Stephen Colbert Addresses Absence with Nod to ‘Tough as Nails’ Mother

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After abruptly shuttering production on The Colbert Report for a few days last week, Stephen Colbert was back on the air last night, and amid much speculation finally addressed the rumors as to why he was gone. He apologized for his absence, noting he was “the hub around which the republic turns.” But in his signature style, the satirical politico danced around the real reason.

Keeping his politician’s guise hoisted high, the pompous “Colbert” character quashed all speculation about his absence. It wasn’t the go-to celebrity choice of rehab, nor did the FCC cancel his show after reports that he would soon announce his presidential candidacy. (The latter statement garnered boisterous applause from the audience before Colbert muttered under his breath, “Not gonna happen.”) He dug into Joan Rivers after she joked that he was having plastic surgery. And no, the Catholic Church did not shut him down. But as for the real reason, that remained shrouded in the host’s sarcasm.

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It wasn’t until the end of his monologue where Colbert delivered a cribbed message, though obvious to those loyal viewers who sent his way a slew of well wishes last week: “Oh, one more thing. Evidently having 11 children makes you tough as nails,” he said. “Confidential to a lovely lady.”

For loyal fans, it’s hardly a secret that Colbert – the real one, not the character – shuttered the show for two episodes last week to care for his ailing 91-year-old mother, Lorna. Colbert was genuinely thankful for his viewers’ support amid his mother’s illness. He tweeted last week:

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