Country icon Toby Keith was given one of the industry’s greatest honors Thursday night (June 18) when he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York City by none other than satirical comedian and TV personality Stephen Colbert.

The seemingly unlikely pairing was not all that surprising to Colbert, who said Keith had appeared on his former show, The Colbert Report, in the past, and “once you listen to what he has to say and sing, everybody has a good time."

Colbert stepped on stage clad in a black Stetson hat, a black shirt and a denim jacket with a white fur collar, ready to wow the audience with his rendition of “Good As I Once Was,” one of Keith’s longest-running no. 1 hits. And he did not disappoint. His trademark blend of sincerity and ironic over-commitment, not to mention his legitimate singing ability, made the performance one to remember.

The comedian took the podium and delivered a surprisingly earnest speech about the artist, noting the charm and work ethic that brought Keith to where he is today. Colbert remembered fondly one particular interaction the first time Keith was on his show.

"As the Big Dog was leaving out the stage door and I was going to the rewrite room — 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,'" he recalled.

"I was sincerely, deeply moved by that comment, so much so that my executive producer — this is true — had it stitched on a pillow for me for Christmas," he added, holding up the pillow as proof.

Colbert went on to laud Keith’s success, highlighting his 46 no. 1 hits, 39 Top Ten hits, and Gold and Platinum albums. But being Colbert, he couldn’t just let the speech go without a good-natured jab.

"One thing we can agree about Toby is his songwriting talent...Toby Keith is an American classic whose songs resonate with family values. For instance, the song I just sang is the heartwarming tale of a man in a bar who has sex with two women — who happen to be sisters,” Colbert joked before officially welcoming Keith to the stage to accept the honor.

Keith took it in stride, though, and said upon approaching the podium, "I like to give people the finger a lot — and you can't give the royal finger better than Stephen Colbert."

Keith is keeping a tight schedule lately, having recently recently wowed fans with a high energy performance at the Taste of Country Music Festival on June 14 and being slated to perform at Country Jam in Colorado this Sunday, June 21.

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