Though Stephen Colbert did not initially aim to work in comedy, his time with improvisation troupes in Chicago changed his course. After performing with his campus improv team No Fun Mud Piranhas and around Chicago, he began taking classes at The Second City. From 1987 to 1994, Colbert immersed himself in classes and performances at The Second City, alongside fellow members Chris Farley, Steve Carell, and Amy Sedaris.
Colbert eventually auditioned for The Second City’s touring companies, and was invited to join the GreenCo, and later performed at Second City Northwest. He performed in Ku Klux Klambake and Destiny and How To Avoid It at Second City Northwest alongside Nia Vardalos, Ian Gomez, and more. Colbert was then promoted to Second City’s e.t.c. stage in Where’s Your God Now, Charlie Brown?, and eventually made it to the Mainstage cast alongside future stars Steve Carell and Amy Sedaris. Colbert’s first revue was Take Me Out To The Balkans, which was political in nature and also starred Carell and Sedaris. His last revue was Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been Mellow?, which continued to star Carell, along with character actress Jackie Hoffman.
After his tenure at The Second City, Colbert worked with fellow alum Sedaris and Paul Dinello to create the HBO series Exit 57, which was nominated for five CableACE Awards. With Sedaris and Dinello, they also created the show and subsequent movie, Strangers with Candy. He continued to work in television, with writing and acting credits at The Dana Carvey Show, Saturday Night Live, The Chris Rock Show, and more. However, his experience at The Daily Show is what made him a household name.
Colbert was a correspondent and writer on The Daily Show from 1997 through 2005, and won three Emmy’s for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Program. After his success on The Daily Show, he hosted a spin-off, The Colbert Report from 2005 until 2014. Unlike Jon Stewart, Colbert hosted in character as a right-wing pundit. The nine years spent on the show yielded 23 Emmy nominations and six wins. His final show had guests that included J.J. Abrams, Gloria Steinam, Ken Burns, James Franco, Katie Curic, Alan Alda, Tom Brokaw, and many more.
In October 2014, he left The Colbert Report to host The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, succeeding David Letterman’s post. True to his comedic style, Colbert’s late night show is much more political than Letterman’s had been. Throughout his comedy career, Colbert has satirized the political culture in the United States successfully, won nine Emmy’s and two Grammy’s, been a featured entertainer at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, and much more.
1992-1993: Where’s Your God Now, Charlie Brown?: e.t.c. Stage
1993-1994: Take Me Out To The Balkans, Mainstage
1994: Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been Mellow?, Mainstage