LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Stephen Colbert may be best known as the the conservative pundit from “The Colbert Report,” a character he played for 10 seasons on Comedy Central. Now, Colbert is ready to be himself and ready to take over “The Late Show,” and he recently sat down for an interview with CBS2’s Pat Harvey.
Harvey: “So, what do you think about going network from basic cable?”
Colbert: “I really enjoyed working for Comedy Central. They were very nice. But for many years, there was nothing on except me, John and ‘South Park.'”
Harvey: “Is he going to make an appearance?”
Colbert: “My old character? Yeah, if we can book him. He is … I don’t know if we can afford him.”
Harvey: “Is it a little more freeing — Or not? — to be yourself, as opposed to playing this character that shows up every now and again?”
Colbert: “The most amazing thing is that I am not tired at the end of the interview because I am just myself. I used to have to run everything through an occipital processor back here to make sure I was translating everything into the character’s voice to the person that I was talking to.”
Off the air since December, Colbert is getting back to work doing what he does best: making people laugh. In June, he launched “The Late Show” YouTube channel, with his series of videos going viral with millions of views.
Colbert: “We took some time off, took about four or five months off from the show, from the old show, and sort of didn’t work. Though it’s really hard not to because we like what we do. And then when we got back together, we were brought material on a certain day. Like if Donald Trump does something, you want to do the joke right away. I don’t want to have to wait. People kept saying ‘Are you anxious about doing the show? I am anxious about not doing the show. I want to go do it.”
Growing up in South Carolina, Colbert was the youngest of 11 children, quickly learning how to find his voice.
Colbert: “You had to be loud. You had to grab that brass ring to get attention. But I also always had an audience because my brothers and sisters were very nice to me. My mom made them listen to my stories. So, I eventually learned how to tell one. You learn to eat very fast if you have 11 brothers and sisters. You can never feel like things are going to go right, you know? Chaos is normal, which is great for doing a late night show because you are always surfing the chaos doing 200 shows a year.”
He refined his voice and found a calling to comedy while attending Northwestern University, where he discovered improv, laying the foundation for who he is today.
Colbert: “Creating a new show of doing an hour of improvisation every night is great training for being a talk show host because any conversation you have with someone is an improvisation. It goes best when you don’t have a plan but you just react to what the other person is doing.”
Colbert also manages to stay grounded thanks to his Catholic faith. Religion played a big role in the Colbert house, thanks to his parents.
Harvey: “How does your faith sustain you?”
Colbert: “I think of my faith as a gift that my father and my mother and everybody before them gave me. When I look at my children, I think I want to give them the best. And I have the same faith my ancestors loved me in the same way. So, I accept it as a gift to be investigated and to be used, not to be unquestioned. … This serves me and makes certain aspects of my life illuminated in a beautiful way.”
He has also been inspiring a generation to think. His platform is commencement speeches, talking humor while getting a very important message across.
Colbert: “I learned that from improvisation, that when you are improvising, the most important person on stage is the other person. … Also, very important is that you get a big TV show with your name in lights at the top. That is how you serve other people best. You get a big TV show, you are super famous, everybody shut up while I am talking.”