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Stephen Colbert Character Biography Assignment

This article is about the comedian. For the character he portrayed on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, see Stephen Colbert (character).

Stephen Colbert

Colbert in December 2017

Birth nameStephen Tyrone Colbert
Born(1964-05-13) May 13, 1964 (age 53)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
MediumTelevision, theatre, film, books
EducationPorter-Gaud School
Alma materNorthwestern University
Years active1984–present
GenresPolitical/news satire, improvisational comedy, character comedy, deadpan, surreal humor
Subject(s)American politics, American culture, political punditry, popular culture, current events, social awkwardness, mass media/news media, civil rights, religion, egomania, human sexuality
SpouseEvelyn McGee-Colbert (m. 1993)
Children3
Parent(s)James William Colbert Jr.
Lorna Elizabeth Colbert
Relative(s)Elizabeth Colbert Busch (sister)
Signature

Stephen Tyrone Colbert[1] (;[2] born May 13, 1964)[3] is an American comedian, television host, actor, and writer. He is best known for hosting the satirical Comedy Central program The Colbert Report from 2005 to 2014, and the CBS talk program The Late Show with Stephen Colbert beginning in September 2015.[4][5][6]

Colbert originally studied to be a dramatic actor, but became interested in improvisational theatre while attending Northwestern University, where he met Second City director Del Close. Colbert first performed professionally as an understudy for Steve Carell at Second City Chicago, where his troupe mates included Paul Dinello and Amy Sedaris, comedians with whom he developed the sketch comedy series, Exit 57. He wrote and performed on the short-lived Dana Carvey Show before collaborating with Sedaris and Dinello again on the cult television series Strangers with Candy. He gained attention for his role on the latter as closeted gay history teacher Chuck Noblet.

Colbert's work as a correspondent on Comedy Central's news-parody series The Daily Show gained him wide recognition. In 2005, he left The Daily Show to host The Colbert Report. Following The Daily Show's news-parody concept, The Colbert Report was a parody of personality-driven political opinion shows including The O'Reilly Factor, in which he portrayed a caricatured version of conservativepolitical pundits. The series became one of Comedy Central's highest-rated series, earning Colbert an invitation to perform as featured entertainer at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in 2006. After ending The Colbert Report, he was hired in 2015 to succeed retiring David Letterman as host of the Late Show on CBS. He hosted the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards in September 2017.

Colbert has won nine Primetime Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, and two Peabody Awards. Colbert was named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in 2006, and 2012.[7][8] Colbert's book, I Am America (And So Can You!), listed #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list in 2007.

Early life

Colbert was born in Washington, D.C.,[2][9] the youngest of 11 children in a Catholic family.[10][11] He spent his early years in Bethesda, Maryland.[12]

He grew up on James Island, South Carolina. Colbert and his siblings, in descending order by age, are James III, Edward, Mary, William, Margo, Thomas, Jay, Elizabeth, Paul, Peter, and Stephen. His father, James William Colbert Jr., was an immunologist and medical school dean at Yale University, Saint Louis University, and finally at the Medical University of South Carolina where he served as vice president for academic affairs. Stephen's mother, Lorna Elizabeth Colbert (née Tuck), was a homemaker.[13][14][15]

In interviews, Colbert has described his parents as devout people who also strongly valued intellectualism and taught their children that it was possible to question the church and still be Catholic.[16] The emphasis his family placed on intelligence and his observation of negative stereotypes of Southerners led Colbert to train himself to suppress his Southern accent while he was still quite young.

As a child, he observed that Southerners were often depicted as being less intelligent than other characters on scripted television; to avoid that stereotype, he taught himself to imitate the speech of American news anchors.[17][18]

While Colbert sometimes comedically claims his surname is French, he is of 15/16ths Irish ancestry (one of his paternal great-great-grandmothers was of German and English descent).[19][20] Many of his ancestors emigrated from Ireland to North America in the 19th century before and during the Great Famine.[13][21]

Originally, his surname was pronounced KOHL-bərt in English; Stephen Colbert's father, James, wanted to pronounce the name kohl-BAIR, but maintained the /ˈkoʊlbərt/ pronunciation out of respect for his own father. He offered his children the option to pronounce the name whichever way they preferred.[10] Stephen started using /koʊlˈbɛər/ later in life when he transferred to Northwestern University, taking advantage of the opportunity to reinvent himself in a new place where no one knew him.[2] Stephen's elder brother, Edward, an intellectual property attorney, retained /ˈkoʊlbərt/; this was shown in a February 12, 2009, appearance on The Colbert Report, when his youngest brother asked him, "/ˈkoʊlbərt/ or /koʊlˈbɛər/?" Ed responded "/ˈkoʊlbərt/", to which Stephen jokingly replied, "See you in Hell".[22]

On September 11, 1974, when Colbert was ten years old, his father and two closest male siblings (by age), Peter and Paul, died in the crash of Eastern Air Lines Flight 212 while it was attempting to land in Charlotte, North Carolina.[23] They were en route to enroll the two boys at Canterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut.[11][24] Lorna Colbert relocated the family downtown to the more urban environment of East Bay Street in Charleston. Colbert found the transition difficult and did not easily make new friends in his new neighborhood.[10] Colbert later described himself during this time as detached, lacking a sense of importance regarding the things with which other children concerned themselves.[18][25]

He developed a love of science fiction and fantasy novels, especially the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, of which he remains an avid fan. During his adolescence, he also developed an intense interest in fantasy role-playing games, especially Dungeons & Dragons,[25][26] a pastime which he later characterized as an early experience in acting and improvisation.[27]

Colbert attended Charleston's EpiscopalPorter-Gaud School, where he participated in several school plays and contributed to the school newspaper but was not highly motivated academically.[25] During his adolescence, he briefly fronted A Shot in the Dark, a Rolling Stonescover band.[28][29] When he was younger, he had hoped to study marine biology, but surgery intended to repair a severely perforated eardrum caused him inner ear damage. The damage was severe enough that he was unable to pursue a career that would involve scuba diving. The damage also left him deaf in his right ear.[10][30]

For a while, he was uncertain whether he would attend college,[31] but ultimately he applied and was accepted to Hampden–Sydney College in Virginia, where a friend had also enrolled. Arriving in 1982, he continued to participate in plays while studying mainly philosophy.[32][25] He found the curriculum rigorous, but was more focused than he had been in high school and was able to apply himself to his studies. Despite the lack of a significant theater community at Hampden–Sydney, Colbert's interest in acting escalated during this time. After two years, he transferred in 1984 to Northwestern University as a theater major to study performance, emboldened by the realization that he loved performing, even when no one was coming to shows.[25] He graduated from Northwestern's School of Communication in 1986.[33]

Early career in comedy

While at Northwestern, Colbert studied with the intent of becoming a dramatic actor; mostly he performed in experimental plays and was uninterested in comedy. He began performing improvisation while in college, both in the campus improv team No Fun Mud Piranhas[34] and at the Annoyance Theatre in Chicago as a part of Del Close's ImprovOlympic at a time when the project was focused on competitive, long-form improvisation, rather than improvisational comedy. "I wasn't gonna do Second City", Colbert later recalled, "because those Annoyance people looked down on Second City because they thought it wasn't pure improv – there was a slightly snobby, mystical quality to the Annoyance people".[27] After Colbert graduated in 1986, however, he was in need of a job. A friend who was employed at Second City's box office offered him work answering phones and selling souvenirs.[25] Colbert accepted and discovered that Second City employees were entitled to take classes at their training center for free.[27] Despite his earlier aversion to the comedy group, he signed up for improvisation classes and enjoyed the experience greatly.

Shortly thereafter, he was hired to perform with Second City's touring company, initially as an understudy for Steve Carell. It was there he met Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello, with whom he often collaborated later in his career. By their retelling, the three comedians did not get along at first – Dinello thought Colbert was uptight, pretentious and cold, while Colbert thought of Dinello as "an illiterate thug"[35] – but the trio became close friends while touring together, discovering that they shared a similar comic sensibility.[25]

When Sedaris and Dinello were offered the opportunity to create a television series for HBO Downtown Productions, Colbert left The Second City and relocated to New York to work with them on the sketch comedy show Exit 57.[25] The series debuted on Comedy Central in 1995 and aired through 1996. Although it lasted for only 12 episodes, the show received favorable reviews[36][37] and was nominated for five CableACE Awards in 1995, in categories including best writing, performance, and comedy series.[38]

Following the cancelation of Exit 57, Colbert worked for six months as a cast member and writer on The Dana Carvey Show, alongside former Second City castmate Steve Carell, and also Robert Smigel, Charlie Kaufman, Louis C.K., and Dino Stamatopoulos, among others. The series, described by one reviewer as "kamikaze satire" in "borderline-questionable taste", had sponsors pull out after its first episode aired and was cancelled after seven episodes.[39] Colbert then worked briefly as a freelance writer for Saturday Night Live with Robert Smigel. Smigel brought his animated sketch, The Ambiguously Gay Duo, to SNL from The Dana Carvey Show; Colbert provided the voice of Ace on both series, opposite Steve Carell as Gary. Needing money, he also worked as a script consultant for VH1 and MTV, before taking a job filming humorous correspondent segments for Good Morning America.[25] Only two of the segments he proposed were ever produced and only one aired, but the job led his agent to refer him to The Daily Show's then-producer, Madeline Smithberg, who hired Colbert on a trial basis in 1997.[40]

Television career

Strangers with Candy

Main article: Strangers with Candy

During the same period, Colbert worked again with Sedaris and Dinello to develop a new comedy series for Comedy Central, Strangers with Candy. Comedy Central picked up the series in 1998 after Colbert had already begun working on The Daily Show. As a result, he accepted a reduced role, filming only around 20 Daily Show segments a year while he worked on the new series.[25]

Strangers with Candy was conceived of as a parody of after school specials, following the life of Jerri Blank, a 46-year-old dropout who returns to finish high school after 32 years of life on the street. Most noted by critics for its use of offensive humor, it concluded each episode by delivering to the audience a skewed, politically incorrect moral lesson.[41] Colbert served as a main writer alongside Sedaris and Dinello, and portrayed Jerri's strict but uninformed history teacher, Chuck Noblet, seen throughout the series dispensing inaccurate information to his classes. Colbert has likened this to the character he played on The Daily Show and later The Colbert Report, claiming that he has a very specific niche in portraying "poorly informed, high-status idiot" characters.[11] Another running joke throughout the series was that Noblet, a closeted homosexual, was having a "secret" affair with fellow teacher Geoffrey Jellineck, despite the fact that their relationship was apparent to everyone around them. This obliviousness also appears in Colbert's Daily Show and Colbert Report character.

Thirty episodes of Strangers with Candy were made, which aired on Comedy Central in 1999 and 2000.[42] Though its ratings were not remarkable during its initial run, it has been characterized as a cult show with a small but dedicated audience.[43] Colbert reprised his role for a film adaptation, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005 and had a limited release in 2006. The film received mixed reviews. Colbert also co-wrote the screenplay with Sedaris and Dinello.[44]

The Daily Show

Main article: The Daily Show

Colbert joined the cast of Comedy Central's parody-news series The Daily Show in 1997, when the show was in its second season. Originally one of four correspondents who filmed segments from remote locations in the style of network news field reporters, Colbert was referred to as "the new guy" on-air for his first two years on the show, during which time Craig Kilborn served as host. When Kilborn left the show prior to the 1999 season, Jon Stewart took over hosting duties, also serving as a writer and co-executive producer. From this point, the series gradually began to take on a more political tone and increase in popularity, particularly in the latter part of the 2000 U.S. presidential election season. The roles of the show's correspondents were expanded to include more in-studio segments and international reports, which were almost always done in the studio with the aid of a greenscreen.[25]

Unlike Stewart, who essentially hosted The Daily Show as himself,[45] Colbert developed a correspondent character for his pieces on the series. Colbert has described his correspondent character as "a fool who has spent a lot of his life playing not the fool – one who is able to cover it at least well enough to deal with the subjects that he deals with".[25] Colbert was frequently pitted against knowledgeable interview subjects, or against Stewart in scripted exchanges, with the resultant dialogue demonstrating the character's lack of knowledge of whatever subject he is discussing.[46][25] Colbert also made generous use of humorous fallacies of logic in explaining his point of view on any topic. Other Daily Show correspondents have adopted a similar style; former correspondent Rob Corddry recalls that when he and Ed Helms first joined the show's cast in 2002, they "just imitated Stephen Colbert for a year or two".[47] Correspondent Aasif Mandvi has stated "I just decided I was going to do my best Stephen Colbert impression".[48]

Colbert appeared in several recurring segments for The Daily Show, including "Even Stevphen" with Steve Carell,[49] in which both characters were expected to debate a selected topic but instead would unleash their anger at one another. Colbert commonly hosted "This Week in God", a report on topics in the news pertaining to religion, presented with the help of the "God Machine". Colbert filed reports from the floor of the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention as a part of The Daily Show's award-winning coverage of the 2000 and 2004 U.S. Presidential elections; many from the latter were included as part of their The Daily Show: Indecision 2004 DVD release. Other pieces that have been named as his signature segments include "Grouse Hunting in Shropshire", in which he reported on the "gayness" of British aristocracy, his mock lionization of a smoking-rights activist and apparent chain-smoker, and his cameo appearances during his faux campaign for President.[50] In several episodes of The Daily Show, Colbert filled in as anchor in the absence of Jon Stewart, including the full week of March 3, 2002, when Stewart was scheduled to host Saturday Night Live. After Colbert left the show, Rob Corddry took over "This Week in God" segments, although a recorded sample of Colbert's voice is still used as the sound effect for the God Machine. Later episodes of The Daily Show have reused older Colbert segments under the label "Klassic Kolbert". Colbert won three Emmys as a writer of The Daily Show in 2004, 2005, and 2006.[51]

The Colbert Report

Main articles: The Colbert Report and Stephen Colbert (character)

Colbert hosted his own television show, The Colbert Report, from October 17, 2005, through December 18, 2014.[52]The Colbert Report was a Daily Show spin-off that parodied the conventions of television news broadcasting,[17] particularly cable-personality political talk shows like The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity, and Glenn Beck.[27][53] Colbert hosted the show in-character as a blustery right-wing pundit, generally considered to be an extension of his character on The Daily Show. Conceived by co-creators Stewart, Colbert, and Ben Karlin in part as an opportunity to explore "the character-driven news", the series focused less on the day-to-day news style of the Daily Show, instead frequently concentrating on the foibles of the host-character himself.[54]

The concept for The Report was first seen in a series of Daily Show segments which advertised the then-fictional series as a joke. It was later developed by Stewart's Busboy Productions and pitched to Comedy Central, which green-lighted the program; Comedy Central had already been searching for a way to extend the successful Daily Show franchise beyond a half-hour.[55] The series opened to strong ratings, averaging 1.2 million viewers nightly during its first week on the air. Comedy Central signed a long-term contract for The Colbert Report within its first month on the air, when it immediately established itself among the network's highest-rated shows.[56][57]

Much of Colbert's personal life was reflected in his character on The Colbert Report. With the extended exposure of the character on the show, he often referenced his interest in and knowledge of Catholicism, science fiction, and The Lord of the Rings, as well as using real facts to create his character's history. His alternate persona was also raised in South Carolina, is the youngest of 11 siblings and is married.[58] The actual Colbert's career history in acting and comedy, however, was often downplayed or even denied outright, and he frequently referred to having attended Dartmouth College (which was at the forefront of the conservative campus movement in the 1980s) rather than his actual alma mater, Northwestern. In July 2012, Colbert added two years to his contract with Comedy Central, extending the run of The Colbert Report until the end of 2014.[59]

The final episode on December 18, 2014, featured a rendition of "We'll Meet Again" and appearances from former guests of the show, including Jon Stewart, Randy Newman, Bryan Cranston, Willie Nelson, Yo-Yo Ma, Mandy Patinkin, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Tom Brokaw, David Gregory, J. J. Abrams, Big Bird, Gloria Steinem, Ken Burns, James Franco, Barry Manilow, Bob Costas, Jeff Daniels, Sam Waterston, Bill de Blasio, Katie Couric, Patrick Stewart, George Lucas, Henry Kissinger, Cookie Monster, Alan Alda, Eliot Spitzer, Vince Gilligan, Paul Krugman, and a text from Bill Clinton, and appearances by Alex Trebek, U.S. and coalition Afghanistan forces, and further characters (a space station astronaut, Santa, Abraham Lincoln, etc.).[52]

The Late Show

Main article: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

On April 10, 2014, CBS announced in a press release[60] that Colbert "will succeed David Letterman as the host of The Late Show, effective when Mr. Letterman retires from the broadcast." On January 12, 2015, CBS announced that Colbert would premiere as the Late Show host on Tuesday, September 8, 2015.[61] The first guest of the new Late Show was George Clooney.[62] The show has a much more political focus than David Letterman's Late Show.[63][64]

During his tenure as the host of The Late Show, Colbert hosted the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, broadcast on CBS on September 17, 2017.[65]

Politics

2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

Main article: Stephen Colbert at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

On Saturday, April 29, 2006, Colbert was the featured entertainer for the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. Standing a few yards from U.S. President George W. Bush[66] – in front of an audience the Associated Press called a "Who's Who of power and celebrity"[67] – Colbert delivered a searing routine targeting the president and the media.[68] In his politically conservative character from The Colbert Report, Colbert satirized the George W. Bush Administration and the White House Press Corps with such lines as:

I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound – with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.[69]

Colbert received a chilly response from the audience.[70] His jokes were often met with silence and muttering, apart from the enthusiastic laughter of a few in the audience.[71] The major media outlets paid little attention to it initially. Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkin and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism professor Todd Gitlin claimed that this was because Colbert's routine was as critical of the media as it was of Bush.[72]Richard Cohen, also writing for The Washington Post, responded that the routine was not funny.[74] The video of Colbert's performance became an internet and media sensation,[75][76] while, in the week following the speech, ratings for The Colbert Report rose by 37% to average just under 1.5 million total viewers per episode.[77] In Time magazine James Poniewozik called it "the political-cultural touchstone issue of 2006".[78] Writing six months later, New York Times columnist Frank Rich referred to Colbert's speech as a "cultural primary" and called it the "defining moment" of the 2006 midterm elections.[79][80]

Main article: Stephen Colbert presidential campaign, 2008

Under his fictional persona in The Colbert Report, Colbert dropped hints of a potential presidential run throughout 2007, with speculation intensifying following the release of his book, I Am America (And So Can You!), which was rumored to be a sign that he was indeed testing the waters for a future bid for the White House. On October 16, 2007, he announced his candidacy on his show, stating his intention to run both on the Republican and Democratic platforms, but only as a "favorite son" in his native South Carolina. He later abandoned plans to run as a Republican due to the $35,000 fee required to file for the South Carolina primary,[82] however he continued to seek a place on the Democratic ballot and on October 28, 2007, campaigned in the South Carolina state capital of Columbia, where he was presented with the key to the city by Mayor Bob Coble.[83]

After announcing his presidential ticket, he asked his viewers to cast their votes by donating to Donorschoose.org, an online charity connecting individuals to classrooms in need.[84] Colbert's promotion inspired $68,000 in donations to South Carolina classrooms, which benefited over 14,000 low-income students.[85] Colbert teamed up with Donorschoose.org again in 2008 by asking supporters of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to do the same. As a lead-up to the Pennsylvania primary, he created a "straw poll that makes a difference" by which people could donate to Pennsylvania classroom projects in honor of their favorite candidate.[86] Colbert viewers donated $185,000 to projects reaching 43,000 students in Pennsylvania public schools.[87]

On November 1, 2007, the South Carolina Democratic Party executive council voted 13–3 to refuse Colbert's application onto the ballot. "The general sense of the council was that he wasn't a serious candidate and that was why he wasn't selected to be on the ballot", stated John Werner, the party's director. In addition, he was declared "not viable",[88] as he was running in only one state.[89] Several days later he announced that he was dropping out of the race, saying that he did not wish to put the country through an agonizing Supreme Court battle.[90] CNN has reported that Obama supporters pressured the South Carolina Democratic Executive Council to keep Colbert off the ballot. One anonymous member of the council told CNN that former State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum had placed pressure on them to refuse Colbert's application despite his steady rise in polls.[91]

Though Colbert's real-life presidential campaign had ended, Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada established in an interview on The Colbert Report that Colbert's campaign was still going strong in the fictional Marvel Universe, citing the cover art of a then-recent issue of The Amazing Spider-Man which featured a Colbert campaign billboard in the background. Background appearances of Colbert campaign ads continued to appear in Marvel Comics publications, as late as August 2008's Secret Invasion No. 5 (which also features a cameo of an alien Skrull posing as Colbert). In October 2008, Colbert made an extended 8-page appearance webslinging with Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man issue No. 573.[92] Colbert voiced the president of the U.S. in the 2009 film Monsters vs. Aliens.

2009 solidarity with U.S. troops in Iraq War

Stephen Colbert arrived in Baghdad, Iraq, on June 5, 2009, to film a week of shows called "Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando" sponsored by the USO (United Service Organizations).[93] Colbert had a suit tailored for him in the Army Combat Uniform pattern.[94] During the first episode (which featured a cameo appearance from U.S. president Barack Obama), Colbert had his hair cropped in a military style to show his solidarity with the troops. One Army major said that "shaving of the hair is an amazing show of support" that was "very touching." USO Senior Vice President John Hanson said the shows are an important diversion for the troops.[95]

2010 Congressional testimony

On September 24, 2010, Colbert testified in character before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Security. He was invited by committee chairwoman Zoe Lofgren to describe his experience participating in the United Farm Workers' "Take Our Jobs" program, where he spent a day working alongside migrant workers in upstate New York.[96][97][98] At the end of his often-humorous testimony, Colbert broke character in responding to a question from Rep. Judy Chu, D-CA, and explained his purpose for being at the hearing:

I like talking about people who don't have any power, and this seems like one of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come and do our work, but don't have any rights as a result. And yet we still invite them to come here and at the same time ask them to leave. And that's an interesting contradiction to me. And, you know, 'Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers,' and these seem like the least of our brothers right now... Migrant workers suffer and have no rights.[99]

Democratic committee member John Conyers questioned whether it was appropriate for the comedian to appear before Congress and asked him to leave the hearing.[100] Though Colbert offered to depart at the direction of the committee chairwoman, Lofgren requested that he stay at least until all opening testimony had been completed, whereupon Conyers withdrew his request.[101]

Conservative pundits took aim at Colbert's Congress testimony not long after.[102]

'Painfully awkward and pointless, it made the committee's majority members look ridiculous. Colbert can be very funny, but his kind of sarcasm only works in some contexts, and a House committee hearing room does not appear to be one of them.' – Yuval Levin, The Corner[100][103]

'As John Conyers notes, the media and spectators turned out to see whether Colbert would address the panel seriously as an expert on immigration and make the panel a joke, or stay in character and make the panel a bigger joke,' – Ed Morrissey, Hot Air.[100][104]

2010 Washington, D.C. rallies

Main article: Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

In September 2010, following Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally, a campaign developed that called for Colbert to hold his own rally at the Lincoln Memorial.[105] On the September 10, 2010, episode of the Daily Show[106] and TheColbert Report, Stewart and Colbert made preannouncements of a future event. On September 16, 2010, Stewart and Colbert announced competing rallies on the Washington, D.C., Mall on October 30, 2010, Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity", and Colbert's "March to Keep Fear Alive". Both were eventually merged into the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.

Super PAC and President of the United States of South Carolina

Main article: Colbert Super PAC

See also: South Carolina Republican primary, 2012

In May 2011, Colbert filed a request with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) asking for a media exemption for coverage of his political action committee, ColbertPAC, on The Colbert Report.[107][108]

In June 2011, during a public meeting, the FEC voted 5–1 to grant The Colbert Report a limited media exemption. The exemption allows unlimited donations of airtime and show resources to promote the Colbert Super PAC without requiring disclosure to the FEC, but only for ads appearing on The Colbert Report. Following the hearing, Colbert formally filed paperwork for the creation of his Super PAC with the FEC secretary.[109]

After the 2012 New Hampshire primary, a poll for the subsequent South Carolina primary taken by Public Policy Polling (of 1,112 likely GOP voters, Jan 5–7, 2012) was reported to place Colbert at 5%, one point ahead of Jon Huntsman polling at 4%, in spite of the fact that Colbert was not on the ballot. This poll showed Colbert to be closely behind Rick Perry's 7% and Ron Paul's 8% (with Romney at 27%, Gingrich 23% and Santorum at 18%). On the January 11 episode of The Colbert Report, Colbert asked his audience if he should run for President in South Carolina, to which he received strong applause. He then stated that he would be making a "Major Announcement" during the next day's show. On January 12, Colbert started his show by discussing his role in the Presidential campaign, then addressed the law preventing him from being a Presidential candidate while running his Super PAC. With the help of his lawyer Trevor Potter, he then signed over control of his Super PAC to Jon Stewart, with the organization title then being referred to as "The Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC".[110] Immediately after this legal block was out of the way, Colbert announced, "I am forming an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for my possible candidacy for the President of the United States of South Carolina. I'm doin' it!" He reiterated in the interview portion of that show that "I'm still in the exploratory phase" of his Presidential campaign.

On the January 16, 2012, episode, Colbert satirically encouraged his viewers to vote for Herman Cain in the South Carolina primary. As Cain was still on the ballot, despite having recently dropped out of the race, Colbert announced that he would consider any votes cast for Cain to be in direct support of his own possible candidacy.

Other work

Colbert is co-author of the satirical text-and-picture novel Wigfield: The Can Do Town That Just May Not, which was published in 2003 by Hyperion Books. The novel was a collaboration between Colbert, Amy Sedaris, and Paul Dinello, and tells the story of a small town threatened by the impending destruction of a massive dam. The narrative is presented as a series of fictional interviews with the town's residents, accompanied by photos. The three authors toured performing an adaptation of Wigfield on stage the same year the book was released.[111][112]

Colbert appeared in a small supporting role in the 2005 film adaptation of Bewitched. He has made guest appearances on the television series Curb Your Enthusiasm, Spin City, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent,[113] and on the first season of the US improvisational comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway?. He voiced the characters of Reducto and Phil Ken Sebben in the Adult Swim's Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, but left the show in 2005 to work on The Colbert Report. His characters were both killed, though he returned to voice Phil for the series finale. Colbert also has provided voices for Cartoon Network's The Venture Bros., Comedy Central's Crank Yankers, and American Dad!, and for Canadian animated comedy series The Wrong Coast. He appeared as Homer Simpson's life coach, Colby Krause, in The Simpsons episode "He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs".[114][115]

Colbert filled in for Sam Seder on the second episode of The Majority Report on Air America Radio, and has also done reports for The Al Franken Show. He appeared on a track on Wig in a Box, a tribute album for Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Colbert read the part of Leopold Bloom in Bloomsday on Broadway XXIV: Love Literature Language Lust: Leopold's Women Bloom on June 16, 2005, at Symphony Space in New York City.[16] He appeared in a series of TV commercials for General Motors, as a not-too-bright investigator searching for the elusive (and non-existent in real life) "Mr. Goodwrench". He also portrayed the letter Z in Sesame Street: All-Star Alphabet, a 2005 video release.

Colbert is a producer of The 1 Second Film, the world's largest nonprofit collaborative art film. His video request that IMDb list his credit for The 1 Second Film ("it is as valid as most of my credits") enabled thousands of the film's producers to be listed in the massive movie database until they were removed in early 2007.[116]

Colbert has released one book associated with The Colbert Report, I Am America (And So Can You!). It was released on October 7, 2007, by Grand Central Publishing. Grand Central Publishing is the successor to Warner Books, which published America (The Book), written by The Daily Show staff. The book contains similar political satire, but was written primarily by Colbert himself rather than as a collaboration with his Colbert Report writing staff.[117]

On November 23, 2008, his Christmas special, A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!, aired on Comedy Central. It was released on DVD in November 2008.[118]

In January 2010, Colbert was named the assistant sports psychologist for the US Olympicspeed skating team at the 2010 Winter Olympics.[119] He was also invited to be part of NBC's 2010 Winter Olympics coverage team by Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports.[120] In April 2011, Colbert performed as Harry in the concert-style revival of Stephen Sondheim's musical Company, presented by the New York Philharmonic at the Lincoln Center.[121] The show, featuring Neil Patrick Harris in the starring role, ran for four nights and was filmed for later showings in movie theaters, which began June 15.[121] In May 2011, Colbert joined the Charleston to Bermuda Race yachting race, as captain of the ship "the Spirit of Juno".[122] He finished second, five miles behind leaders "Tucana".[123]

After the resignation of South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint to run Heritage Foundation, Colbert was named a possible candidate for appointment to the seat being vacated by DeMint, which would have triggered a special election in 2014 to finish out DeMint's term. Although Governor Nikki Haley announced promptly that she had no intention to nominate Colbert to the Senate, a poll showed Colbert as a favorite among South Carolina voters.[124][125]

Colbert guest-hosted Only in Monroe, a public access television show in Monroe, Michigan, for an episode that aired July 1, 2015. He interviewed the program's regular hosts, and also the rapper Eminem (whom he pretended never to have heard of), and put a humorous slant on the local news and community calendar.[126][127]

On July 17, 2016, Colbert hijacked the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, while dressed as Caesar Flickerman from The Hunger Games series.[128][129] After he was taken down from the stage, he commented, "Look, I know I am not supposed to be up here but let's be honest, neither is Donald Trump."[130] Colbert also dressed as Flickerman on his show, prior to the stunt, to announce the candidates who had ended their runs in the 2016 election.[131]

Aside from hosting his talk shows, Colbert has gone on to host other types of shows. Since 2014, Colbert has hosted the Kennedy Center Honors for three consecutive years.[132][133][134] In 2017, Colbert hosted the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards.[135]

Influences

Colbert has said his comedy influences include: Don Novello,[136]Alec Guinness,[137]Bill Cosby,[32]George Carlin,[138]Dean Martin,[27]Jon Stewart,[2]Monty Python,[139]Steve Martin,[140] and David Letterman.[141]

Among comedians who say they were influenced by Colbert are Rob Corddry,[47]Ed Helms,[47]Aasif Mandvi,[48]Nathan Fielder,[142]Mindy Kaling,[143]Jordan Klepper,[144] and Billy Eichner.[145]

Personal life

Although, by his own account, he was not particularly political before joining the cast of The Daily Show, Colbert has described himself as a Democrat according to a 2004 interview.[146][147] In an interview at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard Institute of Politics, he stated that he has "no problems with Republicans, just Republican policies".[148] Colbert is a practicing Roman Catholic and used to teach Sunday school. He is an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church Monastery.[16][149][150][151][152]

Colbert has been married to Evelyn "Evie" McGee-Colbert since 1993.[153] She is the daughter of prominent Charleston civil litigator Joseph McGee, of the firm Buist Moore Smythe McGee. His wife appeared with him in an episode of Strangers with Candy as his mother.[154] She also had an uncredited cameo as a nurse in the series pilot and a credited one (as his wife, Clair) in the film. McGee-Colbert actually met Jon Stewart before she met her future husband in 1990. They met at the world premiere of Hydrogen Jukebox at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston. Colbert later described the first moment he met Evie as being a love at first sight encounter; however, moments after they met, they both realized they had grown up together in Charleston and had many mutual friends.[155][156]

Stephen Colbert and his wife Evelyn McGee-Colbert at the 2006 Time 100
Colbert, in his television series persona, prepares to interview Michelle Obama. The set of The Colbert Report satirized cable-personality political talk shows.
Stephen Colbert greets troops and civilians at Al Faw Palace at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq, June 5, as part of his "Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando" tour

Stephen Tyrone Colbert (pronounced "col-BEAR") was born on May 13, 1964 in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. He is the son of Lorna Elizabeth (Tuck) and James William Colbert, Jr., a doctor and medical school dean at Yale, Saint Louis University, and MUSC. He is the youngest of eleven children, and is of Irish Catholic background.

Stephen studied acting at Northwestern and performed with the Second City comedy troupe in Chicago before teaming up with fellow cast members Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello to create the sketch comedy Exit 57 (1995) for Comedy Central. During its two-season run in the mid-1990s, it garnered five CableACE nominations for best writing, performing, and comedy series. After the demise of Exit 57 (1995) from 1997 (until his departure in October 2005), Stephen was a correspondent on The Daily Show (1996), then hosted by Craig Kilborn. Initially billed as "The New Guy," Stephen became the show's longest-running correspondent before getting his own show, The Colbert Report (2005), which has done well in its slot following The Daily Show (1996).

At the time he left The Daily Show (1996), Stephen had been its longest-running and most diverse correspondent. In addition to his role as Senior Political Correspondent, he was one of the hosts of "Even Stepheven," a point-counterpoint assault featuring co-correspondent Steve Carell, and the host of "This Week in God," a recurring segment in which he reported on all things theological with the assistance of the "God Machine."

Stephen helped The Daily Show (1996) win numerous Emmy and Peabody Awards and contributed to "America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction" (Warner Books) which immediately topped the New York Times bestseller list and stayed there for 15 consecutive weeks.

His personality, intelligence, and leftist political satire could only have led him to The Colbert Report (2005), a half-hour nightly platform for him to give his tongue-in-cheek take on the issues of the day, and more importantly, to tell you why he thinks everyone else's take is just plain wrong.

His other notable credits include serving as both writer and cast member on The Dana Carvey Show (1996), writing for Saturday Night Live (1975), and providing the voice of Ace in Robert Smigel's "Ambiguously Gay Duo," which originated on The Dana Carvey Show (1996) and was a semi-regular feature in Smigel's "TV Funhouse" segment on SNL. He was also featured on "Mr. Goodwrench" commercials (2003-2005).

Stephen lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and three children.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: ArchieLeach

Spouse (1)

Trade Mark (5)

Parodies of well known political and media figures
Delivers ridiculous lines of dialogue with complete seriousness and sincerity

Trivia (39)

An alumnus of the Second City and Annoyance Theatre in Chicago, IL. Graduated from Northwestern University in 1986.
Is deaf in his right ear.
The youngest of 11 children.
Is a huge "Lord of the Rings" fan and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the series. Specifically recited the entire biography of LOTR character Aragorn from memory when Viggo Mortensen appeared on The Daily Show (1996). Mortensen sent him a platter full of LOTR characters carved out of chocolate.
Was included in the Peabody Award given to The Daily Show: Indecision 2002: Election Night (2002) for "offering biting political satire, these scintillating segments had something droll and amusing to say about almost everything and everyone associated with American politics and the presidential election.".
His father and two of his brothers died in a plane crash when he was ten years old. On September 11, 1974, they were on an Eastern Airlines DC-9 that crashed in dense fog during its approach to Charlotte, NC. Of the 82 people on board, 72 were killed. In its report, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that "the probable cause of the accident was the flight crew's lack of altitude awareness at critical points during the approach due to poor cockpit discipline in that the crew did not follow prescribed procedures.".
Voiced several characters on Comedy Central's Crank Yankers (2002).
"Truthiness," a word he coined, was declared the Word of the Year 2005 by the American Dialect Society.
Has stated that not all of his family members say "Colbert" the way he does. Some pronounce the "T" at the end.
Has three children: Madeline, Peter, and John.
Is in the process of putting together news pieces about every congressional district in the United States.
Teaches Sunday School every weekend at his church and teaches his own specific story of salvation and has the children learn spiritual songs.
As a result of the plane crash that killed his father and two of his brothers, the Federal Aviation Administration established the "sterile cockpit" rule, which prohibits flight crews from engaging in any conversation or activities apart from their flying duties while the aircraft is below 10,000 feet.
As a result of an operation he had when he was young, he can fold his right ear inside out and can pop it out when he squints his eye.
Received an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Knox College in Galesburg, IL, in 2006.
His father was of seven-eighths Irish ancestry, with his other roots being English and German. His mother was of entirely Irish descent.
His siblings from oldest to youngest are: Jimmy, Eddie, Mary, Billy, Margo, Tommy, Jay, Lulu, Paul, and Peter. Stephen is the youngest of the eleven.
Often sings and dances in television performances. He has said in interviews that he studied voice and ballet in college.
In January 2008 he began a campaign on his show to have a portrait of his character hung in the "Treasures of American History" exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC (pieces shown in that exhibit included a top hat worn by' Abraham Lincoln, an original light bulb made by Thomas A. Edison, a Greensboro (NC) lunch counter that was the scene of a seminal civil rights sit-in, Lewis and Clark's compass, and Kermit the Frog). When the National Museum of American History refused the portrait, Colbert next offered it to the National Portrait Gallery (also a Smithsonian museum), which accepted it on a temporary basis and hung it between the bathrooms adjacent to the Hall of Presidents. After the portrait's term at the National Portrait Gallery was up, the National Museum of American History did agree to hang the portrait--next to a Dumbo car from the original Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride at Disneyland.
His older sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch (aka Lulu), is the 2014 South Carolina Democratic congressional candidate. Her Republican opponent will be Gov. Mark Sanford [April 2013].
In the 1980s he attended Chicago's Northwestern University's theater & speech class with friend David Schwimmer.
Was number one on The New York Times Best Seller list. [October 2007].
A new George Mason University study found that he had made 337 jokes about President Trump's first 100 days in office.[May 2017].
Was named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People.[2006].
Received the final call back audition for SNL with Tracy Morgan in 1996.
His surname is actually pronounced how it looks, "col burt", but he has preferred "cole-bear" since college since his family is part French and it sounds more sophisticated to his family.
He was nominated for the 2017 New Jersey Hall of Fame in the Performing Arts category.

Personal Quotes (36)

[on what he would like to ask former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean] The media tries to portray you as an angry candidate. Doesn't that piss you off?
[To Howard Kurtz on CNN's Reliable Sources (1992) January 25, 2004] We have no desire to make anybody look like a blithering idiot, but we do love it when they do. Because we get it off the AP feed and, then, we don't have to write anything for the next five minutes. We can just roll the tape.
[Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City, UT), January 23, 2004] Since there's not more news than there used to be, but there's way more time, and more channels doing it all the time, so that analysis has become much more than news . . . They really have to fill and they go, "(Expletive), we'll just have analysis for the next three hours," because there's no more new on the story. And then . . . the first person with a semi-cogent thought, they go, "(Expletive), I'll say that, too." And then that analysis becomes accepted dogma because analysis is the bulk of what you're getting. You're not really getting any more news.
[The Union Leader (Manchester NH, January 25, 2004, when asked why people should watch The Daily Show (1996)] You shouldn't listen to us at all if you're looking for information. We don't take ourselves seriously on any level; we're just comedians . . . I'm a huge news junkie. I love what the news does. And we're a shadow, a reflection, of what's happening in the real news.
[on his mock "crusade" against the Associated Press regarding his claim that coined the word "truthiness"] It's a sin of omission, is what it is. You're not giving people the whole story about truthiness. It's like [William Shakespeare] still being alive and not asking him what "Hamlet" is about.
The fact that they looked it up in a book just shows that they don't get the idea of truthiness at all. You don't look up truthiness in a book, you look it up in your gut.
[about the Washington press corps] But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works. The President makes decisions, he's the decider. The Press Secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know, fiction.
[on his creativity] I wrote things for the school's newspaper, and--like all teenagers--I dabbled in poetry.
[on writing] I used to write things for friends. There was this girl I had a crush on, and she had a teacher she didn't like at school. I had a real crush on her, so almost every day I would write her a little short story where she would kill him in a different way.
[stating that the best moment in the 2004 campaign for Democratic presidential nominee was Howard Dean's post-Iowa speech] Because clearly everybody was captivated by it. I think that's an argument why he should be President, because he can capture everyone's attention. Listen, George W. Bush was a cheerleader. I'm sure he screamed like that when he was at Yale, and I don't see why that disqualifies someone from being President. But George Bush did it in a human pyramid.
I was never interested in political comedy: "Ted Kennedy 's hitting the bottle again!'" Jon Stewart taught me how to do it so it would be smart. He encouraged everyone to have a point of view. There had to be a thought behind every joke.
[Remembering the 2000 presidential election recount] We all had such blue balls from the jokes we wanted to do when Al Gore eventually conceded. And the night it happened, here we were doing them. I turned to Jon Stewart and said, "This is the most fun job on TV right now".
Citizens United said that transparency would be the disinfectant, but (c)(4)'s are warm, wet, moist incubators. There is no disinfectant.
My brother Billy was the joke teller. My brother Jim had a really sharp, cutting wit. And the teller of long stories, that was my brother Ed. As a child, I just absorbed everything they said, and I was always in competition for the laughs.
[In his junior year in high school]: I was probably still Colbert to a lot of people. But in my mind I was coal-BARE."
The trouble with the jokes is that once they're written, I know how they're supposed to work, and all I can do is not hit them. I'm more comfortable improvising. If I have just two or three ideas and I know how the character feels, what the character wants, everything in between is like trapeze work.
As executive producer of this show, I get to ask my character to do whatever I want.
My character is a patriot, and he believes that the Olympics are war. It's a way to prove who's got the best country. Only nobody gets hurt.
My character isn't ironically detached, he's ironically a-ttached; things are important to him.
[In 2009] I know what you're thinking: "Isn't the Iraq War over?" That's what I thought, too. I hadn't seen it in the media for a while, and when I don't see something, I assume it's vanished forever, like in that terrifying game "Peekaboo". We stopped seeing much coverage of the Iraq War back in September when the economy tanked, and I just figured the insurgents were wiped out because they were heavily invested in Lehman Brothers. Turns out there are still 135,000 troops in Iraq, which I don't understand because we've already won the war. And we've won it so many times. We should win something for the number of times we've won it. We eliminated the weapons of mass destruction by having them not exist. We took out Saddam Hussein--or a really convincing and committed Saddam Hussein double. We helped write the Iraqi Constitution and clearly gave Iraqis the right to bear a lot of arms. And by August of next year we'll withdraw every single one of our troops, leaving behind only memories and 50,000 troops. But despite our continued victories, Americans have many lingering questions about Iraq. For example: where is Iraq? My guess is somewhere near Paraguay.
I don't accept the status quo. I do accept Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.
Well, this is the planet we live on, so . . .
[as new host on the premiere of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (2015), September 8, 2015] With this show I begin the search for the real Stephen Colbert. I just hope I don't find him on Ashley Madison.
[jokingly]I'd like to think I'm the Pope of late night television.
[on his show, May 3, 2017] If you saw my monologue Monday, you know that I was a little upset at Donald Trump for insulting a friend of mine. So at the end of that monologue I had a few choice insults for the president in return. I don't regret that. He, I believe, can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch pads. So it's a fair fight.
Now, if you saw my monologue Monday, you know that I was a little upset at Donald Trump for insulting a friend of mine. So at the end of that monologue I had a few choice insults for the president in return. I don't regret that. He, I believe, can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it's a fair fight.
Sir, you attract more skinheads than free Rogaine. You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign language gorilla that got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin's c--k holster.
[on the backlash he received for his monologue on April 30, 2017]So while I would do it again, I would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be," he says. "I'm not going to repeat the phrase, but I just want to say for the record, life is short, and anyone who expresses their love for another person, in their own way, is to me, an American hero. I think we can all agree on that. I hope even the president and I can agree on that. Nothing else. But, that.
Mr. Trump, there is a lot you don't understand. But I never thought one of those things would be show business! Don't you know, I have been trying for a year to get you to say my name!? And you were very restrained. Admirably restrained. But now, you did it. I won
Since all of my success is clearly based on talking about you, if you really want to take me down, there's an obvious way. Resign
[Presenting the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical in 2017] It's been a great year for revivals in general, especially that one they revived down in Washington DC. It started off Broadway in the '80s - way off Broadway, over on Fifth Avenue - huge production values, couple problems: main character is totally unbelievable! And the hair and make-up! Yeesh! No! This DC production's supposed to have a four-year run, but reviews have *not* been kind. Could close early.
[after Deadline Hollywood called Donald J. Trump's attack on Mika Brzezinski a "new low"] No! It's the same low! We're at a cruising altitude of, like, the bottom of the Marianas Trench right now! There are giant squid looking down at America!
George Church once stopped me from eating 20 million copies of his book 'Regenisis'. The fact that it was possible for me to do that is a testament to his genius. He had transmitted all the information in the book, including pictures, into the A-T-G-C code of DNA and placed 20 million copies of it in a tiny spot on a scrap of paper. It was a powerful demonstration of both the complexity and capacity of the genome he has dedicated his life to studying. As a biological engineer, Dr. Church has been accused of 'playing God', an accusation abetted by his beard of biblical proportions. But to me, George seems less like God and more like a cross between Darwin and Santa.
[on 'The Late Show, September 2017] Repealing DACA in order to MAGA is a load of CACA.

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