How do you summarize the life of someone as awesome as Stephen Colbert? I don't know, but it sure is my privilege to try!
Stephen T. Colbert (the "T" stands for "Truth"…actually it's Tyrone) grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, which is the cultural center of the South. Some people say Savannah, Georgia is, but does Savannah have the Roper Hospital School of Practical Nursing? I don't think so!
He is the last of 11 kids, and as the youngest sibling in my family, I can totally understand the kind of crap he must've had to put up with. That's probably why he went into journalism, so he could stick it to the man!!!
Stephen graduated in the top 47 percent of his class at Dartmouth, where he majored in history and performed with the all-male a cappella group The Sing Dynasty. (Another famous Sing Dynasty alum? Actor Stacy Keach!)
After college, Stephen took a year off to travel around the world. He went everywhere: England, Ireland, Scotland…even Wales. That's when he developed a love of journalism because he kept a journal of his travels. What I wouldn't give to read Stephen's thoughts!
When Stephen returned to the States in 1987, he decided he had a lifelong passion for news, so he took a job as a fact checker at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He wowed his editor when he single-handedly exposed the largest mail-fraud scam in Virginia state history. Stephen still doesn't trust the U.S. Postal Service to this day. (Snail mail is for suckers, anyway!)
Thanks to his new acclaim as a man of the people, Stephen was quickly snapped up by Richmond's WVBX-TV news, where he spent three years as a field reporter. He was voted "Sexiest Local Newscaster of 1989" by Virginia Living magazine and raised almost $600 at a charity bachelor auction. Best of all, the woman who cast the winning bid is now Mrs. Stephen Colbert! (Lucky lady!)
Before long, Stephen was being courted by another type of suitor: mid-market television stations. He finally settled on Raleigh, North Carolina's WKJC Channel 5 News, where he worked the state capital beat for seven years. In that time, North Carolina tourism numbers rose by 9 percent. Way to go, Stephen!
In 1998, beloved WKJC anchor Tyler Peterson died suddenly, and of course, the station looked to Stephen to fill the void. Though Stephen wanted to meet the station halfway, WKJC management refused to negotiate a reasonable salary for such a rising star, so Stephen was forced to uproot his family and move back to Charleston.
But, with every cloud comes a silver lining-and this silver lining was pure gold. Stephen was tapped by Jon Stewart to join the investigative team at The Daily Show. Finally, New York City would get a TV newsman who wasn't afraid to take a bite out of the Big Apple.
(Believe it or not, I met Stephen for the first time at a Daily Show taping. After waiting in line for tickets, my blood sugar had dipped pretty low, so a security guard took me to the Daily Show commissary. I reached for a butterscotch pudding, and guess who went for the same one? I assume you said Stephen, AND YOU ARE RIGHT!!! He got to keep the pudding, but I got something more precious-I met Stephen Colbert!)
In his many years as a Daily Show correspondent, Stephen has done more than most people do in their whole lives! But now he's hosting his own show! Is there nothing Stephen can't do? No, there is nothing!
He's won four Emmys, two Peabodys, two Television Critics Association nods, and most importantly, a 2003 Teen Choice Award nomination (we're the voters of the future!).
Free to report things the way he sees them, Stephen will now be able to deliver his own opinion on the news.
In addition to his televised work, Stephen has penned three best-selling books. These include Don't Buy This Book if You Don't Have the Balls; Silent Night: Reassessing the Sociological Imprint of the Tiananmen Square Massacre; and Don't Buy This Book if You Don't Have the Balls - for Kids. Once we get the Eagle's Nest official merchandise store running again, autographed copies will be available for a modest mark-up.
I'm proud of what Stephen has accomplished; it's like the pride a son feels for his father. Of course, Stephen is nothing like my real dad, who's a total fascist.