Colbert on Loss, Suffering

Ever since Stephen Colbert put his character on “The Colbert Report” to rest, many have wondered what kind of person he’ll be as the new host of “The Late Show.” In a recent interview with GQ, he gives the world a sneak peek and reveals important life lessons that we can all carry with us in our lives.

One of those lessons is practicing gratitude in the face of pain and tragedy. Lovell asks Colbert about the great losses he’s suffered — his father and two brothers dying in a plane crash — and how he arrived at where he is today, “genuinely grounded and joyful.” Colbert’s response:

“I’m very grateful to be alive, even though I know a lot of dead people. And so that act, that impulse to be grateful, wants an object. That object I call God. Now, that could be many things. I was raised in a Catholic tradition. I’ll start there. That’s my context for my existence, is that I am here to know God, love God, serve God, that we might be happy with each other in this world and with Him in the next — the catechism. That makes a lot of sense to me”

Colbert also talks about the acceptance of suffering and its inherent relation to happiness. Colbert firmly states that acceptance is not defeat, it is awareness, saying, “That might be why you don’t see me as someone angry and working out my demons onstage. It’s that I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”

Share this article with young adults and discuss it with them:

  • What did you think of the article? Did anything surprise you?

  • In what ways were you challenged by Colbert’s explanation of the nature of suffering? How do you view suffering in your own life?

  • What losses have you experienced in life that you carry with you? What has changed because of that loss?

  • What expectations do you have for Colbert as host of “The Late Show”? What are you looking forward to?