50 Fun Facts About Stephen Colbert

Today is Stephen Colbert's 50th birthday and in celebration, we wanted to share 50 of our favorite little-known and fun facts about the late-night host. Most of us probably know "Stephen Colbert" better than we know the actual Stephen Colbert — the South Carolina native has had a long and eclectic career in comedy and he continues to evolve his brand and voice. Colbert has also used his cheeky charm over the years to raise awareness for various charities, and he's done a brilliant job creating his satirical persona. It won't take long for Late Show viewers to warm up to the real Stephen Colbert. The real guy is pretty charming.

Recently, Colbert has been making major headlines with the announcement that he will be taking over for David Letterman; the news followed in the wake of the #CancelColbert controversy when a seemingly racist joke was tweeted out of context via the show's account. The whole matter was addressed by Colbert in a smart and hilarious way and the whole thing has pretty much dissolved. Since then, he's continued to kill it every night on The Colbert Report, making his inevitable exit from the series all the more bittersweet.

So in honor of his half-century mark, here are 50 little-known Colbert facts to celebrate the improviser-turned writer-turned Daily Show correspondent-turned "Stephen Colbert"-turned Late Show host.

  1. The Colbert Report finally won the 2013 Emmy for Best Variety Show, ending The Daily Show's 10-year reign.
  2. He's a total fanboy for Feist:[Embed]
  3. He's an alumni of the famed Chicago improv and sketch theater The Second City, where he also met his comedy partners Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello.
  4. He started working there doing admin and odd jobs because he found out you could take classes for free if you were an employee.
  5. The three went on to create a sketch show for Comedy Central called Exit 57 in 1995 and then Strangers with Candy in 1999.<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/114/ba4cf150-bce0-0131-a6cd-1681024e09d0.gif?w=320"/>
  6. Also while at the Second City, Colbert was an understudy for Steve Carell.
  7. His middle name is Tyrone!
  8. He's a bigger Tolkien nerd than Peter Jackson:[Embed]
  9. Jackson was so impressed by Colbert's fandom that he put Colbert in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/114/ac0bf4e0-bce1-0131-5409-2ee0fde8f74a.png?w=320"/>
  10. He was a writer for the short-lived sketch series The Dana Carvey Show along with Steve Carell and Louis C.K.
  11. He and Carell also voiced The Ambiguously Gay Duo.<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/114/e6c88bc0-bce2-0131-6034-368dfe5d2e2a.gif?w=320"/>
  12. And they did a live-action version in 2011 with Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, and Jimmy Fallon.
  13. He is the youngest of 11 children.
  14. Smarts run in his family. Colbert's father James William Colbert, Jr., was a doctor and the Dean of the medical school at Yale University, Saint Louis University, and the Medical University of South Carolina where he was eventually the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  15. Sadly, his father and two of his brothers, Peter and Paul, were killed in an airplane crash in 1974.
  16. Colbert coped with the grief by losing himself in books.
  17. He is also a devout family-man. His tribute to his late mother is one of the finest moments on The Colbert Report.[Embed]
  18. He also credits his mother for his choice to pursue acting.
  19. Growing up in South Carolina, he noticed Southerners were often depicted as less-intelligent so he used to imitate the voices of American news anchors to avoid the stereotype.
  20. Colbert is Catholic and goes to church regularly.
  21. He told the designers of The Colbert Report set to be inspired by DaVinci's Last Supper .
  22. He's a Dungeons and Dragons pro.
  23. Colbert was in a Rolling Stones cover band called A Shot in the Dark as a teenager.
  24. His first taste of being a character actor came in his childhood after listening to "King Herod's Song" from Jesus Christ Superstar.
  25. At the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner, he gave Bush a truly presidential spanking.[Embed]
  26. He's a registered Democrat.
  27. He has fallen asleep on stage.
  28. He fell into comedy by accident. According to Colbert, "I meant to be a serious actor with a beard who wore a lot of black and wanted to share his misery with you."
  29. His childhood and teenage icons were Dean Martin and George Carlin.
  30. Colbert's book I am America (And So Can You!) was on the New York Times Bestseller list in Hardcover Nonfiction category for 24 weeks.
  31. It was #1 for 14 of them.<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/114/c77de980-bceb-0131-2056-6a87f7d40df7.gif?w=320"/>
  32. He got the inspiration for the title while doing a photoshoot for Vanity Fair.
  33. According to Colbert, his best trait as a comedian is his ability to feed into or support other people's ideas.
  34. He believes his character "Stephen Colbert" relies on "Manifest destiny and the invisible hand of the free market."
  35. Colbert is a longtime supporter of the charity Autism Speaks.
  36. His first dream was to become a marine biologist.
  37. However, his ear drums were injured and it barred him from being able to scuba dive.
  38. In fact, he had a tumor as a kid and according to Colbert, it was "scooped out with a melon baller."
  39. He studied at the Second City, but was inspired to be an improviser by Improv Olympic founders Del Close and Charna Halpern.
  40. He and Carell have been colleagues for years, but Colbert claims they were never terribly close as friends since Carell is a very private person.<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/114/efea9770-bceb-0131-da74-2eac3dab70d9.gif?w=320"/>
  41. He was on The Daily Show before and after Jon Stewart took over. He says Stewart brought the political point of view to the series.
  42. Despite his cocky persona, he's actually quite humble about taking over for Letterman.[Embed]
  43. It is an artistic choice that Colbert never yells at or viciously intimidates his guests as those he parodies tend to do.
  44. Like every actor, he was in an episode of Law and Order .
  45. He has never hosted Saturday Night Live.
  46. More than 250,000 people showed up for Colbert and Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" and "March to Keep Fear Alive" in 2010.[Embed]
  47. Colbert prefers comedy to drama because of comedy's innate freedom to fail.
  48. He gave the Commencement speech at his alma mater Northwestern University in 2011 (lucky ducks).[Embed]
  49. He coined "Truthiness" as The Colbert Report's first official Word of the Day and was made "Word of the Year" by the American Dialect Society in 2006.<img src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/uploads/114/77f0fdf0-bceb-0131-a6e8-2e1f4bc53f11.gif?w=320"/>
  50. Seriously, Stephen Colbert is the nicest guy.<img alt="" src="http://lovelace-media.imgix.net/getty/483511795.jpg?w=400&amp;h=225&amp;fit=crop&amp;crop=faces&amp;fm=jpg&amp;q=65" class="article-body-image"/> Images:laradeford/Tumblr; EntertainmentWeekly/Twitter; ChoosyMothersChooseGif/Tumblr; stormshadow-has-problems/ bossoxs87/Tumblr; MouthyMag