May 13 ~  On My Side Presidents of the United States

"From the very beginning, I wanted to jump back and forth over the line of meaning what I say, and the truth of the matter is I'm not on anyone's side, I'm on my side. The important thing is that the audience laughs." ~ Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert

And laugh we do.

Comedy Central satirist Stephen Tyrone Colbert (1964-) was born on this day, the youngest of eleven children. His father and two older brothers died in a plane crash when Stephen was 10 years old.

Raised in Charleston, South Carolina, he studied acting at Northwestern and trained in improvisation at Chicago's famed Second City.

"There's a buzz to failing and not dying," he once said.

The fake-news character he plays on The Colbert Report ("report" pronounced "rapport") is a self-important, flag waving patriot who Colbert described as being passonate and closely-attached to his stories. "He cares deeply about what's happening in this country," Colbert said. "He just doesn't know what's going on in this country."

"He's not a huge fan of facts," said Colbert, with typcial tongue-in-cheek eloquence. What he spreads is "truthiness," a word he coined to describe the notion that "the simplest answer is the true one."

Telling each guest preshow, "You are aware I am a professional idiot," Colbert counters that heads-up with a performance that is pure comedic genius. "The show is an invitation to the audience to be part of the club," he said and has been the first to admit that Bill O'Reilly, a.k.a. "Papa Bear," has been an inspiration.

As a Jon Stewart Daily Show writer and correspondent (1997-2005), Colbert helped the show snag Emmy and Peabody Awards. His This Week in God segment was popular, brilliant, and led to the Colbert Report spinoff in 2005.

"Colbert is sitting atop a ratings gold mine, as his young viewers make up the demographic most attractive to advertisers," praised NBC anchor Brian Williams.

About his critical success, Colber said: "All a performer wants is to perform more."

To which his fans say: "Yeah!"

Video: Colbert on O'Reilly Factor

Figure out what matters and stick to it.