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The Real Stephen Colbert Speaks at New Yorker Festival

Just yesterday while I was lamenting that Bill Maher forgot to interview Stephen Colbert (seen here with his wife and daughter at last month's Emmys), he was speaking (with his wife!) at the New Yorker Festival in Manhattan. He's known for giving few interviews and even fewer out of character and probably none with his wife, who puts up with it all, so this was a rare treat.

It appears it wasn't taped, but there are some great recaps. Here are some highlights of the highlights:

  • On playing Stephen Colbert, the character: "It's not in my nature to be a jerk — but I do enjoy it."
  • On why he ran for president: He refers to Bill O'Reilly and the egotism of his character: "I couldn't have the presidential election not be about me."
  • He hesitated before giving Bill O'Reilly the standard warning he tells all his guests — my character is idiot, disabuse me of my ignorance — but then went ahead. O'Reilly seemed unaware of the insult.

There's more! To find out how he perceives the political leanings (and relative intelligence?) of his audience,


  • He thinks his audience is a bit more centrist than The Daily Show and acknowledges that some viewers don't realize he doesn't believe what he's saying.
  • On teaching Sunday School: The kids are funny because they ask questions that "you thought were so deep in college."
  • Advice for a young satirist: "Go to Chicago. If you can't make it there, you can't make it anywhere."

For an even better recap, check out the Huffington Post's. They had an in-person view of the full Colbert, as it were.


Join The Conversation
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
I love Stephen Colbert, he is absolutely hilarious and I even like his show a little bit more than "The Daily Show". I crack up everytime Stephen opens the show with "This is the Colbert Report" pronouncing it like "Colber Repor." I'm currently listening to the audiobook version of his book ("I Am America - And So Can You") - it's amazing.
Antioxidant Antioxidant 8 years
I love me some Colbert.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
I love Colbert. Is it sad I get all my political news from him :ROTFL:
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
I have admired Stephen Colbert since Strangers With Candy and when he started playing "Stephen Colbert" on the Daily Show I immediately knew that it was satire and a character. I cannot believe that people actually think that this actor/comedian is really a wing-nut, egotistic fascist. He is downright hilarious and insightful in his character. That said I prefer his show to the Daily Show and I love when Colbert throws a a tiny nugget of who the real man Stephen Colbert is because he needs to express something. Like when he honored his father with a bit of history about how his dad as a Southern lawyer had represented these what 10 or so black nurses who were underpaid and abused at their job at the beginning of the Civil Right movement. I knew that the story being told was true and that the lawyer Colbert was speaking about was his father and that he was very proud of what his dad had done - BUT some members of his audience thought it was all a lie, a joke he was pulling. Once he stopped being the character and started to talk about how his dad and brothers died in a plane crash, some morons in his audience whooped and hollered and laughed. It wasn't funny. It was the horrible truth that Stephen had lost his dad and several brother in a horrible plane crash, living his mother with horrible debilitating depression and Stephen to try as a child to care for her. He is an amazing actor but sadly as he said he's created a character who shares the same name but not the same opinions and some people with no ability to discern what is real and what is fake think the character "Stephen Colbert" and the man are one in the same. I mean it could be because most political talk show hosts are egotistical extremists either one way or the other and think themselves and their opinions to be the most important ever. But come on it's a show on Comedy Central. I believe that Dave Attell is more like his TV persona than Stephen Colbert
kikidawn kikidawn 8 years
Oh I love the Colbert Report!! "He thinks his audience is a bit more centrist than The Daily Show and acknowledges that some viewers don't realize he doesn't believe what he's saying." That's so funny. My SO and his bestfriend were talking about Colbert and my SO (huge Colbert fan--gets the sarcasm) said something like "Well, I don't like him b/c he's a total right-wing Republican" making a joke with his bestfriend. Well, the bf didn't realize that Josh was making a joke and went off on a rampage defending Colbert and 'explaining' to Josh that it is a character ... etc. I was laughing so hard. When the bf eventually figured it out we had a field day with him. It's still funny to me lol oh and em, girl, I love you (and your political beliefs ;) ), but that avatar broke my heart when I scrolled down and saw it. :'( It'll be a good game on Saturday though ;)
geebers geebers 8 years
I love Colbert and Daily Show equally - both amuse me and provide news in a funny way.
lorenashley lorenashley 8 years
if i wasn't in love with keith olbermann, he would be that guy for me ;)
em1282 em1282 8 years
Heidi--it's so much better when his guests "get it". I remember he had someone on his show (for the segment "Better Know a Lobby") whose focus was athiesm, and she said that after she went on the show, some of her colleagues were offended and didn't want to eat lunch with her anymore because they didn't "get" his sense of humor. (Did you see that one? When he busted out into "God Bless America?" God, I'm sounding like a total fangirl. :nerdgirl: I can't help it!) I also think he's god two younger sons...? I could be wrong though.
HeidiMD HeidiMD 8 years
I love Stephen Colbert. I find him much funnier than Jon Stewart. I think his bipartisan comedy appeals to everyone, and he gets it right every time! I agree that some of his guests don't get that it is a comedy show. I always call them "guests with an agenda to push," because they just don't seem to understand that, regardless of how intelligent and well-versed they are, they are going to have a few jokes cracked at their expense. On a random note, I had no idea his daughter was that old! I thought his kids were younger than that. She is pretty, though!
em1282 em1282 8 years
He's also quite easy on the eyes. :howyoudoin:
bluesuze bluesuze 8 years
Colbert is one of the funniest humans that have ever lived :notworthy:
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
I love the Colbert Report! Especially the Spor Repor! To me, when Bill was on the Colbert Report he didn't seem to get that it was a joke. He just struck me as being unable to take the joke. Like when Stephen held up a copy of his book and it had the 20% off sticker on it, he didn't seem to get it.
em1282 em1282 8 years
Oops. "Formidable Opponent".
em1282 em1282 8 years
God, I love him. :love: Seriously, his "Forbidable Opponent" segments are terrific, and really break down whatever issue is at hand in an uncomplicated and funny way. And how cute are his wife and daughter?
Marni7 Marni7 8 years
I am more of a Daily Show girl but Colbert is fun to watch too! I do agree that some people that watch him dont realize he is being sarcastic..I had to tell my sister this the other day! :P
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Did you read his interview in EW? He's still great and very witty when out of character, and gave a lot of intelligent and fiery comments.
tiabia tiabia 8 years
Love that Stephen Colbert!!!
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
I would agree about the audience being more centrist. I like the Colbert Report a lot but I practically never watch the Daily Show. I just think Colbert is better at what he does and doesn't always come off as if he is looking down on the other side. And even if you hate Bill, you gotta respect that he went on Colbert and was respectful and took the joke when he is the butt of the joke every single day.
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