In 2005, Colbert began hosting The Colbert Report, a celebrated faux-news program based on the character he had developed at The Daily Show. The show satirized the right-wing pundits that dominated Fox News’ primetime.
The character, named Stephen Colbert, shared a lot of the real Colbert’s actual history. He was a Catholic from a large family, a southerner, and a family man. However, while Colbert is a registered democrat, his character was a staunch conservative in the spirt of Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck. By focusing on the experiences that Colbert actually shared with some real-life conservatives (both Catholics and southerners tend to lean right), he was able to create someone charming enough to be loved by people of all political backgrounds.
In fact, Colbert was so charming in his farcical performance, he even eschewed appreciation from Bill O’Reilly himself. That’s not to say his character wasn’t still a cutting caricature of Bill O’Reilly. Colbert made a point of taking some of the worst parts of pundits: the ego, the boisterousness, the unwillingness to admit when they’re wrong –without adopting any of the mean-spirited: the yelling, the frowning, the insults, and the general bellicosity. This is, perhaps, the reason Colbert’s character was so lovable. He was always smiling, always having fun, and since his guests were in on the joke it was always fun to watch.