The Colbert Report
Multiple Emmy Award winner Stephen Colbert rose to fame as a correspondent on Comedy Central's late night satirical television program “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” a gig he held from 1997 to 2005. Also a staff writer, he received his first three Emmy Awards for his writing contribution to the show. When asked why people should watch “The Daily Show,” he stated, “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.”
The political satirist gained further popularity and recognition as the host of the popular “The Daily Show” spinoff series “The Colbert Report,” which he executive produced and wrote. Since its debut on October 17, 2005, the show has collected 15 Emmy nominations and was given the award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program in 2008. It also won a Peabody Award in 2008 and Colbert nabbed a Satellite Award and three PGA Awards.
Colbert was introduced to improvisational theatre after meeting Second City director Del Close at Northwestern University. He went on to study improvisation while working odd jobs. Colbert made his professional debut with Second City when he was hired as an understudy for Steve Carell.
After leaving Second City, the comedian made his television writing debut with the short lived sketch show “Exit 57” (1995-1996), which he created and starred in with former Second City members Paul Dinello and Amy Sedaris. The trio continued their partnership for the television series “Strangers with Candy” (1999-2000) and the 2005 film version of the TV series, as well as for the 2003 book “Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not.” Colbert also appeared in the films “Bewitched” (2005, as Stu Robison), “The Love Guru” (2008, as Jay Kell) and “Monsters vs. Aliens” (2009, as the voice of President Hathaway) and guest starred in TV shows like “Spin City,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “The Simpsons.” From 2001 to 2007, he provided the voice of Phil Ken Sebben on Cartoon Network's “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.” Colbert is also popular for lending his distinguished voice to characters on “Saturday Night Live.” Colbert won a 2010 Grammy Award for his 2008 comedy album “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!” He also topped the New York Times Best Seller List with his book “I Am America (And So Can You!)” (2007).
Youngest of 11
Childhood and Family:
The youngest of 11 children, Stephen Tyrone Colbert was born on May 13, 1964, in Washington, D.C., to James Colbert, a vice president for academic affairs at the Medical University of South Carolina, and Lorna Colbert, a homemaker. He was raised in a Roman Catholic household in Charleston, South Carolina. On September 11, 1974, Stephen’s father and two of his siblings died in a plane crash and his family relocated to an urban area of Charleston. During that time, he discovered science fiction and fantasy novels and became a huge fan of J. R. R. Tolkien.
Stephen enrolled at the exclusive Episcopal Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, where he acted in various school plays and contributed to the school newspaper. He majored in philosophy at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, where he continued to be active in plays. After two years there, he transferred to Northwestern University's School of Communication in Chicago to study performance. He graduated in 1986. While at Northwestern, he met Second City director Del Close and began studying improvised comedy with the Improv-Olympic troupe.
After a trip to Europe, Stephen landed a job as a souvenir seller and answered the phones at Second City. Like other Second City employees, he took classes at their training center for free. Stephen, who intently studied to become a dramatic actor at Northwestern and was previously uninterested in comedy, found comedy classes interesting and before long, was hired to perform with Second City's touring company.
Stephen is married to Evelyn McGee. They appeared together in the 2005 film “Strangers with Candy.” The couple has two sons, John and Peter, and a daughter named Madeline.
The Daily Show
Stephen Colbert began a career in comedy by joining the Second City improv group in Chicago. He began as an understudy for Steven Carell and later toured with the company. It was while touring that he developed close friendships with fellow Second City members Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello. When Sedaris and Dinello were offered the chance to make a television series for HBO Downtown Productions, Colbert left Second City and moved to New York to work with them in the sketch comedy series “Exit 57,” which the trio created and starred in with Jodi Lennon and Mitch Rouse. The show ran on Comedy Central during 1995 to 1996.
After the cancellation of “Exit 57,” Colbert served as
a writer and performer on ABC's “The Dana Carvey Show”
(1996). The show was axed after seven episodes because of the
controversial content and poor ratings. Later that same year, Colbert
worked briefly as a freelance writer for the NBC hit sketch comedy
show “Saturday Night Live,” with Robert Smigel. Smigel
also brought his animated comedy sketch from “The Dana Carvey
Show,” “The Ambiguously Gay Duo,” to “Saturday
Night Live” with Colbert and Carell retaining their voice roles
of Ace and Gary, respectively. The show made its debut on “SNL”
on September 28, 1996, and would last for 11 episodes.
Colbert faced a difficult time during 1996 to 1997 when he worked as a script consultant for VH1 and MTV to make ends meet. He then appeared in an episode of “Spin City” called “The Competition” (1996) and had an unaccredited voice role in a 1997 episode of “The Chris Rock Show.” His luck started to change when he was hired as a correspondent on Comedy Central's “The Daily Show” in 1997 where he later picked up three Emmy Awards for his writing contribution to the show (2004, 2005 and 2006). While working on “The Daily Show,” Colbert made his feature acting debut in the 1999 comedy “Snow Days,” which was directed by Adam Marcus and written by Kipp Marcus. The same year, he also created the television series “Strangers with Candy” with Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello and Mitch Rouse. The show premiered on April 7, 1999, on Comedy Central and ran until October 2, 2000. Colbert also starred in the show as Chuck Noblet opposite Sedaris as Jerri Blank and Dinello as Geoffrey Jellinec. In 2001, Colbert co-wrote and starred in the TV special “Stephen Colbert Again: A Look Back” and began his voice role of Phil Ken Sebben in the animated series “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law,” a gig he would keep until 2007. He then appeared in “Nobody Knows Anything” (2003), a comedy film directed by William Tannen that was written by David Pasquesi, guest starred in HBO's “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and NBC's “Law &Order: Criminal Intent,” and provided various celebrity voices for the TV miniseries “The Wrong Coast” (all 2004).
Colbert left “The Daily Show” in 2005 to host his own news comedy show, “The Colbert Report,” which he created with Ben Karlin and Jon Stewart. A spinoff of “The Daily Show,” the show debuted on Comedy Central on October 17, 2005, and became an instant success. It won a Peabody Award in 2008 and Colbert was nominated for 11 Emmy Awards and won one in 2008 in the category of Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program. He also received a 2007 Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical and PGA Awards for Television Producer of the Year in Live Entertainment/Competition. Also in 2005, Colbert reprised his role of Chuck Noblet in the big screen adaptation of “Strangers with Candy,” which was directed by Dinello. Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2005, the film received a limited release in 2006 and earned mixed reviews from critics. In addition to acting, he also co-wrote the screenplay with Sedaris and Dinello and served as co-producer. The same year, Colbert portrayed Principal Peersall in “The Great New Wonderful” segment “David and Allison's Story,” was cast as Stu Robison in Nora Ephron's film adaptation of “Bewitched,” which starred Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, and voiced Dr. Dandliker in an episode of “American Dad” called “All About Steve.”
In 2006, Colbert's voice could be heard in the episode “Twenty Years to Midnight” of “The Venture Bros.” It was his second stint on the animated show since the 2004 episode “Ice Station Impossible.” A year later, he gave a notable guest performance as Colby Krause on “The Simpsons” episode “He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs.”
In 2008, Colbert portrayed Jay Kell in the comedy film “The Love Guru,” which was helmed by Marco Schnabel and starred Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Romany Malco and Justin Timberlake. The film was panned by critics and was a box office dud. Later that same year, Colbert wrote, executive produced and starred in the Christmas special “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All,” which debuted on Comedy Central on November 23, 2008. The show earned primarily positive reviews and was nominated for Emmys for Outstanding Art Direction for Variety, Music or Nonfiction Programming, Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics and Outstanding Picture Editing for a Special (Single or Multi-Camera).
In 2009, Colbert voiced The President of the United States in the computer animated 3-D feature “Monsters vs. Aliens,” which was directed by Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon. The film also starred the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland and Rainn Wilson. Recently, in 2010, Colbert won a Grammy for Best Comedy Album for “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All.”
Colbert is also a published writer. In 2003, he released a book titled “Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not,” which he co-wrote with Sedaris and Dinello. His book “I Am America (And So Can You!),” released in October 2007, became a No. 1 Best Seller on The New York Times book list.
“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.” Stephen Colbert (on writing)
Grammy: Best Comedy Album, “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All,” 2010
PGA: Television Producer of the Year Award in Live Entertainment/Competition, “The Colbert Report,” 2010
PGA: Television Producer of the Year Award in Live Entertainment/Competition, “The Colbert Report,” 2009
PGA: Television Producer of the Year Award in Live Entertainment/Competition, “The Colbert Report,” 2008
Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program, “The Colbert Report,” 2008
Satellite: Best Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical, “The Colbert Report,” 2007
Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program, “The Daily Show,” 2006
Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program, “The Daily Show,” 2005
Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program, “The Daily Show,” 2004