In a surprisingly candid interview, the new Late Show host discussed the role his faith plays in his comedy, Charlie Hebdo, and what he’d ask Pope Francis.
Just when you thought you knew Stephen Colbert, the newly appointed king of late-night comedy is about to offer a surprising look into his very soul. Shortly before he took over the reins for David Letterman on CBS’s The Late Show, The Colbeard sat down with Father Thomas Rosica, media attaché to the Holy See Press Office and CEO of Salt and Light Television based in Toronto, Canada, and poured his heart out about his job, his devout faith, and Pope Francis.
The extensive exclusive interview, which is at times hysterically funny and profoundly serious, airs in full on Rosica’s interview program Witness on September 13. The Daily Beast got a sneak preview.
Rosica told The Daily Beast that Colbert’s interview shows that a modern Catholic is someone who is fundamentally with joy, with truth, and with a sense of history. “When we church people talk about Hollywood and the media, we often talk in disparaging terms,” he says. “But there are some outstanding people who are strong in faith. It gives us pause that we often write off people because of their fame.” In the interview, Colbert does poke fun at the church, invoking his favorite saints “Arugula” and “Grappa,” but Rosica says that’s OK. “If we love something we can make fun of it,” he says. “We need to see the divine sense of humor in some things.”
During the 45-minute interview, a white-bearded Colbert opened up about the difficulty performing, especially in character. “That sense of connection between the performer and the audience is the entire intention,” he said. “What does anybody want? Not to be alone, and I think when a performer gets onstage and says the things that are in his mind, in his own particular way, [it is] to make a connection with an audience so he doesn’t feel so alone.”
Colbert told Rosica that he hopes the audience feels the same way. “That’s got to be the goal, that connection has got to be the goal, and the making somebody laugh has got to be the goal,” he said. “You can’t think that your satire is going to change things.”
When Rosica asked him about making fun of the church, Colbert said he wouldn’t stop just because he has a bigger platform. “I mean I’ll still make jokes about the church, I’ll make jokes about anything… as long as you’re not being malicious, I don’t think you can leave anything off the table,” Colbert told Rosica, but he would stop short of making jokes about the sacraments. “It wouldn’t feel right for me, it wouldn’t feel good for me, it wouldn’t be obeying my own conscience, I suppose, to make jokes about the sacraments, or specifically the Eucharist… a nacho cheese Eucharist joke… not. I mean, the church is an important part of my life, I would be crazy if I didn’t make jokes about it.”
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SOURCE: The Daily Beast
Barbie Latza Nadeau