Three episodes in and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has already grabbed us right in the feels.
The first night was nostalgia. Stephen Colbert was back in all his comedic glory! But Thursday night was moving, even heart-wrenching, when the new late show host interviewed Vice President Joe Biden, a humble man whose political position and sense of humor never hints at a past haunted with immense loss.
In December 1972, Biden’s first wife and 1-year-old daughter died in a car crash. This past May, his eldest son Beau lost a several-year-long battle with brain cancer. It’s unimaginable, almost improbable. But not for Stephen Colbert, who related to Biden in the deepest way possible.
Exactly 41 years ago today, on Sept. 11, 1974, 10-year-old Colbert lost his father and two older brothers in a plane crash.
“I know that [Beau] was a great man,” Colbert told Biden during the touching segment, “and I was hoping you could tell us a story about him.”
It’s a rare opportunity to tell the world about the loved ones we’ve lost, but the grieving father dropped his uplifting façade and opened up to an audience of millions.
“My son was better than me,” confided Biden. “And he was better than me in almost every way.”
The lingering emotional toll of his son’s loss is also why Biden remains undecided about a potential presidential run in 2016, he told Colbert.
“I don’t think any man or woman should run for president unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president and, number two, they can look at the folks out there and say, ‘I promise you, you have my whole heart, my whole soul, my energy and my passion to do this,’ he explained. “And I’d be lying if I said I knew I was there.”
“I know that’s an emotional decision that you have to make,” said Colbert. “But, it’s going to be emotional for a lot of people if you don’t run. Sir, I just want to say that I think that your experience and your example of suffering and service is something that would be sorely missed in the race.
“Not that there aren’t good people on both sides running,” he continued, “but I think we’d all be very happy if you did run, and, if you don’t, I know that your service to the country is something we should all salute.”
Watch Stephen Colbert’s Moving Interview With Vice President Joe Biden Here: