For the purposes of political parody, comedian Stephen Colbert has created a character who hosts his own talk show. What makes it confusing is that the character is also called Stephen Colbert and shares a few biographical details with the real person. Thus, Stephen Colbert is both a character and a real person, but they are not the same.
Biographical overlap between the real person and the character
Stephen Colbert has adapted many true elements from his own life to create a fictional biography for his character. Thus, both the character and the real person were born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. Both the character and the real person were the youngest of 11 children.
Both the character and the real person share a love of fantasy and science fiction, with particularly high respect for “The Lord of the Rings.” Peter Jackson, the director of the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” movies, has mentioned that he has never met a “bigger Tolkien geek” in his life. In fact, the character Stephen Colbert was mock-knighted by Queen Noor of Jordan with the original Narsil from the movies, which he was given by Viggo Mortensen in 2007.
In other fantasy and science fiction overlap, the character Stephen Colbert has also become a continuing character in the Marvel universe. In an overlap between the Marvel universe and Colbert Nation, Captain America willed his shield to Stephen Colbert, who he said was the only man to possess the “red, white, and blue balls to carry the mantle.” Captain America’s shield is now part of the show set. Stephen Colbert has pledged to use the shield to fight for justice and impress girls.
Like the real person, the character Stephen Colbert is a practicing Roman Catholic. However, both the real person and the character developed their love of fantasy by playing Dungeons & Dragons when they were teens. This roleplaying game has not always been received well by churches, a fact which led to the fictional Stephen Colbert being sent to an “exorcism day camp located in Canton, Ohio” when his devout family discovered that the boy liked Dungeons & Dragons.
Biographical differences between the real person and the character
The fictional Stephen Colbert attended Dartmouth College, where he graduated in the top 47% of his class with a major in history. The real Stephen Colbert studied philosophy at Hampden-Sydney College. After 2 years, he transferred to Northwestern University, where he studied theater and performing arts and graduated with a B.A. in communications.
While in real life, Stephen Colbert describes himself as a Democrat, the character Stephen Colbert claims to be an independent. However, the character’s views are strongly conservative, to an extreme level.
While in character, Stephen Colbert has tried to be nominated for the presidential ticket for both the Republican and the Democratic Parties, but only in his home state of South Carolina. At the same time, the real person behind the character was prepared to eliminate himself from contention through scandal if the democratic process ever seemed to be taking him seriously.