Terry Hood Finds The Oklahoman In Stephen Colbert

Tuesday, September 8th 2015, 12:17 pm
By: News On 6

It's time for the long-awaited debut of the late show with Stephen Colbert here on Channel 6. Colbert made his mark on Comedy Central, where his legions of fans were known as the Colbert Nation.

He became famous playing the character of a blow-hard fictional newsman on Comedy Central, but he said he's not sorry to be leaving that guy behind.

Now he's making his debut as the new host of the Late Show. I got the chance to interview him a few weeks ago.

It's no easy task trying to keep Stephen Colbert on track during an interview, but I did manage to find out a few things about the new host of the Late Show.

He's the youngest of 11 children, and that big family had a big role in honing his sense of humor. 

"You automatically have an audience if you're one of 11 children and our family was sort of a humor-ocracy," said Stephen Colbert. "The funniest person at that moment was like king of the room."

There was even a charming foreshadowing of his career to come. 

"My sisters Mary and Margo never wanted to watch the Tonight Show alone,  so they would wake me up - I'm talking when I was a toddler," he said. "They'd put me between them to watch the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson."

I found out his wife is thrilled about his new job. She couldn't stand the character he played on the Colbert Report.

"I brought him home by accident one night because I was working on a script in the back of a car," Colbert said. "I was sort of improvising him in mind head, and I walked in the house and my wife said, 'I know what's going on. Get out of here and come back as my husband.'

"I'm really curious to find out how much of me was him the whole time. Because that was my sense of humor," he said. "If people watched the show I think they'll recognize the jokes that we're doing. But I'm just not a pundit anymore. I don't have to win."

To be honest, after that the interview pretty much went off the tracks. 

Terry Hood: "Ok, so I always kind of try to make people who I interview Oklahomans."
Stephen Colbert: "I'm ready.  Is this going to hurt?"

I suggested an Oklahoma song might be in order.  Stephen was able to sing "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning," and "The Surrey With The Fringe On Top," but unfortunately - I was supposed to sing too.

Stephen Colbert: "There's a bright golden haze on the meadow. Come on, you've got to jump in here."
Terry Hood: "I don't know those words."
Stephen Colbert: "You don't know the words? You don't know the words!"

Colbert was momentarily distracted by making a Clark Kent hair do, but all too soon, we were changing the subject.

But of course, we weren't changing the subject.

"Where were we," Colbert asked. "Oh yes, you know nothing about Oklahoma."

Finally, thank heaven, Merle Haggard came to my rescue.

I know that one.

"Football's still the roughest thing on campus, and white lightning's still the biggest thrill of all," we both sang.

I did it!

And then, we got into politics.

Stephen Colbert: "Anybody from Oklahoma running for president?
Terry Hood: "Probably."
Stephen Colbert: "Probably! You don't know?  You do work in the news division, right?  You didn't just wander in off the street after being pithed in the temple?"

OK, in my defense - and clearly I need one - I was thinking of those lesser-known candidates who seem to declare year after year.  But the good news is, maybe I did succeed in turning him into an Okie.

After a full day of interviews with reporters from around the country, as he walked out the door, he was singing: "Okie from Muskogee."