Stephen Colbert may have only played a fake newsman — the comedian hosted “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central for a decade — but he still has respect for one of the all-time great real ones.
On CBS’ “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” Thursday, the talk-show host paid tribute to the late Morley Safer. The renowned journalist who made a name for himself as a Vietnam War correspondent for CBS News before spending more than 45 years as a correspondent on “60 Minutes” died at the age of 84 Thursday.
Colbert took some time during his show to talk about the three times he met Safer.
“The first time I met him, he was standing outside Sony Studios at 54th and 10th Avenue [in New York],” Colbert recounted. “He was leaning against the wall, smoking a cigarette, and wearing a checked sports jacket like he was reporting on the Belmont Stakes from 1972, wearing a cravat or something like that. He took a puff off his cigarette and threw it under his shoe and stomped it out like he was James Dean. He goes, ‘Morley Safer,’” as he stuck out his hand, Colbert said.
Colbert also mentioned a more recent encounter when he ran into Safer smoking a vape pen in an elevator in a CBS building. Colbert commented that the device made the newsman look like he was “from the future,” which led Safer to reply, “Stephen, I am the future,” before stepping off the elevator.
Colbert concluded his tribute by playing a “60 Minutes”-style introductory video that Safer had recorded for a special 2006 episode of “The Colbert Report” featuring the Decemberists.
Watch Stephen Colbert pay tribute to Morley Safer below:
Safer officially retired just days before his death. Sunday, he was honored in a “60 Minutes” special, “Morley Safer: A Reporter’s Life,” highlighting his career and legacy.