Colbert Reveals Tragedy, Scoffs at D.C. Audience

As readers might know, Stephen Colbert, a comedian on Comedy Central well-watched in Washington, has been honing his jokes for decades. As is the case with many comedians, his comedy, in part, grew from tragedy and despair.

Colbert is splashed on the cover of the Winter issue of Northwestern’s alumni magazine with a headline that reads, “The Real Colbert.” The picture is Colbert the person, not Colbert in character.

His female acting professor at Northwestern learned the truth about a tragic incident from childhood one day over lunch.  His father and two brothers were killed in a plane crash when he was 10, leaving him with a mother besotted with grief. “My main mission was to make her laugh,” she remembers him telling her.

Another noteworthy detail…When asked about his performance at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Dinner (which didn’t go over well in the uptight enclaves of Washington), Colbert replied, “I had a relationship with my audience. But my audience was not the people in that room.”

Read the full story by Cate Plys here.