In 2012, The New York Times Magazine profiled Stephen for a lengthy piece. He spoke eloquently about his father, a doctor, and his two brothers Peter and Paul, who all died in a plane crash when he was 10. The article recounts his words:
"There's a common explanation that profound sadness leads to someone's becoming a comedian, but I'm not sure that's a proven equation in my case," he told me. "I'm not bitter about what happened to me as a child, and my mother was instrumental in keeping me from being so." He added, in a tone so humble and sincere that his character would never have used it: "She taught me to be grateful for my life regardless of what that entailed, and that's directly related to the image of Christ on the cross and the example of sacrifice that he gave us."