Colbert is unabashed geek. His mastery of J.R.R. Tolkien lore was a staple of his Comedy Central show, "The Colbert Report." The comedian even made a cameo in one of the Hobbit movies. And when Jon Stewart left the "Daily Show," Colbert's tearful goodbye had a "Lord of the Rings" theme.
From Dungeons & Dragons to comic books, other nerdy topics also got plenty of nods on the "Report." In fact, Colbert also made a cameo in Spider-Man comics and the comedian's alter ego Tek Jansen got his comic book series.
Since taking over "The Late Show" from David Letterman in September, Colbert has continued proudly beating the nerd drum: Beyond his Zelda-themed musical extravaganza, the comedian has hosted a live video game demo, Youtube star Pewdiepew, and a cavalcade of high-profile tech industry guests, including Apple's Tim Cook, Uber's Travis Kalanick and (potential supervillain) Elon Musk.
The geekiness of that tech roster seems to reflect not only Colbert's own interests, but also how aware the public has become of the amount of control that major tech companies have over our everyday lives. In many ways, the leaders of today's major tech companies are the modern equivalents of Rockefellers or Fords.
That power has garnered public interest that borders on obsession: Tim Cook can cause an explosion of activity when he makes a surprise visit to an Apple Store. Nearly every idea that comes from Elon Musk gets treated with almost instant credibility, even if it's a proposal to shoot people around via gigantic vacuum tubes.
Nerdiness has also become mainstream pop culture: Comic book characters dominate the box office and carry prime time television shows; everyone and their mom plays video games; and, of course, late night talk shows are catering to people who identify as part of the nerd uprising.
But Colbert himself knows things weren't always this way. “I was a nerd when nerd was nerd. Okay? Alright? There was no reward. No one catered to us. We weren’t a demographic. We were a punching bag and a punch line," he told Time in an August interview.
"There was a movie called ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ because the nerds needed revenge because of all of the things that were happening to them. That’s a cultural artifact that people need to understand," he said.