13 May 2015

Today is the birthday of satirist and TV host Stephen Colbert (books by this author), born in Washington, D.C. (1964). The youngest of 11 kids, Colbert lost his father and two of his brothers in a plane crash when he, Colbert, was 10 years old. He retreated into books and, later, the theater. He wasn’t particularly political until he joined the cast of The Daily Show in 1997. Colbert hosted his own political satire show, The Colbert Report, for more than nine years. He played the part of a conservative pundit on the show, a persona he describes as a “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot.” This past December, the final episode aired, and Colbert’s next job will be as host of The Late Show when David Letterman retires in September. As his character, Colbert said, “I cannot stand people who disagree with me on the issue of Roe v. Wade […] which I believe is about the proper way to cross a lake.” As himself, in a commencement address to graduates of Knox College, he said:

“Don’t be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it.”

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