Stephen Colbert's Moving Eulogy for His Mother

Abby Ohlheiser

Stephen Colbert returned to the airwaves Wednesday night after a hiatus following the death of his mother. And his opening tribute to her will probably make you cry. 

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Colbert's mom, Lorna, died at the age of 92 last week. The show went into reruns, until now. Here's Lorna, talking about her son: 

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"Now if you watch this show, and you like this show, it’s because everybody who works here and I’m lucky to be one of them. But when you watch the show, if you also like me, that’s because of my mom," Colbert said, before launching into a touching biography of her. 

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 The Third Beat magazine has a transcript of the speech: 

Hi everybody. Thanks for being here tonight, everyone in here and out there watching. I’ve been away from the Report for a week because one week ago from today, my mother Lorna Tuck Colbert died. And I want to thank everybody who offered their thoughts and prayers.

Now if you watch this show, and you like this show, it’s because everybody who works here and I’m lucky to be one of them. But when you watch the show, if you also like me, that’s because of my mom. So before we start the show again, I’ like to tell you a little bit about her.

She was born just a little ways from here in Larchmont, NY on Chatsworth Ave. in 1920, the same week women first got the right to vote. She spent her summers in the Adirondacks with her older sister Colleen and her younger brother Ed, who called her Snodgrass. She met my father James at age 12 at cotillion and 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 to pass by his house, but then she’d never look to see if he was in the front yard, which of course drove her friends crazy. An evidently she drove my father crazy because they married and had 11 children.

She made a very loving home for us. No fight between siblings could end without hugs and kisses, although hugs never needed a reason in her house. Singing and dancing was encouraged except at the dinner table. She’d trained to be an actress when she was younger and she would teach us to do stage falls by pretending to faint on the kitchen fall. She was fun.

She knew more than her share of tragedy, losing her brother and her husband and three of her sons. But her love for her family and her faith in god somehow gave her the strength not only to go on but to love life without bitterness and instil in all of us a gratitude for every day we have together.

And I know it may sound greedy to want more days with a person who lived so long, but the fact that my mother was 92 does not diminish, it only magnifies the enormity of the room whose doors have quietly shut.

In her last days, my mother occasionally became confused, and to try to ground her we tried to ask her simple questions, like what’s your favourite colour, what’s your favourite song. She couldn’t answer these. But when asked what her favourite prayer was, she immediately recited the Child’s Prayer, in German, which she used to say to my eldest brothers and sisters at bedtime when they we living in Munich in the late 1940s. Her favourite memory of prayer was a young mother tucking in her children.

We were the light of her life, and she let us know it ‘til the end. And that’s it. Thank you for listening.

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 leaned over and I said, “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.”

So, with that in mind… this is the Colbert Report.

Back in 2012, Colbert talked about his mom on air after the host took a hiatus from the show when she reportedly fell ill: