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‘You Are Never Defeated’: Stephen Colbert Discusses Connection Between His Faith and His Comedy

Stephen Colbert
Screengrab from YouTube.

While interviewing (and then subsequently being interviewed by) Grammy Award winning singer Dua Lipa on a recent episode of the Late Show, Stephen Colbert opened up about the connection between his faith and his comedy. 

Colbert, who is widely known for his previous work on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and Colbert Report and who succeeded David Letterman as host of the Late Show on CBS in 2015, has often been open about his Catholic faith. He has even been known to quote Thomas Aquinas while being interviewed and has discussed the sovereignty of God in grief with Anderson Cooper. 

During his interview with Dua Lipa, Colbert asked Lipa about her album “Future Nostalgia,” her rise in popularity during the pandemic, her 2022 world tour, her recent collaboration with Elton John, and her new podcast. In discussing her podcast, Colbert asked how Lipa was enjoying interviewing others. Lipa said that she enjoyed researching for conversations and learning about other people.

Colbert then smiled and asked, “Is there anything you would like to ask me?”

After some laughter and joking about being put on the spot, Lipa obliged. 

“So I think something that your viewers connect with in your comedy and your hosting skills, especially in the past few years, is how open and honest and authentic you are about the role your faith plays in your life,” Lipa said. “And I was wondering…does your faith and your comedy ever overlap, and does one ever win out?”

“I think, ultimately, us all being mortal, the faith will win out in the end,” Colbert replied, and the crowd chuckled. “But I certainly hope when I get to heaven, Jesus has a sense of humor.”

“But I will say this,” Colbert continued. “This relates to faith, because my faith is involved—I’m a Christian, I’m a Catholic—and that’s always connected to the idea of love and sacrifice being somehow related, and giving yourself to other people. And that death is not defeat, if you can see where I’m getting at there.”

“Someone was asking me earlier, ‘What movie did I really enjoy this year?’ And I said ‘Well I really liked Belfast,” Colbert said, referring to the 2021 semi-autobiographical film directed by Kenneth Branagh about a working class family living in Northern Ireland in the 1960s. “And one of the reasons that I love it is that I’m Irish—Irish-American—and it’s such an Irish movie. And I think this is also a Catholic thing, because it’s funny, and it’s sad, and it’s funny about being sad.”

“In the same way, that sadness is like a little bit of an emotional death, but not a defeat if you can find a way to laugh about it,” Colbert explained. “Because that laughter keeps you from having fear of it. And fear is the thing that [causes you to turn] to evil devices to save you from the sadness.”

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