Stephen Colbert Drops The Funny Persona To Talk Family Tragedy With Oprah

Comedian Stephen Colbert recently dropped the funnyman act, if only briefly, to talk about the death of his dad and his brothers in a plane crash. He confessed that it took him nearly ten years to deal with the tragedy.

In a candid interview with Oprah Winfrey, Colbert talked about himself at age 1, when he learned that his father, James, and two older brothers, 18-year-old Paul and 15-year-old Peter, were killed when their jet crashed after a botched landing attempt in North Carolina back in 1974. Colbert said that the tragic loss became a part of him and that he didn’t begin the grieving process until he had left for college at 18-years-old, reports MSN.

“For years, I sort of thought that that was my secret name. That the loss was my name, if you know what I mean…. (The experience) is who you are. I liked the idea that you have a secret name. And that’s a name that no one can ever really pronounce, you know, because it’s who you are. There’s a magic to your secret name,” Colbert said.

Colbert continued, talking about the grieving process he had delayed for so long.

“I didn’t really feel the loss until I was in college. Then, I was in bad shape… I was just so sad about it. I was 10 when they died. It’s only eight years later when you go to college… It seemed like a long time at the time, but now, at age 48, it seems like the blink of an eye.”

You can catch Stephen Colbert in rare form when his full interview airs Sunday on Oprah’s Next Chapter.