The 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards are right around the corner and lucky for us, the hilarious fake-pundit and late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert is the one who'll be hosting the event. In honor of his upcoming gig on Sept. 17, 2017, Wonderwall.com is taking a look behind Stephen's conservative facade to learn all about this comedian, author, father and all around funny guy. Keep reading to learn more about him, including which big-budget film he made a surprising cameo in…
While we all know Stephen Colbert is hilarious, few know that a terrible childhood tragedy is what led the star towards a career in comedy. Born in Washington, D. C., on May 13, 1964, Stephen was the youngest of 11 children in a tight-knit Catholic family. When he was young, the Colberts relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, where Stephen spent the rest of his childhood. For the first decade of his life, he dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. However, after a devastating plane crash took the lives of his father and two closest-in-age brothers in 1974, Stephen found humor helped him cheer up his grieving mother. "I was there with my mom, she was there for me, and I sort of kept her going," Stephen told radio host Howard Stern in 2015. While the loss didn't immediately change his career path, he believes the experience "helped with being a performer or being a comedian."
Stephen Colbert may joke about many things, but one aspect of his life he takes very seriously is his Catholic faith. Because the star was raised in a devout Catholic home, he felt a strong connection to the church and remembers finding great comfort in his faith after losing his father and brothers in a plane crash. He's carried on his religious devotion to this day, raising his own children in much the same way he was brought up. His religious belief doesn't make him immune to poking fun at the church, however. Stephen admits that he's the first to joke about Catholics and the vast issues within the church. In 2015, he even appeared on "The Mindy Project" as a Catholic priest.
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In 2017, Stephen Colbert officially got our hopes up when he announced on the Russian late-night talk show "Evening Urgant" that he was considering a presidential run in 2020. While he was likely only kidding (and possibly drunk after three shots of vodka), Stephen figured it was important to first share his political aspirations with the country most often mentioned in American news reports: "I thought it would be better to cut out the middleman and just tell the Russians myself," he quipped. We think "President Colbert" has a nice ring to it!
Stephen Colbert graduated from Northwestern with a degree in acting in 1986. For a while, he dreamed of being a "serious actor" — he even completed Northwestern's rigorous three-year acting program in just two years. But he found himself pulled towards comedy, even when he tried to avoid it. Some of his earliest on-screen appearances include a commercial for FirsTier Bank and a recurring gig as an actual (though still funny) news correspondent on "Good Morning America" in 1997.
Although Stephen Colbert has never hosted the Primetime Emmys before, he has been a regular presenter and has even won nine awards over the years — most recently for outstanding writing in a comedy series in 2015 . This year, he earned six Emmy nominations, including another for comedy writing. If he wins, he'll join a very elite group of TV stars who have both hosted the Emmys and won an award on the same night. If Stephen wins more than one Emmy on Sept. 17, he'll be the first host in Emmy history to do so.
In June 2017, Stephen Colbert hosted the 71st Annual Tony Awards. His hosting portfolio also includes two years as the M.C. of the Kennedy Center Honors. He's a popular choice for the awards show stage because he knows how to get an audience laughing so hard it hurts. He's also willing to explore all his talents, including singing and dancing — which means we've got a fun night in store for us during the 69th Annual Primetime Emmys!
How many late-night talk show hosts can boast about having won two Grammys? Well, Stephen Colbert can! In 2010, he won a Grammy for best comedy album for his hilarious Christmas special "A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!" In 2014, he won another Grammy — this time for best spoken-word album for the audio version of his book "America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't." Move over Beyoncé.
Two of Stephen Colbert's first famous friends also happen to be partially responsible for his route to comedy. When Stephen joined The Second City comedy troupe in 1987, he wasn't sure comedy was right for him. Then he met and befriended Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello, two young comics who supported Stephen along his path — even when he grew a beard and tried to be a serious actor, a period during which Amy claims Stephen was "insufferable." He even studied and performed alongside another famous funnyman, the late Chris Farley. Their early collaborations led the trio to create the comedy sketch series "Exit 57" and "Strangers with Candy."
Another one of Stephen Colbert's famous friends is Steve Carell. The two met while performing with The Second City comedy troupe and developed a strong friendship that has grown over the years. In the early days, Stephen was actually Steve's understudy. Their partnership is forever memorialized in the animated sketch series "The Ambiguously Gay Duo" that first aired on the "Dana Carvey Show" in 1996 before moving to its permanent home on "Saturday Night Live." The animated short featured the voices of Stephen and Steve as Ace and Gary, superheroes who happen to be, well, ambiguously gay.
Most Stephen Colbert fans know that one of his first big breaks in show business was on "The Daily Show" as a senior correspondent in 1997. For those of you who are counting, that's two years before Jon Stewart took over the show in 1999 from former host Craig Kilborn. In 2005, Stephen landed his own show, "The Colbert Report," centered around the faux-conservative character he'd cultivated on "The Daily Show," on which he satirized the news and offered his own distinctly hilarious commentary.
Stephen Colbert claims the first time he met Jon Stewart was the day the network announced Jon was taking over "The Daily Show" from former host Craig Kilborn in 1999. "I heard that there was going to be a press conference that day announcing that Jon was going to be the host, and I said, 'Well, why wouldn't [we] cover something like this?' So I left the offices and went over to Comedy Central, and I stood up and said, 'Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show. In what way does this announcement affect my chances of becoming host of The Daily Show?' Jon Stewart turned to the president of the network and said, 'You told me he wasn't funny,'" Stephen told Entertainment Weekly of their first meeting. Since then, the duo have developed what can only be described as a bromance for the ages. For years, they played off each other's humor on "The Daily Show" and later, when Stephen struck out on his own on "The Colbert Report," it wasn't uncommon for them to appear on the other's show. One of their most emotional appearances together was during Jon's final episode of "The Daily Show," in which Stephen broke character and told his friend how much he appreciated all he'd done over the years.
Hollywood is full of broken relationships and turbulent love triangles, so when we learned how Stephen Colbert met his wife, Evelyn McGee, our faith in celebrity romance was renewed. Stephen shared on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" that many moons ago, before he became the celebrity we know today, he was home in South Carolina for a week, coming to grips with the end of a long-term relationship with another woman. To keep his mind off his romantic troubles, he went to a play with his mom and spotted someone he claimed was the "most beautiful" woman he'd ever seen. After sharing glances throughout the night, the pair eventually linked up and realized almost instantly that they'd actually grown up together and shared the same friends. Stephen confessed to the "Late Show" audience that he was completely overcome by her beauty and certain she was just being polite. Thinking Evelyn was waiting for a moment to exit the conversation, Stephen says he turned his back on her and waited an entire, painful minute to give her a chance to escape. When he turned around, she was still there, smiling at him. "And now," he told the audience proudly, "we're married." The couple wed in 1993 and look to be just as happy today as when they first met.
Stephen Colbert and his wife didn't waste much time before starting a family. Today, they are the proud parents of three children, who are now 21, 18 and 15. Stephen claims he is a "superior" father and has evidence to back him up: "I have a mug that actually verifies that I'm the world's best dad," he told BuzzFeed. "That's a mug. That's not me talking. You can't just buy those."
If one thing's certain, it's that Stephen Colbert is a man of many hats. In addition to being an award-winning television star, comedian, husband and father, Stephen can add "award-winning published author" to his list of roles. His first foray into writing was with his comic book "Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen." Since then, he's published three satirical humor books, including "I Am America (And So Can You!)" and "Stephen Colbert's Midnight Confessions," which arrived on bookshelves on Sept. 5, 2017.
In April 2014, CBS announced the news that long-standing late-night talk show host David Letterman would retire in May 2015 and that his successor would be none other than Stephen Colbert. As word spread, celebrities took to Twitter to voice their support. Rival late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon tweeted: "I'd like to welcome the great [Stephen Colbert] to network late night and also congratulate him on his new name: Jimmy Colbert." Of course, Stephen himself had to give an official statement: "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," he said. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth." Since his debut in September 2015, "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" has risen in ratings to the top spot, managing to break viewer records and keep his competition on their toes.
If you blinked, you may have missed Stephen Colbert's cameo in 2013's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." The comedian is a huge J. R. R. Tolkien fan, having fallen in love with his books, including "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" series, as a child. In fact, Stephen's love for all things Tolkien is so deep that Oscar-winning "LOTR" and "The Hobbit" director Peter Jackson called him one of the biggest "LOTR" geeks he's ever met! Stephen's proven his love for the series time and time again by hosting trivia segments on his show and by debating with celebrity guests about the books. It was a dream come true, then, when Peter gave Stephen and his family a green light to appear as spies in Lake-town in the second installment in the "Hobbit" trilogy.