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The Rise (and Further Rise) of Stephen Colbert

by Lisa Rogak

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-61610-6
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

A serious(ish) look at the popular host of The Colbert Report.

Arguably one of the sharpest satirists of his generation, Stephen Colbert is a walking dichotomy: a sorta-liberal whose fictional persona is super-conservative; a public loudmouth and a private family man; a seeming rabblerouser with an intensely religious upbringing. Most viewers are aware that the persona the comic/actor/pundit/author displays on his show and in his bestselling book I Am America (So Can You!) is an act, so this biography is worthwhile in that it gives us insight into the man behind the mouth. The prolific Rogak (Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King, 2009, etc.) has a healthy appreciation for her subject, and the majority of her sources have nothing but good things to say about Colbert both as a person and a performer; she paints him has the smartest guy in the room, a gentleman you'd want to meet for lunch every day. The author does a nice job of balancing the different parts of his life and work, moving briskly from his religious upbringing, to his stints at Second City and on The Daily Show, to his breakthrough on The Colbert Report. (Some more information about his cult show Strangers With Candy would have been welcome.) Logically enough, the majority of the book is devoted to his Comedy Central hit, and fans of the show will appreciate Rogak's choices in terms of the segments and interviews she focused on.

A solid summation of Colbert's work and life to this point.