Aside from his consistent sense of cutting edge humor, intellectual brand of political satire and ongoing rapport with celebrity guests, there’s one consistent trait that has been a through-line in Stephen Colbert’s success: His deep “Lord of the Rings” fandom.
Colbert’s Tolkien geek came out to play again, on Friday’s (Aug. 25) episode of “The Late Show” when he reported on Sean Parker’s wedding. Allegedly, the man behind Napster offered Ian McKellen $1.5 million to officiate the ceremony as Gandalf. McKellen declined, saying, “I am sorry, Gandalf doesn’t do weddings.”
This sparked Colbert’s latest nerd rant, where he addressed Parker directly:
“Gandalf doesn’t have time to marry you, Sean Parker. He is a servant of the secret fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. He killed the mother trucking Balrog after chasing the ancient, immortal demon through the tunnels of Khazad-dûm until they climbed the peak of Zirakzigil, where he smote the demons ruin on the mountainside.”
While Zap2it basks in the glory of that nerdy take down, here are 5 other times Stephen Colbert let his Tolkien geek flag fly.
Gandalf, Legolas and Bilbo … Oh my!
What better way to truly explore his die hard fandom, than to step into some of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most iconic characters? That’s exactly what happened in 2014, when Colbert graced the cover of Entertainment Weekly as Gandalf, Legolas and Bilbo Baggins. With authentic costumes and a professional makeup team, Colbert upped his cosplay game in time for the theatrical release of the third “Hobbit” movie.
His interview with Smaug
After Colbert announced “The Colbert Report” would be coming to an end, he went out on his terms with some pretty epic comedy segments and guests. Take this interview, for example, where Colbert sat down with Smaug. Sure, it’s a CGI dragon … but what other late night talk show host has taken such a risk?
Moderating ‘The Hobbit’ panel at San Diego Comic-Con
If ever there was a place to let your geek flag fly, it’d be at San Diego Comic-Con and Colbert lived out one of his dreams by moderating the panel for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” Dressed as the Laketown Spy — who he cameoed as in the film — Colbert shed his TV persona to deliver a heartfelt speech about what Tolkien’s work has meant to him.
Schooling Peter Jackson
Before the first installment of “The Hobbit” premiered theatrically, Colbert had director Peter Jackson as a guest on “The Colbert Report.” Jackson soon learned he was meeting with a Tolkien mastermind and learned a few valuable “Lord of the Rings” lessons in the process.
The great James Franco Tolkien showdown
James Franco is known to many as being a scholar of many topics, consistently searching for enlightenment. His two appearances on “The Colbert Report” are stuff of legend as both times, he challenged Colbert to a Tolkien trivia challenge. And both times, Colbert left Franco out to dry.