Stephen’s childhood life, however, wasn’t free of difficulties. As a young child, a tumor in his right ear deprived it of its hearing. His father, Ed, and two of his siblings had died in an airplane crash when Stephen was 10.
He was reserved as an adolescent. He took to reading books as he found the many family moves difficult, but soon realized he enjoyed acting in student plays in high school.
He wasn’t sure he would go, originally, but Colbert’s time in college invigorated his passion for performance theater.
After his sophomore year as a philosophy student at Hampden-Sydney College, Stephen transferred to Northwestern to pursue a degree in theater. There he participated on the school’s improv team.
After graduating he began practicing improv at the Annoyance Theatre in Chicago.