awards, Jon and Stephen present the award for Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or Dramatic Special. They begin by promising the audience they won't talk about politics (this was recorded when Obama and McCain were going head to head in 2008, so not talking about politics was a tall order). And they don't keep their promise long, Colbert pulling a bag of prunes out of his jacket and indulging in a very noisy snack. When Jon asks what exactly Colbert is doing (a common occurrence in their relationship), Colbert explains the value of prunes, and how he believes that America needs the experience of a prune, even though they can be shrivelled and hard to swallow (hint: the prune is John McCain). Jon suggests that, maybe after eight years of prunes (hint: George W. Bush), it might be time for a change, but Stephen is steadfast, insisting that prunes are always the way to go. "What could possibly go wrong?" he asks, while shoving prune after prune into his mouth.
7 When Jon and Stephen played the alphabet game
Back in the days when Jon hosted The Daily Show and Colbert hosted The Colbert Report (shows which ran back to back on Comedy Central), the two hosts would often touch base between their shows. Stephen would appear in the last few minutes of The Daily Show to either promote his upcoming episode, or, more commonly, to just talk about random sh*t with Jon. In this clip, the two play a strangely hilarious game in which they converse their way through the alphabet. "A little alphabet game?" Colbert proposes. "But you promised you were through with this," Jon rolls his eyes. "Continue!" Colbert exclaims, and they gradually make their way through the entire alphabet in the same manner. As they close in on the more difficult letters, the game gets particularly amusing. "Understand, you're stuck with X and Z," Colbert advises Jon. "Very challenging, I know, but I have an idea," Jon responds. "Whats your idea?" Colbert inquires, raising an eyebrow. Jon stops and seems a bit hesitant, then says, "Xylophone." Colbert looks confused, saying, "You're making no sense." And Jon smiles, "Zero sense." #Win.
6 When Stephen started a Super PAC and gave it to Jon... all to test campaign finance legislation
Back in the days of The Colbert Report, Stephen decided to start his own Super PAC (a political action committee that can raise unlimited amounts of money) in order to test campaign finance laws (as one does). He revealed the startling lack of regulation on how Super PAC money can be used (you can fund ads, hold rallies or buy yachts with the money raised), and shed a light on the lax rules surrounding who is actually allowed to run Super PACs. Presidential candidates are not permitted to coordinate with Super PACs, but there are few limitations on how closely affiliated the candidates can be with those who do run Super PACs. To prove this, Colbert decides to give away his Super PAC. "I gave it to this guy who I barely knew... Named Jon Stewart." The two comedians hilariously exchange ownership of the Super PAC in a dramatic ceremony involving twitching and flashing lights, and the Colbert Super PAC officially becomes the The Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC. Together, Jon and Stephen exposed the weaknesses of campaign finance legislation and shone a spotlight on the need for reform. What have you and your friends done lately?
5 When they sang a song about voting together
In this clip, Jon joins Stephen in song to try and convince people to get out and vote. They sing with a young, confused girl, who can't decide which candidate is worse. "He's worse. He's worse," Jon and Stephen assure her. Javier Munoz, the current star of Hamilton, then joins them onstage, dropping some serious rhymes. "Staying home isn't a statement. You're saying you gave up your say in the way that your state went," he admonishes, then closes with a chilling, "History has its eyes on you." The door then opens behind Colbert and Jon, and a flood of people dressed as everyday Americans, from construction workers to firemen, join them to sing a tune about voting, imploring people to get out there and make their voices heard. Ah, November 7, 2016. A simpler time.
4 When they gave Ricky Gervais's Emmy to their friend, Steve Carrell
Whenever Colbert and Stewart get together at the Emmys, you just know it's going to be hilarious. In this segment, the two argue about whether award shows should be cancelled, given their environmental unfriendliness with winners notified via email. But in they end, they decide that the world is inherently a better place when entertainers gather to publicly congratulate each other (I'd have to agree—without award shows, we wouldn't have these clips). When they later announce the winner (Ricky Gervais), and realize that he's not in attendance, Colbert and Jon decide to give the Emmy to another nominee (and their friend from The Daily Show), Steve Carrell. Carrell joins them onstage and they engage in perhaps the most adorable group hug of all time before hooting their way off the stage with Gervais's Emmy.
3 When Jon joined Stephen Colbert and Steve Carrell for a song and dance number
In this hilarious clip from a Comedy Central benefit, Steve Carrell and Stephen Colbert embark on a dated song and dance number called "Everybody's Talking 'Bout Sully" (about Sully Sullenberger, the hero of the Hudson, who had been huge news... 19 months before). A confused Jon Stewart quickly crashes their song to inquire as to when they actually wrote the song, and they admit that they'd written it 19 months prior to the benefit. They dismiss Jon's concerns, though, and resume rocking out to the song, bringing in various dated references, from the old American Idol winner Sanjaya, to the year-old internet sensation, Tay Zonday. Eventually, though, Jon comes around and ends up joining them for their big finish, busting out a Sully dance involving moustache brushing and goose imitations (because why not?).
2 When Jon and Stephen insulted reality TV at the Emmys
In this clip from the Emmy Awards, Jon and Stephen team up yet again to present the category of Reality/Competition, but the introduction goes a little off the rails. While Jon sticks to the script (which deems reality TV a commentary on the human condition... I know, LOL), Stephen insists on speaking his mind about reality TV. "It warps the minds of our children and weakens the resolve of our allies," Colbert exclaims to a cheering audience. Jon then asks Stephen whether his Emmy loss to Barry Manilow might be prompting his moodiness. "I lost to Barry Manilow!" an exasperated Colbert exclaims, "BARRY MANILOW!" Oh, poor, Emmy-deprived Stephen. Oh, wait, except for those nine Emmys he has.
1 When they couldn't keep it together over their own jokes
In this hilarious clip from The Daily Show, Colbert reports to Jon from London on the allegations that Prince Charles had had a gay experience. He is unable to release many of the details he uncovered, but offers an unsubtle implication when he very suggestively eats an entire banana in one go (a GIF that would go on to make many rounds on social media). From this point on, the two are barely able to hold it together, both trying to hold back laughter as they move through the satirical piece. Colbert goes on, trying to explain away the suggestiveness of British culture to Jon. "It's a different culture than ours," Colbert says. "And whats different about it?" Jon asks, managing to just barely keep it together. But at this point, Colbert loses it (which, as per usually, prompts Jon to lose it too). "You know," Colbert manages to spit out between laughs, "Mainly how gay it is," he finishes, with Jon chuckling away beside him. You know you're friendship goals when you can't even talk to each other without laughing hysterically.