Stephen Colbert has perfectly fit into his varied roles of an actor, writer, host, producer, and critic, among others. He is a well-known face in the television circuit and has currently taken a huge leap forward by becoming the host of the Late Night Show on CBS. He is known for his political satire and the audiences love his presence of mind and quick wit, which have made him quite an entertainer.
Born on May 13, 1964, in Washington, DC, Stephen Colbert was the youngest of the eleven children born to James William Colbert Jr., and Lorna Elizabeth Colbert. His father was a successful doctor and deans of various universities, including Yale, while his mother was a housewife. When he was only ten years old, Colbert’s father and two brothers were killed when the Eastern Airline Flight they were travelling in crashed in Charlotte, North Carolina. Thereafter, the family relocated to Charleston, where Colbert spent the rest of his childhood. In his teenage years, he also had an ear operation to correct his perforated ear, which ended up damaging his hearing, rendering him deaf in the right ear.
At Northwestern University, Stephen got enrolled as a theatre major and wanted to become an actor. However, he developed an interest in improvisation that led him to join the university improve club and other similar theatre groups outside. In 1986, after graduating from Northwestern, Stephen Colbert started job hunting. A friend of his helped him to land the job of a telephone assistant at Second City, one of the most popular improvisation theatre groups in the USA. As an employee, Stephen could join classes for free, and that's exactly what he did. However, this time he joined a comedy group. Though he had no intention of venturing into the comedy side of things, he had a great time doing the improvisation classes.
Soon after, he started performing for the Second City troupe under the mentorship of Steve Carell. He also met the comedy artists, Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello here. After a rocky start the three became best of friends on their innumerable tours. So, in 1995, when Sedaris and Dinello got the chance to work with HBO Downtown Productions, Colbert also moved with them to New York. They created the Comedy Central series, Exit 57 that was on air for about a year. It was also nominated for Cable ACE Awards in various categories.
After the show was taken off air Colbert worked on many shows in different capacities. He wrote as well as performed on The Dana Carvey Show, worked as a contract writer for Saturday Night Live with Robert Smigel, and even briefly worked with VH1, MTV and Good Morning America. His last gig also got him a referral to the then director of the Daily Show, Madeline Smithberg, who hired him temporarily. This led to bigger things for Colbert.
First, he got the role as a field reporter for the Daily Show with Craig Kilborn in 1997. When the host was replaced by Jon Stewart, the show took the tone of a political satire and raked in more audiences. Stephen Colbert’s role in the show also expanded at this time. He received Emmy awards as writer for the Daily Show in 2000, 2004 and 2005. Secondly, Colbert also got to work on Strangers with Candy for Comedy Central with his old buddies from 1999 to 2000. Though the show received mixed reactions while it was on air, over the years, it has developed a cult following due to its brutally honest take on life. Finally, in 2005, Colbert got his own show, The Colbert Report. A humorous take on the conventions of broadcast television, especially the political talk shows. The show aired on Comedy Central and was very well-received. In fact, it wrapped up only recently with Stephen Colbert becoming the host of the iconic television talk show, The Late Show.
The reigns of Late Show were till now with David Letterman, the creator and the first host of the show. The talk show had not changed hands in the previous 22 years and had been Letterman’s claim to fame. This does say a lot about what awaits for Stephen Colbert. After the retirement of Letterman in January, 2015, the first Late Show with Stephen Colbert was broadcast on September 8, 2015. The show opened to high ratings, even better than the previous season premiers. Stephen Colbert, although was filling in big shoes, pulled it off nicely with his quintessential charm. The reviews were great and given the experience that Colbert brings to the table, it does not leave any doubt that he will keep up the good work.