I came late to the party on this, but better late than never. This is Stephen Colbert's wonderful two-part interview with legendary author of children's books, Maurice Sendak (though Sendak would deny that's what he wrote...) The interview was done in January, 2012, and it was the author's last, passing away a few months later.
Before interviewing guests, Colbert also prepares them ahead of time to make sure that they know about his character. So, there's no doubt that Sendak was aware. But I think with some people, there's still the sense that this is, in fact, an interview and they feel a need to treat it as such. Along with the uncertainty at the very beginning of what part of Colbert's act is actually the act. In this case, Sendak delivers a blunt, honest interview, taking his questions as deserving his truthful answer. And those answers are wonderfully crusty. By the second part, though, he seems to have got a good handle on how to deal best with things on his own terms, and the two men take it all to wonderful heights. Helping it all is that as much as Colbert clearly respects such a legendary author and artists, he cuts him no slake and plays things to the fullest. My favorite moment is one of the quietest and quickest, and perhaps most easily overlooked -- when he refers to his guest as "Mo."
So, here they are -- parts 1 and 2 of Stephen Colbert's great interview with Maurice Sendak. And stick around, there's a bonus treat...
Here's the bonus. Extra material for the Colbert interview with Maurice Sendak that never made it on the air. At least in the initial pieces. What's interesting here is that it puts the earlier material in context, being clear how serious Colbert took things, but used the more Colbertian sequences for the broadcast. And it makes Sendak's reactions more rounded, as it becomes more clear all that's going on.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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