A funny and personal portrait of the comedian who became the headline-making, ground-breaking star of The Colbert Report.
"My name is Stephen Colbert, but I actually play someone on television named Stephen Colbert, who looks like me and talks like me, but who says things with a straight face [that] he doesn't mean."—Stephen Colbert
No other comedian can generate headlines today the way Stephen Colbert can. With his appearance at a Congressional hearing, his rally in Washington, D.C., his bestselling book, his creation of the now-accepted word truthiness, and of course his popular TV show, nearly everyone (except the poor Congressional fools who agree to be interviewed on his show) has heard of him.
Yet all these things are part of a character also named Stephen Colbert. Who is he really? In And Nothing But the Truthiness, biographer Lisa Rogak examines the man behind the character. She reveals the roots of his humor, growing up as the youngest of eleven siblings, and the tragedy that forever altered the family. She charts his early years earning his chops first as a serious acting student and later as a budding impov comic, especially his close connection with Amy Sedaris, which led to the cult TV show Strangers with Candy. And Rogak offers a look inside how The Daily Show works, and the exclusive bond that Colbert and Jon Stewart formed that would lead to Colbert's own rise to celebrity.
A behind-the-scenes look into the world of one of the biggest comedians in America, And Nothing But the Truthiness is a terrific read for any resident of Colbert Nation.
Rogak (who's written bios of Shel Silverstein and Stephen King, among many others), traces the trajectory of political satirist Stephen Colbert. She takes her task seriously, having pored through the archives of the Medical University of South Carolina, where Colbert's father was the vice president for academic affairs. Colbert had an "idyllic childhood," growing up in a large, close-knit family, but in 1974, when he was 10, his father and two of his older brothers were killed in a plane crash: "Losing a role model so young, his father's godlike image was trapped in amber.' " After attending Northwestern as a theater major, he toured with Second City, developed sketch comedy shows for Comedy Central, and then joined The Daily Show, where he created the news correspondent character he described as "a Bill O'Reilly like commentator, a very well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot." When The Colbert Report was launched in 2005, the entire premise was based on that character, and enthusiastic fans will delight in Rogak's lengthy, detailed behind-the-scenes coverage of both the show and Colbert's controversial keynote speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Dinner. The 40 pages of bibliographic notes indicate her extensive research for this engaging, entertaining biography, which succeeds in capturing Colbert's anarchic, iconoclastic spirit.