Stephen Colbert returned to The Colbert Report after a week’s hiatus occasioned by the death of his mother Lorna, and delivered a tribute to her that was both personally lovely, and in a subtle way, a really important extension of his professional project:
Much of Colbert’s work on The Colbert Report has exposed the ridiculousness of cable news, its priorities, and the way it covers them by doubling down on minutiae, paranoia, and fantasy. But in eulogizing his mother on-air, Colbert, acting as himself rather than as his persona, subverted the genre he deconstructs for a living in a different way. Lorna Colbert deserves to be known, he argued, not because she was ludicrous, or a spectacle, or died in some horrendous way, but because she was loving, and decent, and enthusiastic about her passions and her children. Ordinariness, his remembrance suggested, has as much or more value than the freak show.