COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Charleston native and late night comedian Stephen Colbert spent the first three minutes of his broadcast in over a week to deliver a heart-felt eulogy for his recently deceased mother.
Lorna Colbert, the mother of Colbert and former First Congressional Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch, died last Wednesday after an extended illness.
Colbert began the broadcast thanking everyone who extended their thoughts and prayers to his family during his mother's final days.
The comedian then pointed to his mother as one of the reasons for his success on The Colbert Report.
"Now if you watch this show, and you like this show, that's because of everybody who works here and I am lucky to be one of them. But when you watch this show and you also like me, that's because of my mom," said Colbert.
Colbert went on to describe his mother's upbringing and how she first met his father when she was 12 years old.
"She liked him, but she didn't want him to know how much, so she would make her friends ride their bikes all the way across town just to pass by his house, but then she would never check to see if he was in the front yard, which of course drove her friends crazy, and evidently she also drove my father crazy because they were married and promptly had 11 children," said Colbert.
The Colbert home would deal with tragedy in its later years as the comedian's father and two of his siblings were killed in a plane crash and another son was killed in another incident.
Despite that, Colbert said his mother built and sustained a loving home.
"She was fun," Colbert said, fighting back tears. "She knew more than her share of tragedy, losing her brother, husband, and three of her sons, but her love for her family and her faith in God somehow not only gave her the strength to go on, but to love life without bitterness, and to instill in all of us a gratitude for every day we have together."
Colbert then described his mother's final days, saying she had grown confused and she was unable to answer simple questions.
"But when asked what her favorite prayer was, she immediately recited a child's prayer in German that she used to say to my eldest brothers and sisters at bedtime when they were living in Munich in the late 1940's. Her favorite memory of prayer was as a young mother tucking in her children. We were the light of her life and she let us know it until the end, and that's it," said Colbert.
The somber Colbert ended the monologue with more gratitude to his fans for their support.
"Now we can get to the truly important work of television broadcasting, which is what she would want me to do. When I was leaving her last week, I told her, 'Mom, I'm going back to New York to do the show.' And she said, 'I can't wait to see it. I wouldn't miss it for the world.'"