It's been two months since Stephen Colbert said good-bye to The Colbert Report and, from the look of things, the future Late Show host has been using all of this new free time to ... grow a beard. Colbert showed off his salt-and-peppered new look in Los Angeles Thursday night, where he was on hand to accept an Oscar Wilde Award from the U.S.-Ireland Alliance at their annual pre-Oscar event, held on the rooftop of J.J. Abrams's production company, Bad Robot.
In addition to his facial hair, which fellow honoree Carrie Fisher told the crowd is sure to get him "so laid," Colbert happily showed off his non-Report persona (a.k.a. his real personality) via a crowd-pleasing acceptance speech in which he considered Fisher's sexual innuendo, came out of the Irish closet, and boldly addressed "racist" Irish stereotypes. Here are the highlights:
• "I'm not sure which is more exciting, getting this award or the fact that I might have sex with Princess Leia tonight. That would be nice, that would be nice, thank you."
• "I'm thrilled to be here, as a performer I've been jonesing. I haven't been onstage in two months; my show ended two months ago and, for the record, I'm not in character. This is me right now and it turns out — a lot of people didn't know this — the real Stephen Colbert had a beard the whole time. I was just so deeply in character for ten years you never noticed, that's how good of an actor I am."
• "J.J., thank you so much. What do you say about a man like J.J. Abrams [who emceed the event and presented the award to Colbert] that hasn't already been said, hidden in some obscure code in the background of a single frame of a scene in Felicity 13 years ago? All I have to say to you, my friend, is: A blue jay jogs my rivals and I mean that."
• "When I heard that an alliance wanted to give me an award at J.J.'s production company I thought, Great, the Rebel Alliance. Wedge Antilles can give it to me and Chewbacca can go "Waaoooo" at the end, but when I found out it was the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, I thought, That's good too."
• "The U.S.-Ireland Alliance was formed in 1998, and since then the Euro has been introduced, we have Rovers on Mars, we have brought righteous justice to Osama bin Laden and anyone who says the US-Ireland had nothing to do with those things I will fight you! And no, I will not fight you because I'm Irish, that is racist! I will fight you because I am drunk. And no, I am not drunk because I am Irish, that is racist!
• "It's so fitting to be here to accept this award because when one thinks of Ireland one thinks, Los Angeles. The grass is brown, the sheep have implants, and people starve themselves on purpose."
• "I know what people are saying. They're saying, 'Hey, Stephen Colbert. That name sounds French, what gives?' Well, first of all, please don't interrupt me when I'm talking and second of all, yes, for many years I tried to pass as French, but I'm happy to say tonight with this award I can now finally, openly, be proudly, flamboyantly Irish, and I hope there are young people out there who are still in the Irish closet and see this as something that gives them courage to come out. I want them all to know, that it gets better. Unfortunately, it doesn't get better for the Irish. They've been waiting a long time."
• "For five generations, my family has been here. As far back as you go in any of those branches, everybody's Irish and they only married other Irish people, very specific racists. I'm 100 percent pure Irish, regardless of my name. If you cut me, what color do I bleed, J.J.? [Abrams: "Green!"] What? No, I bleed red! Irish people are just like anyone else. That is so racist. We are not leprechauns."
• "Thank you for this, I am honored. There is no other award being given out in Los Angeles this week named after an Oscar I would want more than this. I'm gratified to finally be recognized for all I have done for the Irish people. I'm not sure what any of that is, but now that I have the award, I know I can stop. Thank you very much."