Stephen Colbert: The life & times of a satirist

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Stephen Colbert trivia

Satirist Stephen Colbert turns 50 on May 13. To mark the occasion, we look at the life and career of the funnyman who is about to take the reins of "The Late Show." See gallery

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From Colbert's mentor to Michael Scott

Like so many of the top comedic talents, Stephen Colbert (what's his net worth?) got his big break with the famed improv group Second City in the early 1990s. Performing with the likes of Paul Dinello and his future "Exit 57" (watch clips) and "Strangers With Candy" co-creator (who?), Colbert was an understudy to Steve Carell (pictured, top row, center) at Second City.

What is Carell's latest television project?

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Colbert is deaf in one ear

When he was a child, Stephen Colbert dreamed of being a marine biologist. Those hopes were dashed, however, when doctors discovered that he had an infection in his right ear (what's it called?). The damage caused from surgery left Colbert deaf in his right ear and prevented him from engaging in any underwater activities such as scuba diving.

Who is the only deaf performer to win an Oscar for Best Actress?

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Colbert family tragedy effects policy change

On Sept. 11, 1974, Stephen Colbert's father and two of his brothers were killed when Eastern Air Lines Flight 212 crashed attempting to land in Charlotte, N.C. (Read more about the crash) As a result, the Federal Aviation Administration established a rule (what's it called?) that prohibits flight crews from engaging in any conversation or activities apart from their flying duties while the aircraft is below 10,000 feet.

Watch Colbert's tribute to his mother, who died in 2013

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A decade-long fixture at Emmys

Starting with his work as a writer on "The Daily Show" (watch clips) and continuing through his years as host of "The Colbert Report (pronounced REE-POR)," Stephen Colbert has won seven Primetime Emmy Awards over the course of a decade. He also has been nominated 16 times, including for this category in 2006, losing to Barry Manilow (what did they jokingly agree on?).

On which list did he appear at No. 2, the only man in the rankings?

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You can't handle Colbert's coined word

In the pilot episode of "The Colbert Report" (watch clips) in 2005, Stephen Colbert coined a new word (what is it?). The term, defined by as "the quality of seeming to be true according to one's intuition, opinion, or perception without regard to logic, factual evidence, or the like," became so popular that the American Dialect Society named it Word of the Year in 2005 (what was the 2013 winner?).

What word did Colbert use in 2013 to describe cable news?

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Stephen Colbert for president

On Oct. 16, 2007, Colbert announced his candidacy for the presidency on "The Colbert Report," stating his intention to run on the Democratic and Republican platforms (why did he abandon his Republican run?), but solely as a "favorite son" in his native South Carolina. And in the 2012 election, he secured 5 percent of the votes in the New Hampshire primary, despite not being on the ballot.

Which charity benefited from his presidential bid?

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Living the AmeriCone Dream

In 2007, Ben & Jerry's (where is it located?) rolled out a new flavor of ice cream called "Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream." The ice-cream maker with a cornucopia of quirky names (what famous jam band has its own flavor?) described the flavor as "the sweet taste of liberty in your mouth" when making the announcement.

What popular AMC drama featured Americone Dream in one of its episodes?

Via Wikipedia,
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The amazing Colbert spider

In 2007, a species of trapdoor spider (what is it?) was discovered on the California coastline. Earlier in the year, Stephen Colbert reported that a different species of spider had been named for this rock legend and began appealing for a species of animal to be named after him. Not long after, the new spider was named after Colbert (what is its official name?).

Which A-list actress also has a spider named after her?

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Colbert is a children's book writer (and so can you!)

In 2012, Stephen Colbert's second book, "I Am a Pole (And So Can You!)," (read reviews) hit the shelves. The 32-page children's book tells the story of a fictional pole trying to find his purpose in life and is notable for a thumbs-up by children's writer Maurice Sendak on the cover: "The sad thing is, I like it!" (what happened the day of the book's release?). The book topped the New York Times bestseller list (for which category?) in May 2012.

Who narrates the audiobook version of "I Am a Pole"?

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His wife's got talent, too

Evelyn McGee-Colbert is more than just Stephen Colbert's wife and mother of their three children. She also has dabbled in acting, most notably for her small role in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" (watch trailers), which earned three Oscar nominations. McGee-Colbert, who grew up two blocks from Colbert but didn't know him, also made a few appearances in her husband's creation, "Strangers With Candy." (Which TV Guide list was the show on?)

What role did she play in one episode of "Strangers With Candy"?

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Kidding aside, Colbert's sister is a real politician

Stephen Colbert's sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, was the Democratic Party nominee in a 2013 special election for U.S. Representative of South Carolina's 1st District, losing to former Gov. Mark Sanford. She is considering running against Sanford (what scandal was he embroiled in five years ago?) again this year, in a bid to become the first Democrat to represent South Carolina in 30 years.

Why was she arrested in 1988?

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A quick "REE-POR" on the Colbert children

Stephen Colbert's children (see more photos) are kept out of the limelight, for the most part. Colbert said he prefers that his children (pictured in 2008, from left, Madeleine, Peter and John) don't watch "The Colbert Report" because kids can't understand irony or sarcasm." But the eldest, Madeleine, who will be 18 in June, understood that type of humor just fine during Dad's opening monologue at the 2010 Grammy Awards. When Colbert asked her if he was cool, she playfully shrugged her shoulders and answered, "No."

What famous actress babysat for Madeleine?

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The not-so-ambiguously hilarious duo

"The Ambiguously Gay Duo" (watch clips) was an animated comedy sketch that debuted on this short-lived show in 1996 before finding a permanent home on "Saturday Night Live." Created by Robert Smigel, the show lasted 12 episodes and featured Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell as the voices of the two main characters, Ace and Gary, as well as a few others.

Watch clips of Smigel's creation, "Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog"

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