Stephen Colbert Recalls How Toby Keith “Taught Me Not To Prejudge A Guest.”

Stephen Colbert sits at his desk as he gives a tribute to Toby Keith on "The Late Show." On screen is an image of Colbert and Keith smiling and posing for a photo as they each hold a drink in their hands.

To the surprise of many fans, Stephen Colbert took the time to share some heartwarming words about the late Toby Keith. He did this on Tuesday night during an episode of The Late Show. Although Keith has been a guest on Colbert’s previous show, The Colbert Report, folks have reason to assume that the two of them weren’t that close. This includes their political differences.


But with Keith passing away from stomach cancer on Monday, now was the perfect time for Colbert to share what the country singer taught him. His story starts back when Keith was on Colbert’s show for the first time. Back then, according to the late-night host, he was known for taking jabs at his guests, something he planned to do with Keith. But something made him stop.

“Right before I went onstage, I remember vividly looking down at my shoes and saying, ‘What are you doing? You’re a host! He’s your guest. Make him feel welcome. See who he is,'” Colbert recalls.

Stephen Colbert Shares Heartwarming Tribute to the Late Toby Keith

Not only did this mindset help the interview go smoothly, but it also opened up a door to an unexpected friendship.

“We hit it off like a house of fire,” he continues. “I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed talking to Toby Keith.”

Toby Keith and Stephen Colbert smile as they pose for a photo on a red carpet. They're both wearing cowboy hats.

In the years that followed, Colbert maintained this mindset. It seems that this not only changed his career but his view on life overall.

“That day, Toby taught me not to prejudge a guest and to have my intention to keep my eyes open to the reality of who they are,” Colbert says. “For that lesson, and for many other things, I’m always going to be grateful. Toby taught me not to judge people too quickly. And with his passing, I’m going to try to remember that. It’s something we all need to remember.”

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