Stephen Colbert: ‘I’ve gained 15 pounds since Donald Trump became president’

Prince Harry rugby Leeds

Is it just me or is Stephen Colbert giving anyone else Justin Theroux vibes on the cover of InStyle? I think it’s the t-shirt. And the pose! Colbert got an extensive profile in the September issue of InStyle because he’s finally popular. His takeover of The Late Show was pretty rocky in the first year, but the change started happening in the heat of the election – Colbert was allowed to get more political, and to really start bashing Donald Trump full-time. Nowadays, The Late Show has much better ratings, even beating the Tonight Show from time to time. But of course it’s taken its toll on Colbert, just as the Baby Fists administration has taken its toll on all of us. Obviously, much of this InStyle interview is about Trump and politics. Some highlights:

His nervous breakdown: “In my late 20s, early 30s, I had a nervous breakdown. I was subject to panic attacks and stuff like that except when I was onstage. I would curl up in a ball on a couch backstage, and then I’d hear my cue coming up, and I would uncurl, go onstage, do the show, and then go offstage and curl up again. Just a few months of fetal. And then it changed. I went to write a new show—I guess it opened a door in my brain, and it was over. I woke up one morning, and it didn’t feel like my skin was on fire. But then I thought, ‘Well, I can’t ever stop doing this because that skin-on-fire is always right behind the door.’ ”

When he says something is ‘dumb’, that’s praise: “That’s so dumb… Often when we are in the rewrite room, we don’t know how to write a joke about something, and there will be silence. Then someone will come up with an idea, and it’s just dumb enough. It’s a compliment. It takes a lot of mental provender to come up with something truly dumb, which is why I think Donald Trump must be a genius.”

Life under Trump: “I’ve gained a lot of weight. I think I’ve gained 15 pounds since Donald Trump became president.” On the night of the election, The Late Show was broadcast live. Like the media at large, they had planned for everything—apart from Trump actually winning. “I just drank,” Colbert remembers. “I drank a lot of bourbon onscreen. We didn’t know what to do.” They lurched through the show, and then Colbert went home to New Jersey. He normally stays in the city when he is shooting, but “my wife was like, ‘I would prefer that you come home, please. I don’t want to sleep by myself tonight, you know?’ ”

He doesn’t pretend he’s changing the world: “Today you’ll feel better, but these shows are cotton candy dropping in water, and I don’t pretend otherwise. I used to joke to Jon [Stewart] that we are shouting jokes into an Altoids can and throwing them off an overpass. Nobody remembers.”

The idea of being “just” a comedian: “I don’t think anybody’s ‘just a comedian.’ I am a comedian. That’s a challenging thing to be. It’s a good job, and it’s a hard job. When you say you’re a comedian, you’re not trying to slough off a responsibility—you know your responsibility. There’s a perception of journalists or the audience of getting something from us beyond the joke. But … we’re just making jokes about people’s daily experiences. My show will have no effect on the world. It’s a privilege to have this perch to tweet from. Or to do a little bird song from. So I don’t diminish that. ‘Important’? How about ‘prominent’? You’re in a prominent position, but whether it’s important or not, I don’t know. I hope people enjoy it and it makes their day better, you know?”

Whether he’s an uncomfortable person: “I can feel uncomfortable. This show has changed that in me to some degree. I played a character on the old show, so I never had to be myself in front of the camera. And I’m a big fan of me—it’s not like I’m a self-loathing person. I also like people. But I don’t know what it is about my past: I either want to have an immediate, intimate affection with you or I don’t want to talk to you at all. And it’s my fault if [the affection] doesn’t happen. So that’s my hesitancy, or that’s my discomfort with people. [Comedian] Maria Bamford has a great joke about riding in an elevator with someone she doesn’t know: ‘Crazy weather we’re having, huh?’ ‘Hold me …’ That’s exactly how I feel. Can we just cut everything else out and lie next to each other on a hill and look at the stars?”

[From InStyle]

Whenever I write about Colbert, I’m reminded of the fact that most comedians are either pretty normal, unfunny people or they’re all dysfunctional neurotics. That’s not a diss, exactly. I think Colbert loves his wife and he’s probably a great father. I think he’s being honest about his various neuroses and general discomfort. But I also kind of feel like… Colbert has lost that sparkle, where he used to make people feel like he was having fun and they could have fun by watching him. That was The Colbert Report, which was brilliant and weird and perfect for Colbert as a person/comedian. But on The Late Show, he still just seems uncomfortable. But hey, people seem to like him more these days. Is it because he’s being himself, or is it because people are just sick of consciously-apolitical Jimmy Fallon?

Also: I don’t know if I’ve gained weight since the election – I felt like I was living in the gym for a while as I tried to work off the stress of living under Trump, but I also am stress-eating a lot as I watch the news now. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if many people have been gaining weight this year.

Prince Harry rugby Leeds

Photos courtesy of InStyle.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

41 Responses to “Stephen Colbert: ‘I’ve gained 15 pounds since Donald Trump became president’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Neelyo says:

    That election night special haunts me. I have stuff on my DVR from that period that I still can’t watch, including that special which i didn’t finish. I don’t know why i’m saving it, time capsule i guess. Maybe someday i’ll be able to watch it.

    And I’m so glad Colbert is beating Fallon. He’s a tool.

  2. Tate says:

    The only reason I haven’t gained weight is because I started running again to help with stress. Of course I haven’t lost weight either cause you know… wine 🍷

  3. kay says:

    please tell me i am not alone here in absolutely loving this man. and hot. he is so sexy it is ridiculous.

  4. Hunter says:

    I can’t explain why, but I have always found Colbert inexplicably hot. Maybe it’s because his hands are glorious, maybe it’s because he’s a funny man and I love funny men. I don’t know. However, I really hadn’t paid much attention to him after TCR, but Kaiser is absolutely right. The sparkle is gone. Watching and listening to him is just not the same. It’s easy to see how every one has been affected by the insane events going on in our country, even Colbert.

  5. i dont know her says:

    they photo shopped him into OBLIVION when they didn’t even need to.
    he sexh w/o airbrushing.

  6. Jess says:

    Last November I started hitting spin and yoga pretty hard. The uptick in attendees in both classes was noticeable. And I stopped drinking for a few months because I knew I would just head down the bottle. I haven’t weighed myself in months. I think I’ll be fit AF when the apocalypse comes… I think people are peeling off into a couple categories when it comes to coping with Agent Orange

  7. Giggs says:

    I cut all my hair off AND inadvertantly gained 20 lbs. Mind you, I’ve kept the same weight/size since I was 16 and I know it happens with age but with a daily fresh hell it was even more of a shock to step on the scale in May.. I’ve lost 10 lbs and my hair is finally grazing my shoulders (it was to my breasts my whole 20s) and I’m just finally starting to recover. Not to mention my father, grandmother and close cousin all passed in the past 2 years (my father passed right after the election). It’s been a hell of a year and sorry for the rant…I just want my hair and body and COUNTRY back lol

  8. Sarah6 says:

    He does give uncomfortable interviews sometimes. But if the guest is boring, it’s partly that guests fault and also Colbert’s fault. Yet I think people like it. The show even puts many of his interviews up in full on YouTube. It’s refreshing and maybe even better than fawning over celebs and being fake.

  9. Maple Girl says:

    I get the vibe that he’s an uncomfortable person. I remember Ava Duvernay saying how he completely ignored her when they met somewhere. Which is not the biggest crime, but I have a low tolerance for people who don’t at least try to be pleasant.

    And that was not the vibe I was getting while watching The Colbert Report. Probably because him showing himself was so very brief. But on the Late Show? He’s not engaging enough with the people he’s not interested in. I understand that interviewing a reality star about fluff is boring, but as a talk show host he shouldn’t show it. Respect the guest no matter who it is.
    Of course he is better than Fallon, but everyone is.

    • Pedro45 says:

      That’s so disappointing to read, especially because I can’t imagine anyone not dying to talk to Ava Duvernay. I would make such a fool of myself if i met her.

      I want to like his show but I just don’t, even the monologues. But I’m an old an I haven’t liked that kind of late night show since Letterman way back in the day. I stick to John Oliver and Sam Bee once a week now.

  10. WendyNerd says:

    I know I’ve gained weight.

  11. cr says:

    I gained a lot of weight in February. Thought it was thyroid, since that runs in my family. Go to new doc, who asks if I’m under stress. ‘The president is stressing me out’. She laughs.
    I’ve lost some of the weight, but am still having nuclear war dreams, which I hadn’t had since Reagan’s first term.

  12. Jenns says:

    I haven’t gained weight. I’m just pissed off all the time. I also lost my only two friends because I found out they voted for Trump. Other than worrying 24/7 about nuclear war, climate change and the overall state of the world, things are going fine!

  13. Lucy says:

    I loved it when his wife and him were featured in Humans of New York (MET Gala Edition), and while he talked a bit about how important it is to be “silly”, she was all like “he’s so sexy”.

  14. Leelee says:

    I twitch quite a bit now. I lost ten pounds the month after the election. Gained it back when I started having a double vodka tonic every evening followed by a joint and a bowl of cereal before bed. It’s the only way I can get any sleep.

  15. Ruyana says:

    Insomnia like I’ve never had it before! Shingles in my left eye. Doctor said it is triggered by stress. Yup.

  16. K.T says:

    I only watch highlights on YouTube but I like Colbert much better than Fallon. Basically none of the late nights can interview well, apart from Kimmel (or Conan but he just doesn’t have the ratings to matter). It’s sad because I liked Letterman and even at his cranky worst, Lettermsn himself was such an interesting icon that it was fun seeing whatever inteview happen. Hope Colbert gets better and he stops interrupting the flow of guests talk. For a comedian, he often steps on the beat of comedians interviews so they don’t get their punchline in?!

  17. geekychick says:

    honestly, in my part of europe, in our little “enlightened and political even before college” crew, TCR was our main stress-reliever and smart fun for late nights. I mean, I even bought his book when I was in USA. he’s smart, he’s funny, his childhood, heritage and personal history are impressive, in terms of how far he came and how not-typical-american-success-story/childhood-he-had.
    i love the fact that he never tried to get his guests to be comfortable or to make them attractiveto the public.
    i do think his new show is the best of all in that political vein -(although seth myers has great commentary too, and john oliver is great). I’m still minda sad Conan is not more popular, because he reall has some gems and he’s pretty original.