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Watch Stephen Colbert's stirring tribute to his mother on The Colbert Report

The Colbert Report returned last night after a weeklong hiatus due to the death of Stephen Colbert’s mother Lorna at the age of 92. In tribute, Colbert opened his show with a stirring and heart-wrenching tribute, sharing details of his mother’s life with the audience, pausing to collect himself several times over the course of three and a half tremendously emotional minutes. Colbert shares warmly funny anecdotes of her childhood, meeting Colbert's father, and her general encouragement.

Colbert so rarely breaks character on his show, or elsewhere, that to see him devote the opening of an episode to eulogizing his mother is both a dramatic break from structure and the signal of something special. Colbert’s father and two of his brothers died in a plane crash when he was 10, so for most of his life, his mother has formed the center of his family. To dispel with the insane minutia of cable news to highlight the private, loving, devoted woman he cared about so much is a fitting tribute to exactly the kind of person Colbert’s show seeks to champion in the face of a petty, hypocritical, partisan maelstrom.

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