How His Faith Guided His Career
Stephen Colbert’s unique brand of satire has made him one of the most iconic comedians in the 21st century. But the issue of irony is that sometimes there is a conflation of the character and the individual. People do not get that it is a joke. So few people seem to know how vital Stephen Colbert’s Catholicism is to him.
He has told interviewers that religion was essential to him dealing with family tragedy at a young age. When his father and two brothers died in a plane crash, his mother helped explain to eight-year-old Stephen the idea of sacrifice and Jesus to help him deal with the horrible trauma.
Even when playing his character on The Colbert Report, acting as a parody of Fox News commentators like Sean Hannity, he would unapologetically defend his faith. When intellectuals promoting books would ridicule faith, he would argue about the existence of Hell, the existence of Satan, and the importance of faith as a way of making sense of the world. This is encapsulated in his discussion of Hell with his son, “And imagine if you knew that was a possibility, and then that was taken from you, and you knew that you would never be loved. Well, that’s hell—to be alone, and know what you’ve lost.”
When Stephen Colbert left The Colbert Report and took over as host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert he retired the character and audiences got to see more of who the comedian was. He has discussed the importance of his faith recently with Oprah, stating his favorite Bible verse, Matthew 6:27: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” He has told the media this was a quote he turned to as a child and has always stuck with him as a model of living.
Stephen Colbert has joked that Jesus must have a sense of humor or else “I am in big trouble.” He believes his faith does not interfere with his comedy, rather it enhances it by giving him empathy and emphasizes the teaching of Jesus to fight for the plight of individuals who are subjected to abuse.