Thanks to Dena Dyer—occasional roommate, former neighbor, dear friend—for pointing out the recent series of interviews that Stephen Colbert did with Oprah.
My son got me into “The Colbert Report” this summer. I’d never understood that Colbert’s show was satire until my son cued it up on Hulu and I heard the title pronounced properly: Colber- Repor- (the Ts are silent). Since my son is 16, driving, and quite busy, a love of Colbert is the only thing we share most days.
I’m enclosing a link to a particular segment of the interview here, but I want to lift a quote from it. When he was 10, Colbert lost his father and two brothers in a plane crash. He didn’t really grieve until he went to college. Here’s why:
“For years, I sort of thought that was my secret name—that loss was my name. I like the idea that you have a secret name. You have your name, and then you have a secret name. That’s a name that no one can ever really pronounce. You know? Because it’s who you are. And, you know, there’s a magic to your secret name. And that was my secret name—the loss of my father and my brothers.”
Do you have a name no one can really pronounce? I know I do. Every now and then I sit around with good friends, and we sort of share, testing to see if the magic disappears when you say the secret name aloud.
I love that Colbert took the horror he lived through and turned to humor—first at Second City, then at “The Daily Show,” now with his own thing.
A lot of people use their experiences to help others, and God bless them. Some of us find other paths.