Stephen Colbert reflected on the first time he encountered Ric Ocasek, the music of the Cars and the late musician’s comedic contributions to The Colbert Report during The Late Show Monday. Ocasek died on Sunday at the age of 75.
Colbert recalled that Ocasek was the first celebrity he ever saw while visiting New York in college. “I was down in Greenwich Village, getting a cup of coffee, sitting on the sidewalk and Ric fucking Ocasek walked by,” Colbert explained. “And I went, ‘I have to move here. Ric Ocasek lives here!'”
His longtime admiration stemmed from the Cars’ debut album, The Cars. “It is packed with hits like peanuts in a Snickers Bar. I think that [album] and My Aim is True by Elvis Costello — some of the greatest debut pop albums of all time,” he said. “[In] 1978, Ric Ocasek was already 34 years-old when their first album came out. He had put in the hours. And his music, he wrote everything for the Cars, and his music was the soundtrack of my high school.”
Colbert also reminisced about having Ocasek as a guest on The Colbert Report. “I couldn’t believe it when Ric Ocasek came on. I got to meet one of my greatest musical heroes and then he started doing bits on the show. We would send him out to do like commando raids for us.”
After playing a clip from one such bit featuring Ocasek, Colbert expressed his deep gratitude. “Thank you so much for all your music,” he said. “Thank you for playing with our stupid show and ‘Let’s Go.'”