New host of the “Late Show,” Stephen Colbert, pronounces his last-name like many French words — “Cole-bear,” with a silent ‘T’ on the end.
Surprisingly though, his father didn’t. Up until Stephen, the Colbert family — of either Irish or French nationality — said “Cole-bert.”
In an interview with Charlie Rose, Colbert explained that he always wanted to make the change, and a conversation with an astronaut finally gave him the courage.
While flying to Northwestern University (where he studied theatre), Colbert already had the idea in his head.
“I didn’t know Chicago. Nobody knew me there. And I thought, ‘Well, if I’m ever gonna do it, it’s gonna be now,'” he told Rose.
That day, the airline bumped Colbert up to first class. Coincidentally, he ended up sitting next to an astronaut. He thinks his name was Corley.
Colbert asked the man’s opinion, still unsure whether to adopt the hard of soft “T.”
“He goes, ‘Well, I think you know,'” Colbert relayed, smiling widely.
Colbert’s father actually always wanted to switch, too. But he “lacked the pretentious gene that I have said,” Colbert said.
Watch the clip below and the full interview here.
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