Political satirist and funny man extraordinaire Stephen Colbert was suddenly serious during a recent interview when he talked about something that rocked him to his very coreÂ—way back in 1974. America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t is the title of his new book. It was during promo for the book that he shared his feelings about the events from that year.
According to a report from RadarOnline, the Colbert Report and Colbert Nation host talked about losing his dad and two of his older brothers in a tragic plane crash in North Carolina.
Eastern Airlines Flight 212 crashed in a cornfield in North Carolina on September 11, 1974. Seventy two people diedÂ—among them his father and brothers. There were ten survivors.
Colbert refers to the deaths as his “secret name.” That means the whole incident was something he kept buried way down deep inside of him, never talking about it and trying his best not to even think about it.
“That loss was my name… I liked the idea that you have a secret name. … And that’s a name that no one can ever really pronounce, you know, because it’s who you are. There’s a magic to your secret name,” he says.
That secret name raised its ugly horns during his freshman year in college.
“I was in a bad shape. I was just green… I was so sad about it,” he says.
That realization took its toll on Stephen’s physical health, too. He lost 50 pounds that year as he suffered from depression.
So how did the quick-witted funny man come to terms with his devastating losses? He credits his Catholic faith, especially one message he received from a priest.
“Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.”
He finds that joy today in the presence of his wife, Evelyn, and their children, Madeleine, Peter and John.
Did you have any idea that Stephen Colbert underwent such an enormous loss during his childhood? The youngest of eleven children, family and faith were the driving forces of his life. Losing three family members at once had to be practically unfathomable.
Wouldn’t you love to know when the enormous transformation from the boy who bore his “secret name” to the man who makes people laugh hysterically at his take on politics took place? The period in between should be the topic of Mr. Colbert’s next book.
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