Stephen Colbert revealed that his comedy comes from the darkest places in his life.
In a recent interview with GQ, Colbert opened up about the death of his father and two brothers in a plane crash when he was only 10 years old.
His take will definitely surprise you in its wisdom.
Quoting Second City director Jeff Michalski, Colbert explained, “You’ve got to learn to love the bomb.” To which he adds, “Boy, did I have a bomb when I was 10.”
Colbert was the youngest of 10 kids. When his father and brothers died, most of his other siblings were grown and out of the house, so it was just him and his mother at home.
The grief from the deaths of his family members made Colbert, self-admittedly, a little rebellious. He revealed that he barely graduated from high school.
It wasn’t until his college years that he learned to use his family tragedy as a source of inspiration.
“I learned to love it,” Colbert explained. “So that’s why. Maybe, I don’t know. 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.”
He credits his mother with that strength. “By her example, I am not bitter. By her example. She was not. Broken, yes. Bitter, no… It was a very healthy reciprocal acceptance of suffering. Which does not mean to be defeated by suffering. Acceptance is not defeat. Acceptance is just awareness.”
Quoting J.R.R. Tolkien, an emotional Colbert told GQ, “‘What punishments of Gods are not gifts?'” He continued, “So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn’t mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”
We knew Colbert was intelligent. We knew he had a way with words and a sharp wit that spoke to a deeper understanding of the world.
But with this interview, Colbert proves that he might just be one of the wisest voices in the modern world.
You can read the whole interview over on GQ‘s website. We recommend you don’t miss out on this one.