Stephen Colbert is one of the funniest and smartest comics/entertainers around. He was always engaging, thought-provoking, and hilarious playing his satirical conservative pundit on The Colbert Report. And he promises to carry that same brilliance into his new role in network late night in a couple weeks.
Last week GQ published a fascinating profile on Colbert titled “The Late, Great Stephen Colbert” which included many intriguing and thoughtful moments. Perhaps the high point (or, if you prefer, deepest point) is found in Colbert’s reflection on the tragic death of his father and brother when he was a boy. As he puts it, in coming to terms with that loss, “I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”
The interviewer, Joel Lovell, then observes:
“I asked him if he could help me understand that better, and he described a letter from Tolkien in response to a priest who had questioned whether Tolkien’s mythos was sufficiently doctrinaire, since it treated death not as a punishment for the sin of the fall but as a gift. “Tolkien says, in a letter back: ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” Colbert knocked his knuckles on the table. “ ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” he said again. His eyes were filled with tears. “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.”