June 20th, 2013
12:10 PM ET
"Colbert Report" viewers were likely crying instead of laughing when they tuned in to Stephen Colbert on Wednesday night.
The Comedy Central host opened the episode with a frank and touching tribute to his late mother Lorna Colbert, honoring her following her death last week at the age of 92.
Colbert worked to maintain his composure as he explained to his audience that he'd been away for the past week due to his mom's passing.
"I want to thank everybody who offered their thoughts and prayers," he said. "If you watch this show, and you like this show, that's because of everybody that works here, and I'm lucky to be one of them. But when you watch the show, if you also like me, that's because of my mom."
He went on to describe his mom's upbringing in Larchmont, New York, as photos of his mother in her younger years were shared on the screen. She met her future husband and father of her kids at age 12, Colbert said, noting that she must've driven him crazy "because they were married and promptly had 11 children."
"She made a very loving home for us. No fight between siblings could end without hugs and kisses, though hugs never needed a reason in her house. ... She was fun," Colbert recalled, pausing to recompose himself. "She knew more than her share of tragedy, losing her brother and her husband and three of her sons. But her love for her family and her faith in God somehow gave her the strength not only to somehow go on but to love life without bitterness, and to instill in all of us a gratitude for every day we have together."
While it may sound "greedy" to crave more time with someone who lived to see 92, the fact that she had a long life "does not diminish but only magnifies the enormity of the room whose door has now quietly shut," Colbert said.
Closing out his tribute and preparing to switch over into his "Colbert Report" character, the host paused to remember an exchange he had with his mom last week.
"When I was leaving her, I leaned over and I said 'Mom, I'm going back to New York to do the show.' And she said, 'I can't wait to see it. I wouldn't miss it for the world.'"
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