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Stephen Colbert is an American writer, actor and television host best known for his portrayal of a conservative political pundit on his Comedy Central program The Colbert Report. In April 2014, Colbert was named as David Letterman’s successor to the CBS late-night talk show Late Show.
Colbert began his acting career on the sketch comedy show Exit 57, which ran from 1995-1996. He went on to appear on many TV shows throughout the late ‘90s before becoming a series regular on Comedy Central’s Stranger’s With Candy which ran from 1999 to 2000. After working as a writer and corespondent for The Daily Show for eight years Colbert got his own Comedy Central mock news show The Colbert Report in 2005.
ColbertNation.com was registered on August 19, 2005. The site, which acts as the official web presence for The Colbert Report, features video clips from the show’s previously aired episodes, parody polls, and extended interviews with previous guests.
Social Media Presence
White House Correspondents’ Dinner
On April 29th, 2006, Colbert spoke at the annual White House Correspondents’ dinner held in Washington D.C. His remarks were uploaded in three parts by YouTuber petec587 on April 26th, 2007, with the first section gaining over 3 million views in seven years.
His remarks were seen as somewhat controversial as they were very critical of the then president George W. Bush, and another controversy grew around his appearance when a writer on The Huffington Post claimed his performance wasn’t being covered by most media outlets because they didn’t want to embarrass the president.
Daft Punk Dance Party
On an episode of The Colbert Report which aired on August 6th, 2013, Colbert hosted a “Daft Punk Dance Party” after the “Get Lucky” singers failed to perform on his show due to a scheduling conflict. While “Get Lucky” played Colbert danced with actors Hugh Laurie, Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Bryan Cranston as well as fellow late night hosts Jimmy Fallon and Jon Stewart and the Rockettes. The performance was covered the next day by many major entertainment sites such as Entertainment Weekly and The Huffington Post. It has been removed from Colbert Nation, but the video uploaded by YouTuber proudm3x1 on November 20th, 2013, has over 420,000 views as of March 2014.
On an episode of The Colbert Report which aired on June 19th, 2013, Colbert had a tribute for his late mother, who died on June 12, 2013. The tribute was covered by major news and culture sites such as Slate, The Huffington Post, and Time. As of March 2014, the video has over 530,000 views.
CBS Late Show Host
On April 10th, 2014, CBS announced Colbert would be taking over as host of the Late Show for current host David Letterman after his retirement in 2015. Letterman had announced his retirement a week prior on April 3rd. Colbert expressed excitement with the move, saying,
“Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career. I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave’s lead. I’m thrilled and grateful that CBS chose me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth.”
He further clarified that he would not be hosting the show as the conservative character that hosts The Colbert Report. Many others had positive comments about Colbert’s move, with fellow comedy central comedian Jon Stewart commenting,
“He’s wonderful in Colbert Report, but he’s got gears he hasn’t even shown people yet. He would be remarkable.”
Comedy Central tweeted their support for Colbert the same day,
We look forward to the next eight months of the groundbreaking #ColbertReport and wish Stephen the very best. pic.twitter.com/FqD2gnNOmb— Comedy Central (@ComedyCentral) April 10th, 2014
Radio host Rush Limbaugh was critical of CBS’s decision to hire Colbert, saying that day on his show The Rush Limbaugh Show,
“CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservatives––now it’s just going to be wide out in the open. What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny and a redefinition of what is comedy.”
Whose Line Is It Anyway
On May 17, 2007, YouTuber Samvith V Rao uploaded a clip from an episode of the improv comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway which aired on February 24th, 1999, which features Colbert performing a rap with the cast (shown below, left). As of March 2014, the video has over 3 million views. On November 28, 2007, YouTuber DAPvideos uploaded a clip from the same episode which features Colbert acting out a scene using a fake German-like language (right). As of March 2014, the video has over 810,000 views.
#CancelColbert is a Twitter hashtag campaign launched to rally up support for the cancellation of Comedy Central’s satirical news show The Colbert Report in March 2014 after the show host Stephen Colbert tweeted a joke that was perceived as racially insensitive towards Asian Americans on Twitter.
The Green Screen Challenge
During a “Better Know a District” segment on an episode of The Colbert Report which aired on August 10th, 2006, Colbert was shown in front of a green screen holding a lightsaber parodying the Star Wars Kid video. The video was uploaded to Youtube and subsequently edited. On an episode of The Colbert Report which aired on August 21st, 2006, Colbert showed some of these edited clips and announced the “Green Screen Challenge” which called upon fans to create videos based on the original. The two finalists, Bonnie R. and George Lucas (the creator of Star Wars) were announced on an episode which aired on October 11th, 2006, when they were introduced and each of their entries was aired. As of March 2014, the finalist video has over 48,000 views. In the same episode Colbert named Bonnie R. the winner.
Not Intended to Be a Factual Statement
On April 8th, 2011, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl put forth a false statistics that Planned Parenthood, a non-profit maternal and child health service organization, spent 90% of its budget towards abortion-related activities.
In response to media inquiries, Senator Kyl’s office then released an ethically questionable statement saying that his remark was “not intended to be a factual statement.”
On April 11th, Colbert slammed on the Arizona senator’s gaffe, poking fun at the careless response that his argument wasn’t intended to be a factual statement, but only to be taken as true. That same night, Colbert began tweeting a series of baseless rumors about Kyl with the hashtag #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement.
On the following night of April 12th, Stephen Colbert announced that he would be tweeting various “non-facts” about Senator Kyl and encouraged his audience and Twitter followers to participate using the designated hashtag.
Stephen Colbert was born on May 13, 1964 in Charleston, South Carolina. He attended Northwestern University, graduating in 1986. He’s married to Evelyn McGee-Colbert and they have three children.
Entertainment Weekly – Stephen Colbert Daft Punks us anyway with a star-studded ‘Get Lucky’ dance party -- VIDEO
The Huffington Post – Stephen Colbert’s Tribute To His Late Mother, Lorna Tuck Colbert