Stephen Colbert has come to know plenty of famous people as host of The Late Show and The Colbert Report. But as Steve Martin teaches in the above bit from Tuesday’s show, there’s a difference between true friends and TV friends.
The clip opens with Colbert hanging out on a forest log, deep in thought, as Martin walks up playing his banjo. “Steve, what are you doing here on this fake forest set?” he asks the host. After ruminating on the importance of friendship, the two comedians begin a troubadour song with the chorus, “Two best friends sitting in the forest, two best friends sitting on a log / Two best friends singing a friend song, two best friends who always get along.”
Colbert pays tribute to his “best friend, Steve,” while Martin sings, “That’s why I love my best friend, Gary.” While the host is confused by the diss, Martin explains, “TV friends isn’t the same as being real friends. I think of you as an acquaintance” – a group that also includes frequent co-star Martin Short, SNL boss Lorne Michaels and even his wife.
Colbert is convinced about the charms of this unseen Gary, and the duo end by singing in unison, “Gary, Gary, Gary / Gary is great.”