1. The Word
How many talk shows lay out their thesis statement in the first episode? With the debut of "The Word," Colbert introduced us to the concept of "Truthiness" — the adherence to what feels true as opposed to what is true. It both perfectly articulated the Fox News ethos while providing the guiding principle for the Report's next nine years. A riff on Fake Colbert's inspiration Bill O'Reilly and his "Talking Points" feature, the segment let the host go off on a pointed political essay while his own graphics board added an ironic side commentary to every dumb thing the nincompoop pundit was saying. The segment encapsulated all that was astounding about The Colbert Report: It was politically astute but not didactic, thought-provoking but light on its feet, hilarious but also deeply felt. And that's the word.