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  #1  
Old 09-25-2005, 11:40 PM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
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Stephen Colbert's childhood

In this week's New York Times Magazine there's an interview with Stephen Colbert. Towards the bottom it mentions

Quote:
Q: Then how did you ever develop a sense of humor?

A: Freud claimed that people don't develop a sense of humor until their sense of childhood happiness has vanished. I think comedians are in some way damaged.

Q: How are you damaged?

Q:[Long pause.] I lost several members of my family when I was a child. My father and two of my brothers, the next two up from me. I was 10 years old, and the three of them died in an airplane crash. It was pretty bad.
Largely because of his work, I really can't tell whether or not he's making this up. Did this really happen, or is he (very darkly) joking?
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  #2  
Old 09-25-2005, 11:48 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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He didn't tell me that when I interviewed him, but he also said nothing that contradicts that statement. Based on that, the context, and this...
Quote:
Q:I'm so sorry. I had no idea.
A: I don't generally talk about it.
I don't think he's kidding at all.
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  #3  
Old 09-25-2005, 11:51 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Based on how it reads, he comes off as quite sober during the interview. I don't think he was kidding.
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  #4  
Old 09-26-2005, 11:29 AM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marley23
He didn't tell me that when I interviewed him, but he also said nothing that contradicts that statement. Based on that, the context, and this...

I don't think he's kidding at all.
Yeah, that does sound like it bolsters the "he's serious" case, but then again I can easily see that being what he'd say if this were a bit on the show. He's just so damned deadpan that I can't tell when he's really being serious.
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  #5  
Old 09-26-2005, 11:47 AM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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It probably wouldn't be that hard to check if three people named Colbert were killed in a plane crash about 25-30 years ago, would it?
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  #6  
Old 09-26-2005, 12:14 PM
Shirley Ujest Shirley Ujest is offline
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Where is Stephen Colbert from, originally?
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  #7  
Old 09-26-2005, 01:20 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
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Wiki sez it's true.
Quote:
Stephen Colbert ... born on May 13, 1964 in Charleston, SC...Colbert was raised in a Catholic family. At an early age, his father, who was a doctor, and two of his older brothers died in a plane crash.
Probably have to go to Nexis to find Charleston, SC news stories from the late Sixties, though.
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  #8  
Old 09-26-2005, 02:44 PM
SmackFu SmackFu is offline
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That tidbit was only added to the Wikipedia yesterday, so it was likely sourced from the OP's article.
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  #9  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:11 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves
Wiki sez it's true.Probably have to go to Nexis to find Charleston, SC news stories from the late Sixties, though.
It's not on Wiki now.
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  #10  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:20 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirley Ujest
Where is Stephen Colbert from, originally?
Despite what Wikipedia says, he was actually born in DC and grew up in Charleston.
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  #11  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:35 PM
jimmmy jimmmy is offline
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In this Interview - he seems to indicate "parents" who were forces beyond 10 years old

-------------------------------------------------
IGNFF: So, would you say that your parents pushed you in any one direction, or they were just hoping that you would find a direction?

COLBERT: No, they were just hoping that I would find a direction. Just very supportive of what I eventually decided to try to do. But would have been perfectly happy if I had been lawyer or been a potter.

IGNFF: Just something productive?

COLBERT: Just something that could pay the rent.
----------------------------------
There is a 40 minute Interview (audio) with him on NPR's Fresh Air that might shed some light ...

I agree the Times seems serious tho.
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  #12  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:36 PM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
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ShibbOleth suggested to check if such an accident could have occurred, and that part's easy. The NTSB has an online databse which lists every aviation accident since 1962. Since Colbert says this happened when he was 10, and we know his birthdate, we can pull up a list of fatal air accidents between his 10th and 11th birthday.

My search turned up 745 during the period in question, 178 of which had at least 3 fatalaties (the article quotes Colbert as saying his father and two siblings were killed). Of those, one of departed from Charleston, SC, which previous posters have said is where he grew up.

An Eastern Airlines flight from Charleston, SC to Charlotte, NC crashed during final approach on 9/11/1974, with 72 fatalities. Here's a link to the NTSB summary report. Here's a link to the full report, a 36-page PDF.
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  #13  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:38 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathochist
Yeah, that does sound like it bolsters the "he's serious" case, but then again I can easily see that being what he'd say if this were a bit on the show. He's just so damned deadpan that I can't tell when he's really being serious.
I know what you mean. But it's just not funny, and if he was kidding, I don't think he'd miss like that. If I was making a joke like that, after the interviewer said "I'm sorry," I'd have made another joke ("it's okay, I didn't like them" or "it was fine, more Christmas presents for me")- that'd be the only way to make that funny.

As I remember it, Stephen's father was a University Dean. (I forget at which university, if he told me.) I Googled a bit and found that there is a James W. Colbert Distinguished Lecture Series connected to the Medical University of South Carolina. One of the hits contained the comment "The lecture is part of the James W. Colbert Jr. Distinguished University Lecture series honoring the late Dr. Colbert who served as vice president for academic affairs at the Medical University prior to his death in 1974."

Stephen was 10 in 1974. I think we can conclude this is true.
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  #14  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:52 PM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
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Ok. Marley's info about his father was the final picee of the puzzle. A Proquest search turns up an obituary for James Colbert in the Washington Post on 9/15/1974. It reads:

Quote:
Dr. James Colbert, Jr, 53, vice president for academic affairs at the Medical University of South Carolina... died with two of his sons Wednesday in the Eastern Airlines jet crash near Charlotte, NC. Dr. Colbert, who lived in Charleston, was en route to Connecticut to enroll his sons Peter, 15, and Paul, 18, in the Canterbury Preparatory School.
...<snip three paragraphs of biography>...
Dr. Colbert is survived by his wofe, Lorna, and nine children.
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  #15  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:54 PM
SmackFu SmackFu is offline
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Nice research. 11 kids? Wow.
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  #16  
Old 09-26-2005, 06:05 PM
CynicalGabe CynicalGabe is offline
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The Colbert Report.

Its French, Bitch!
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  #17  
Old 09-26-2005, 08:40 PM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anson2995
Ok. Marley's info about his father was the final picee of the puzzle. A Proquest search turns up an obituary for James Colbert in the Washington Post on 9/15/1974. It reads:
Yeah, that's too much lining up to not be true, unless Colbert's basically been faking his bios to set up this joke for use.
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  #18  
Old 09-26-2005, 11:10 PM
Hail Ants Hail Ants is offline
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Here's more info from planecrashinfo.com. Seems it was totally due to flight crew error.
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  #19  
Old 09-26-2005, 11:16 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Web site
The aircraft flew too low and struck trees 3.3 miles short of the runway during an approach in fog. Flightcrew's lack of altitude awareness at critical points during the approach due to poor cockpit discipline in that the crew did not follow prescribed procedures. The crewmembers were preoccupied with conversations having nothing to do with the operating the aircraft while conducting an instrument approach. The aircraft was 50 knots too fast and 500 feet below the final approach fix.
That's beyond awful.
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  #20  
Old 09-27-2005, 02:23 AM
CynicalGabe CynicalGabe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Web Site
The crewmembers were preoccupied with conversations having nothing to do with the operating the aircraft while conducting an instrument approach.
Would it be in bad taste for me to suggest that the crew of that plane sound like they would make excellent Dopers?
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  #21  
Old 09-27-2005, 09:48 AM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marley23
That's beyond awful.
I find it very darkly humorous that it happened on September 11.

/me runs from the stoning
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  #22  
Old 09-27-2005, 10:08 AM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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Pretty awful stuff. I can't imagine what kind of influence losing all of your older male role models would have on a ten year old.
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  #23  
Old 09-27-2005, 12:50 PM
Madd Maxx Madd Maxx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CynicalGabe
Would it be in bad taste for me to suggest that the crew of that plane sound like they would make excellent Dopers?
Doper Pilot: So did you read that thread in MPSIMS about the resturant restrooms?
Doper Co-pilot: Yeah, remind you of any place we know?
Together: The First Class lounge at BWI!
Doper Co-pilot: Totally, and you know it's only a matter or time before lieu pops in and posts something disturbingly funny.
Doper Pilot: Roger that. [Talking into radio] Tower, we are making our final approach and we've brought pie, over.
Doper Co-pilot: Hey, where'd those trees come from?
::end transmission::

I'm so going to hell, but at least I'll know some people there.
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  #24  
Old 09-27-2005, 02:19 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathochist
I find it very darkly humorous that it happened on September 11.
I noticed that, but I don't see the humor.
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  #25  
Old 09-28-2005, 10:07 AM
Mathochist Mathochist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShibbOleth
Pretty awful stuff. I can't imagine what kind of influence losing all of your older male role models would have on a ten year old.
Obviously you become a fake news anchor.

shudder
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  #26  
Old 09-28-2005, 10:35 AM
Crandolph Crandolph is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathochist
I find it very darkly humorous that it happened on September 11.
At the time that was the 1 year anniversary of the military coup in Chile which put Pinochet in power.

Not generally a good day to get out of bed, that Sept. 11...
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  #27  
Old 01-16-2006, 05:40 PM
CynicalGabe CynicalGabe is offline
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New info: This thread is cited as a source for the very subject asked about in the OP on Colbert's wiki page
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  #28  
Old 01-16-2006, 06:41 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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Ahead of the New York Times, even.
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