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Stephen Colbert Biography

Stephen Colbert was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, the youngest of 11 children. In 1974, when he was 10, Colbert experienced what was likely the defining event of his childhood when his father and two of his brothers were killed in a plane crash. Colbert found a way to express himself through acting, which he did in several school plays at Charleston's Episcopal Porter-Gaud School. He later enrolled at Hampden-Sydney College of Virginia with the intention of becoming a philosophy major, but it wasn’t long before he reconsidered and transferred to Northwestern University, enrolling as a theater major.

After graduating from Northwestern in 1986, Colbert moved to Chicago and took a job in the offices of the Second City comedy troupe. Two years later, after taking improv classes there, he was asked to join the traveling group. He accepted the offer and spent the next two years on the road. At Second City, he met comedians Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello, and together they created and starred in two TV series: the sketch show "Exit 57" (1995–1996) and the spoof of after-school specials "Strangers with Candy" (1999–2000). In 1997, just before "Strangers" got picked up by Comedy Central, Colbert began appearing in episodes of "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart as a conservative correspondent, in the guise of a humorless but hilarious persona he had perfected.

In the fall of 2005, "The Colbert Report" began airing on Comedy Central, featuring Colbert as a starchy, blustery right-wing host — a parody of pundits who dominated the talk show airwaves. The show was instantly one of Comedy Central’s highest-rated shows, bringing in over a million viewers per episode in its first week. Six months after "The Colbert Report" debuted Colbert appeared as the featured speaker at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. With President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush just a few feet away, Colbert proceeded to give an off-color tirade that left the audience silent and had the critics divided—some praised him and others said he had crossed the line into disrespect. The controversy only ignited his popularity, though, and "The Colbert Report" has been a Comedy Central powerhouse, winning several Emmys, including 2013 and 2014 awards for Outstanding Variety Series. Offscreen, Colbert published "I Am America (and So Can You!)" in 2007 and contributed to 2004’s "America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction."

On December 18, 2014, Colbert appeared in his final episode of "The Colbert Report." His featured guest for the program was his friend "Grimmy," also known as the grim reaper. In April 2014, after David Letterman announced his plans to retire in 2015, Colbert was selected to replace him. In 2018, Colbert opened up to Rolling Stone about his battles with anxiety. He said he used to take medication, until realizing during his time with Second City that the symptoms went away while he was performing.

All American Speakers Bureau is a full-service talent booking agency providing information on booking Stephen Colbert for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on Stephen Colbert speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next live or virtual event.

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Please Note: All American Speakers Bureau is a full-service talent booking agency providing information on booking Stephen Colbert for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on Stephen Colbert speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next live or virtual event.

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