(CNN) — For his final show, Stephen Colbert went out with a bang and a song.
The Comedy Central host aired his last episode of “The Colbert Report” on Thursday as he prepares to take over David Letterman’s “The Late Show” in 2015.
“If this is your first time tuning in to ‘The Colbert Report,’ I have some terrible news,” Colbert announced during the finale. “This in fact is your last time tuning in to ‘The Colbert Report.’ Until 10 years from now, when they reboot it directed by J.J. Abrams.”
But for now, “like Mary Poppins or Gandhi,” it’s time for the Stephen Colbert we came to know on “The Colbert Report” to retire.
“The truthiness is all those incredible things that people say I did — none of that was really me,” Colbert said during his goodbye. “You, the Nation, did all of that. I just got paid for it.”
So as a thank you, Colbert staged an elaborate farewell scenario that included him killing off death — a.k.a., “Grimmy” — with a handgun and becoming “immortal,” promising that “We’ll Meet Again.”
To prove his point, Colbert rounded up pretty much every celebrity he knows — from George Lucas to Big Bird — for a performance of that very song.
Once the song and dance was done, Colbert was ready to sign off for good — from eternity, and accompanied by Santa Claus, Abraham Lincoln and Alex Trebek. (Seriously.)
“We’ve finally come to the end of ‘The Colbert Report,'” Colbert said. “Nine great years, 1,447 wonderful episodes — I’ve just got too many people to thank. So I’ll just thank Mavis Staples. Mavis, if you could just call everybody tomorrow, that would be great. … OK, that’s the show. From eternity, I’m Stephen Colbert.”
But perhaps the best part about his sign-off is that it went right back to where it all started: with Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.”
“Thanks for that report, Stephen,” Stewart said, before leading into the final scene of “The Colbert Report”: an outtake from 2010 of Colbert and Stewart, being every bit as goofy and charming as we’d want them to be.