Stephen Colbert is best known as the host, writer and executive producer of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS. His long-running Emmy® and Peabody® Award-winning series The Colbert Report aired on Comedy Central from 2005 to 2014 and was nominated for 40 Emmys, winning a total of 6. The show was also twice honored with the prestigious Peabody® Award for Excellence in Broadcasting. Read More
The Colbert Report launched on October 17, 2005 and garnered ratings and critical success as one of the top shows on television. Last year, The Colbert Report received its second Primetime Emmy win in the “Outstanding Variety Series” category. The hit series also won the “Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series” category. The Colbert Report had already garnered two prior Emmy wins in the writing category and has been nominated in the writing and directing categories for eight consecutive years, bringing its total number of nominations to 40. The show has also twice been honored with the prestigious Peabody® Award for Excellence in Broadcasting.
The extraordinary platform of the show, and Stephen’s unique persona allowed Stephen Colbert to impact cultural discourse in profound ways:
In an effort to bring attention to campaign finance laws, Colbert applied for his own political action committee. At a hearing in June 2011, Colbert was granted permission by the Federal Election Commission to form his own Super PAC, “Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.” Since receiving approval, fans have signed up nationwide and sent along financial support to help the Super PAC continue to bring attention to campaign finance abuse. In a New York Times article on Colbert’s PAC, Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics states, “He is taking on a serious subject that many Americans find deadly dull and is educating the broader public on why it matters and what is at stake.”
In October 2010, Colbert co-hosted the Rally To Restore Sanity and/or Fear with Jon Stewart, where an estimated 215,000 people descended on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The event included musicians Sheryl Crow, The Roots, and Jeff Tweedy with Mavis Staples along with actors Don Novello (appearing as Father Guido Sarducci) and Sam Waterston. Other guests included 4troops, Yusuf Islam, Ozzy Osbourne, The O’Jays, John Legend, Kid Rock, Tony Bennett, “Mythbusters” hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and R2-D2.
On The Colbert Report, the host has shown his American spirit which includes support of the military and sports. The show welcomed troops back home from Iraq and celebrated their service and sacrifice by broadcasting special shows Been There: Won That: The Returnification of the American-Do Troopscape on September 8 and 9, 2010. The audience on both nights was comprised of veterans and active duty service men and women in the studio, as well as by satellite for audiences from Walter Reed Hospital, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Guests included Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Senator Jim Webb, and former U.S. Military Commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno.
The Colbert Report deployed to Iraq in June 2009 on a USO tour entitled “Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando” to tape and perform shows in front of the troops. The Colbert Report is the first TV show in USO history to produce a week of shows in a combat zone. A highlight from “Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando” included General Ray Odierno receiving a direct order from Commander-In-Chief Barack Obama to shave Colbert’s head.
On November 2, 2009, Colbert announced that Colbert Nation would be the primary sponsor of the U.S. Speedskating team for the 2010 Olympics after discovering that their main sponsor DSB Bank declared bankruptcy and dropped out. Members of The Colbert Nation from across the country donated $100,000 to help sponsor the team. Highlights included: U.S. Speedskating training updates; Colbert trying out for the U.S. Olympic team in bobsledding, curling, and skeleton racing; Colbert gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated; Colbert challenging Shani Davis to a speedskating race; and taking the show to Vancouver and broadcasting at the Winter Olympics.
Colbert has also literally made a name for himself with The Colbert Report. The following have all been named in honor of the host: Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle, the mascot for the minor league hockey team Saginaw Spirit; Stephen Jr., a bald eagle at the San Francisco Zoo; Stephanie Colbertle the Turtle, a leatherback turtle in the first Great Turtle Race; Aptostichus Stephencolberti, a trapdoor spider; Air Colbert, a Virgin America jet; Americone Dream, a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor; Esteban Colbert, a very virile falcon in San Jose; Stelephant Colbert, an elephant seal tagged as part of a study by University of California, Santa Cruz; Agaporomorphus Colberti, a diving beetle from Venezuela; and a NASA treadmill called the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (C.O.L.B.E.R.T.).
Colbert’s first book, I AM AMERICA (And So Can You!), spent 29 weeks on The New York Times Bestseller’s List in 2007; debuting and occupying the #1 spot for 13 weeks.
His second book AMERICA AGAIN: Re-Becoming The Greatness We Never Weren’t was released in October 2012 and spent 17 consecutive weeks on The New York Times Bestseller’s List. Colbert won a 2014 Grammy Award in the category of “Best Spoken Word Album” on behalf of the audiobook. In May 2012, Colbert also released a children’s book titled I AM A POLE (And So Can You!), which documents a pole’s quest for identity. Both books were released by Grand Central Publishing.
On the music front, “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!,” Colbert’s one-hour original musical holiday special with appearances and performances by some of America’s top musical talent, won a Grammy® for Best Comedy Album in 2010 and also received Emmy® nominations in three categories: Art Direction, Picture Editing and for Original Music And Lyrics.
In April 2011 Colbert starred as Harry in the New York Philharmonic presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” along with Jon Cryer, Neil Patrick Harris, Christina Hendricks, Patti LuPone and Martha Plimpton, among others.
Beginning in 1997, Colbert was the longest-tenured and most diverse correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” He helped the show win numerous Emmy® and Peabody Awards® as an on-air personality and writer for the news satire. He contributed to AMERICA (THE BOOK): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction (Warner Books) which immediately topped The New York Times Bestseller List for 15 consecutive weeks. He also co-authored the critically acclaimed book Wigfield (Hyperion) which Publisher’s Weekly called “uproariously funny, painfully sharp and unlike anything the genre of humorous fiction has seen before.”
Raised in Charleston, South Carolina, Colbert graduated from Northwestern University and quickly made a name for himself as a member of Chicago’s famed Second City improv troupe where he met Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello. The threesome moved to New York City where they created and starred in “Exit 57,” a half-hour sketch comedy series which ran for three seasons on Comedy Central. “Exit 57” received five CableACE nominations for Best Writing, Performing and Comedy Series.
Colbert reunited with Sedaris and Dinello to create Comedy Central’s first-ever live-action narrative series, the cult hit “Strangers with Candy.” Colbert’s other on-camera appearances include shows such as HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and NBC’s “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.” He was a cast member and writer on ABC’s “The Dana Carvey Show,” wrote for “Saturday Night Live” and was the voice of Ace on the “SNL” animated series “The Ambiguously Gay Duo.” He was also the voice of the President of the United States in Dreamworks animated film, “Monsters Vs. Aliens.”
Colbert, his wife Evelyn, and their three children reside in the New York metropolitan area.
Frank Rich joined New York in 2011 as writer-at-large, covering politics and culture. He is also a commentator on nymag.com, engaging in regular dialogues on the news of the week. Rich joined the magazine following a distinguished career at the New York Times, where he had been an op-ed columnist since 1994. He was previously the paper’s chief drama critic, from 1980 to 1993. His books include Ghost Light: A Memoir and The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth From 9/11 to Katrina. Since 2008 Rich has also been a creative consultant to HBO, where he is an executive producer of the Emmy-winning comedy Veep, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus.