NEW YORK (AP) — It's almost enough to make their fans nostalgic: Stephen Colbert and his "Papa Bear," Bill O'Reilly, going after each other again for probably one of the last times.
Colbert is mocking the Fox News Channel host's proposal that a 25,000-member mercenary force be armed and trained to fight the Islamic state. Colbert countered with his own "army of expert double Ninja super soldiers with laser nunchucks," imagined when he was in the fourth grade.
Colbert essentially modeled the cable news opinion host character he's been playing on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" after the Fox News ratings king. But as he prepares to replace David Letterman on CBS next year, Colbert is shutting down his show and the character itself at the end of the year.
Colbert's comic takedown of the plan drew O'Reilly's ire, and Colbert on Wednesday night subsequently called O'Reilly an "egomaniac," adding an expletive.
Earlier in the week, O'Reilly said that Colbert "and others of his ilk have no bleepin' clue how to fight the jihad. They don't know anything."
But even though he's "completely vacant," that doesn't stop Colbert from "mocking ideas that might have some value," O'Reilly said on his show Monday.
Colbert struck back on his show Wednesday.
"It hurts me to know I hurt the man I admire most," he said. "Just as Bill would be hurt to know he hurt the man he admires most — himself."
Colbert played news clips of other Fox News personalities dismissing O'Reilly's idea.
"I wasn't mocking your plan," he said. "I'm the only one who likes it."