Forget the awkward interviews of the second episode and the technical glitches of the debut—last night's Late Show with Stephen Colbert showed why Stephen Colbert was itching to ditch his conservative idiot persona, why he needed to ditch it. Colbert delivered his best interview ever with Vice President Joe Biden, a poignant, funny, and vulnerable conversation about loss between two men who have acutely experienced it. It was like nothing that we've seen on late night television in recent years—maybe ever—and it was the kind of interview that could only have been done by the real Colbert.

Biden, who seemed on the verge of tears for much of the interview, discussed his deceased son Beau at length, as well as the deaths of his first wife and daughter who were killed in a car accident in 1972. Colbert, whose father and two brothers died in a plane crash exactly 41 years ago yesterday, repeatedly encouraged Biden to run for president during the discussion: "It’s going to be emotional for a lot of people if you don’t run. Your example of suffering and service is something that would be sorely missed in the race."

Biden's response: "I feel self-conscious. The loss is serious and it’s consequential, but there are so many other people going through this."

There were jokes about Colbert running for president (Biden: "You should run for president again, and I’ll be your vice president"), but most of the conversation was a serious discussion of how to move forward in the face of tragedy. It reportedly had the "whole" Colbert audience in tears. Biden discussed his Roman Catholic faith ("I go to Mass, and I’m able to be just alone, even in a crowd"), the Kierkegaard notes his wife leaves for him ("Faith sees best in the dark"), his mother's wisdom, and his reluctance to run for the presidency. "Nobody has a right, in my view, to seek that office unless they are willing to give it 110 percent of who they are," he said.

Considering how powerful that interview was, it's no shock that the rest of the episode was a bit of a comedown. Who cares about a taxi app after that? But the interview with Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick was just as interesting, if mostly for the parts that were left out of the broadcast.

While the 15 minute interview was edited down to just over five minutes for broadcast (as one person at the taping put it, "They basically edited this Uber interview to only use the quotes that make him sound insane"), Gawker reports there were Uber protesters in the audience who interrupted the interview and called Kalanick a liar. By all accounts, Colbert handled it masterfully.