He’s been cracking jokes on The Late Show since taking over from David Letterman in 2015, and before that on the satirical Comedy Central program The Colbert Report for almost 10 years and The Daily Show before that.
But there are a few things you might not know about the nine-time Emmy winner.
That the 53 year old is a Sunday School teacher and ordained minister. That he’s had both a spider and a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavour named after him. And that the whole reason he got into comedy was due to a truly tragic event that happened before he’d even reached his teens.
Colbert grew up in South Carolina surrounded by a big Catholic family of 13. His father, James William Colbert Jr., was an immunologist and medical school dean, while his mother Lorna Elizabeth Colbert looked after their 11 children – James, Edward, Mary, William, Margo, Thomas, Jay, Elizabeth, Paul, Peter and the youngest, Stephen.
On September 11, 1974, Colbert Jr, Peter and Paul were flying to Connecticut to enroll the two boys at a new school. Their Eastern Air Lines Flight 212 crashed while it was attempting to land in Charlotte, North Carolina, killing all three. Colbert was just 10 years old.
The family was left devastated and his mother, broken.
“It’s built into me the way like, the marble is built into the shape of a statue. It’s kind of, at a certain age, what I was made of,” he told radio host Howard Stern in a 2015 interview.