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Stephen Colbert on his birthday

Stephen Colbert isn’t the first celebrity to celebrate his birthday during quarantine this year and he won’t be the last. However, he is unique in that he is able to share his “Happy Quarantine Birthday” with millions of viewers watching The Late Show. That’s exactly what happened and his honest feelings related to celebrating a birthday of this ilk are refreshing to hear.

As part of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, the late night host was supposed to joke about how his birthday is “not as festive” this year. However, his family actually popped in while he was filming his monologue. They had decorated the office with a special message (as seen above) and had even landed a special martini-themed cake for Colbert’s birthday from a local bakery (s/o Little Daisy). As a result, things didn’t seem so dismal.

Hello, and welcome to a Late Show. I’m your host Stephen Colbert. It’s my birthday! In quarantine! Woo, isn’t that nice? My daughter ordered this sign, my kids just put this up in my set. I caught ‘em doing it. Thank you. Today I turned ‘more at risk.’ This birthday is not as festive as usual… This birthday is pretty festive. Maybe more festive than usual. The line says, ‘Not as festive of usual,’ but this is actually really festive. Anyway, we’re all going to have to get used to celebrating major holidays in a quarantine because this panic appears to be making itself comfortable.

While Stephen Colbert seems touched by his family’s efforts, there’s a candid undercurrent to his birthday thoughts that is a little bit difficult to hear. Not that getting a year older is ever a pleasant experience (at least after hitting milestones like driving, drinking, voting and renting a car), but this year there’s an undercurrent of the older you get, the worst your response to Covid-19 statistically could be.

That is one profoundly sobering thought on what normally is a day of celebration and it’s probably not the tact other late night hosts would take given the same situation.

Stephen Colbert has built a late night reputation of being a kind of outlier however. He often has guests on in political, science and other fields, although he still talks to more run-of-the-mill celebs like his competitors as well. (A recent interview with Ryan Reynolds was a highlight for example.)

At the end of Q4 in 2019, this had put Stephen Colbert ahead of his fellow late night competition, landing him the highest number of viewers both in the 18-49 demo and in overall audience totals. More recently during quarantine, it should be noted The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon has been faring better.

I don’t know this, but I’d imagine people are looking for the bit of escapism Fallon has typically offered as an entertainer. Still, for more on what you’ll get from Stephen Colbert, you can check out the full segment below.

Meanwhile, while summer TV is going to look a bit different this year, late night seems to be thriving. You can catch The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on week nights at 11:35 p.m. ET.