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Stephen Colbert Returns To 'The Colbert Report'

Stephen Colbert has returned to his faux news desk Monday, to the delight of panicked fans, who went into mourning after the host’s unexplained absence shut down The Colbert Report for two episodes last week.

The Comedy Central host addressed his brief hiatus at the top of his show saying:

“Before we start the broadcast tonight, I just want to address my recent absence from the national conversation as the hub around which republic turns,” Colbert said at the top of Monday’s show. “I can understand why the machinery of this great nation ground to a halt last week when you were denied this,” he said, pointing to himself. “Now I’m sure you felt the same way I do when I’m in room with no mirrors.”

Then Colbert listed some of the rumors that circulated surrounding the shutdown of taping last Wednesday and Thursday (the show does not tape on Fridays):

* Show was canceled by the FCC at the request of the Federal Election Commission because he was about to announce his presidential candidacy. (Wild applause from his studio audience)

* Show canceled because he offended the Catholic church when he compared the pope’s “hat” to a giant prophylactic.

* Colbert in rehab. “Always an attractive option — if they have that for diet Coke,” he said.

In conclusion, Colbert addressed reports that he had abruptly canceled two nights of the show in order to be with his ailing mother: “Oh — one more thing. Evidently, having 11 children makes you tough as nails.”

Despite reports that Colbert was at the side of his sick 91-year-old mother, producers of the show have used ‘unforeseen circumstances’ as the official reason for his sudden disappearance.

Last week  tickets holders for Wednesday’s taping received an e-mail saying, “Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have cancelled our taping for the date of your ticket reservation, February 15, 2012.” When audience members who didn’t check their email  showed up at the studio, they  were turned away with the bad news. Viewers who tuned in Wednesday or Thursday night, expecting to see a new episode, saw reruns instead.

On Friday, Stephen Colbert emerged with a brief tweet telling fans of The Colbert Report:

“My family and I would like to thank everyone who has offered their thoughts and prayers. We are grateful and touched by your concern.”

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