Wednesday February 1, 2006

Cole Burt!

In a comment on a previous post here about the literary output of Stephen Colbert (or rather, "Stephen Colbert"), Bridget of ilani ilani mentioned that she's known Stephen's brother all her life, and that the Colbert family doesn't pronounce their name with the very classy silent 't' Colbert uses on TV.  As you might imagine, I was disappointed and more than a little skeptical that Our Steve would deceive us, The Heroes, in such a way, but an installment of the Repor(t) from last week offered incontrovertible proof of Bridget's claim.  In a segment on Seasonal Affective Disorder, Colbert tried to shake himself out of his own SAD funk, saying:

It's so stupid—we got a show to do.  Come on, snap out of it, Colbert!

And there it was, clear as day: in his excitement, he accidentally said "cole-burt" instead of "cole-bear".  I'm still shaken.  Who are you really, Stephen?  How could lie to us like that for so long?  This is like that whole James Frey thing, except times, like, a million.  I don't know what to think.

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Following up on my previous post on Stephen Colbert, here are more postings on Language Log on the word truthiness: [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 7, 2006 3:42:39 PM



Posted by: Bridget at Feb 1, 2006 6:57:41 PM

Shocked! Shocked!

Posted by: polyglot conspiracy at Feb 2, 2006 9:10:14 AM

On the 12/14/05 Letterman, Stephen explained it. His father is Cole-Burt, always wanted to be Cole-Bear, but couldn't be because he lived along with his father, so he encouraged his children to change if they wanted. Half of the eleven siblings pronounce it one way and the other half the other way. He admitted that it is confusing when he refers to his mother, Mrs. Cole-Burt.

I imagine in mocking himself he deliberately chose the childhood pronunciation.

Of course, Bridget may know better from his brother that all this too is just part of his on stage persona.

Posted by: MMcM at Feb 8, 2006 9:28:15 PM

Yeah, I took it as him pronouncing it "bert" as part of the joke.

I do wish he'd describe his name as being "FRENCH, BITCH!" once in a while. I miss that from the DS...

Posted by: ThePete at Feb 9, 2006 1:37:23 PM

Maybe he's emulating Newt Gingrich, who pronounces his name to end with /tS/, and his sister Candace, who uses /k/.

Posted by: KCinDC at Feb 10, 2006 6:53:37 AM

I wonder if John Stewart secretly thinks this is pretentious and underhandedly makes fun of him for it. Every notice how when he's introducing the show, he always refers to it not as the "Colbert Report" but as the "Cole-bear ra-pore"? Of course, Stewart has little room to comment, since he's said himself that his real last name is "something Jew-y."

Posted by: Chris Ball at Feb 14, 2006 5:29:58 AM

Not that it changes things, but on the 21 February show, he again said cole-burt context of a quotation, "You know, my football coach once said something very important to me. He said, 'You gotta want it, Cole-burt.'"

Posted by: Dane at Feb 22, 2006 6:39:51 PM