Celebrity Parents: Stephen Colbert

For humorist and father of three Stephen Colbert, laughs are the key to his success on and off the set.


Sarma Ozols

On Emmy-winning news satire The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert plays a smug senior analyst of anything and everything -- senior UN analyst, senior media analyst, senior death analyst. Back at home in New York City with his three kids, Madeline, 8, Peter, 5, and John, 2, Colbert explains that he and his wife, Evelyn McGee, an at-home mom, rely just as much on laughs in their parenting.

Do your kids think you're funny?

They think I'm silly. I do silly things. I fall down and run into things. I talk to inanimate objects. I'll hold a pickup stick to my ear and say, "What? What's that? I can't hear you."

How do you foster a sense of humor in your children?

By valuing it. For a solid year, Madeline and I made up jokes on the spot before she went to bed. One of hers was "What did the cow say?" What? "Ruff." Why? "He had a dog in his mouth."

How does working in comedy help you be a dad?

It helps defuse sad or tense situations. It's hard to laugh and cry at the same time. If my son scrapes his knee, I'll say, "You seem to have scraped your ear very badly."

Do your kids understand your job?

They understand that I make people laugh and that I ask silly questions. But children don't get irony or sarcasm. It just sounds mean to them.

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