Who knew Stephen Colbert could sing?
The comedian made a surprise appearance during the recent Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York City, where he paid tribute to inductee Toby Keith in his own unique way. Colbert took the stage in a denim jacket and cowboy hat to sing his own rendition of Keith’s 2005 hit, “As Good As I Once Was”.
After his surprise karaoke session, Colbert inducted Keith into the Hall of Fame with a speech in which the comedian shared that he had actually been inspired by comments made from the singer during an early appearance on his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report.
“He was leaving out the stage door and I was going to the rewrite room, ” Colbert explained. “This was very early on in my show and he didn’t know what he was in for, I guess. He turned around to me and he said, ‘Hey man, you do a great job — whatever the f*** it is you do.'” According to Rolling Stone, Colbert was so amused by the comment that his producer later had the quote stitched on a pillow for him as a gift.
Before making his acceptance speech, Keith performed the title track to his 2011 album, Clancy’s Tavern. The country artist shared his deep appreciation for the honor, and told the audience that the offer of induction was the “only thing I ever wanted.”
Keith wasn’t the only country artist represented at the event. Zac Brown performed the Grateful Dead’s “Casey Jones” to honor lyricist Robert Hunter, while Jennifer Nettles took to the stage to sing George Jones‘ classic “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, for the late songwriter Bobby Braddock.