Colbert talks about childhood, new “Late Show” job

(Photo Provided/WBTW)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WBTW) — Emmy and Peabody Award winning comedian Stephen Colbert describes where he grew up as “down a dirt road on James Island” near Charleston in the 1960’s and 70’s.

Colbert’s father worked at M.U.S.C. in Charleston, and young Stephen attended schools both public and private in the area.

“I never in a million years thought I would end up doing the late night talk show in New York,” said Colbert in an interview  in Washington, D.C. in August. “Now, here I am. In New York. On Broadway. Taking over for David Letterman.”

Not long after Letterman announced his retirement, CBS announced it would tap Colbert, host of the successful and award-winning ‘Colbert Report’ on Comedy Central, to take over for the legendary late night host.

Late Show with Stephen Colbert will be produced at the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York, just as Letterman’s show was for 22 years.

It premieres Tuesday, September 8.

“If you’re not nervous before you do any big job, you’re not going to do your best,” said Colbert about taking on the new show. “So, yeah, I’m a little nervous. But I’m happy about being nervous.”

He will be hosting without being in the character he performed for so many years on Comedy Central, an ultra-conservative blowhard whom Colbert said “was fighting political forces.”

“I’m still fighting for America,” he said of his new show. “But with comedy.”

Colbert said he wanted to both keep himself and his writers sharp during the lay-off between shows and to remind his fans that he’s still there, still being funny.

“Comedy, in theory, is no fun,” he said. “Comedy, really doing it, That’s what it’s about. You don’t want to think about comedy. That’s like theology versus religion. We want to get in the church!”

Colbert said he and his family still find time to come back to his home state whenever possible.

“I married a girl from (the Lowcountry), so we don’t have to debate where to go when we have free time,” said Colbert. “We desperately try to get our children to think they’re from South Carolina. They like it here, but they think of themselves from being up north, and it breaks our heart.”

South Carolina, and educators in the state, are still very much in Colbert’s heart. At the close of his Report, parts of the set from the studio were auctioned off, and proceeds helped him and others fund $800,000 in South Carolina projects on the educator crowd-funding site DonorsChoose.

“I went back to my elementary school,” he said. “Some of the teachers came up to me and said: ‘You funded, through DonorsChoose, fully funded my project, my art class, my English class.’ I was thrilled. I thought: ‘Oh, great. I made a difference for the people in that little field on James Island underneath the big oak trees around it.’”

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