Joe Biden Late Show

Joe Biden Reflects on the Life and Loss of Son Beau in Late Show Interview

Stephen Colbert has attempted a number feats in his first week as host of The Late Show, but it was his 20-minute interview with Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday that will likely prove his greatest accomplishment.

Less than three minutes into the discussion, Colbert offered his condolences on the recent loss of Biden’s son Beau to brain cancer, cuing up a refreshingly honest, open conversation about life and death you’d never expect to see on latenight TV.

“My dad had an expression,” Biden said with tears in his eyes. “You know you’re a success as a parent when you look at your child and realize they turned out better than you. I was a hell of a success, but my son was better than me … in almost every way.”

Colbert then steered the conversation towards Biden’s faith:

“My religion is just an enormous sense of solace,” he said. “Some of it relates to ritual, some of it relates to comfort in what you’ve done in your life. I go to Mass and I’m able to be alone, even in a crowd. … The faith doesn’t always stick with you. Sometimes it leaves me.”

To say any more would be to rob you of the chance to experience this incredible interview for yourself, so I’ll end it there. Check out both halves of the discussion below — bookmark this page and come back later if you don’t have time now — then drop a comment with your take on Biden and Colbert’s inspiring conversation.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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14 Comments
  1. ajdito says:

    The others in this presidential race don’t even compare to Biden….genuine, honest, humble, gracious, smart…just an all around great person…we could only be so lucky that someone of his class would want to lead this country

  2. Jake says:

    It was a remarkable interview; we learned a great deal about both men in those 20-or-so minutes. More than we would have in a network news interview, which seems to serve primarily to show how clever the host is. Letterman, with elected officials and candidates, was always one of the top interviewers out there and it’s great to see Colbert filling his shoes in this regard. It was surprising and truly risky for Colbert to drop any pretense of impartiality after only four shows, but the result, for all of us, was a truly rare and honest show of Biden’s soul. I hope he runs, too, and I hope Colbert goes after Trump like a pit bull and knocks him on his butt.

    • Jane L. says:

      Agreed! I’ve missed Letterman the past few months and Colbert’s combination of being smart, funny, and compassionate shows that he will be a great successor. On the same night, Stephen’s interview of the Uber CEO (who came off a bit smug) also reminded me of the way Dave would ridicule contemporary culture without coming off too mean or combative.

  3. Mr. Tran K says:

    What an emotional interview. Nearly brought me to tears.

  4. JB says:

    Pretty much a free 20 minute ad for Biden.
    Interesting to see that Colbert is keeping up with medias love of liberals while never having anything positive to say about conservatives.
    On Tuesday, Colbert tried to tie Jeb Bush to his brother, last night he did no such thing to Biden to Obama (who hasn’t had a perfect record).

    If we want a one party system, all we have to do is stay this course…(and we know how great one party countries go :) ).

    There needs to be a check and balance system, as long as the media plays favorites, we won’t have that.

    • Matt says:

      Bush/Bush Obama/Biden. You see any difference?

    • Vfan says:

      Actually, the day after Jeb was on, Colbert commented that he feels like, after his interview, he could possibly vote for Jeb. He did not say it in a sarcastic manner. So I think that IS him something positive about a conservative.

    • sas510 says:

      Frankly, I believe you missed the point. This was not an “ad” for a (possible) presidential nominee. This was an open discussion on grief and loss with a man who happens to be the Vice President. Did you watch the Colbert Report, and, if so, did you see the episode when Stephen came back after he lost his mother? It’s not surprising that their interview went this route.

      Stephen respects Biden, that is clear, but he wasn’t disrespectful to Jeb Bush. He never tried to tie Jeb to his brother, rather he asked a question about their differences in policy. That is understandable considering he is possibly the third member of that immediate family to get the office. Besides, you’d only worry about Stephen tying Jeb to George if you were finally admitting problems with the George Bush presidency. Welcome to almost reality.

      • Angela says:

        This. Well said.
        I’m not a supporter of the Republican party, nor a conservative, and yet I think that Jeb Bush came off quite well in his interview with Stephen the other night. I think the man had some good things to say, and came off very genuine and respectful.

  5. PJ says:

    Haven’t watched the Biden episode yet, but I am really enjoying the Late Show. Stephen is doing a good job. There are obviously some nerves and clunky parts but I want to keep watching. I don’t know why everyone is so shocked he is not his character from the Report. How many times was it stated he would not bring his “character” to this show?

    I have been fatigued for some time from the whole man-child/virtual video thing that is both Jimmys. I like Fallon and Kimmel but I’ll be tuning in to Colbert’s show. It just feels more grown up and I like the variety of the guests.

  6. Angela says:

    Lovely, lovely interview. Very moving and honest and thoughtful.
    People talked about how some of the best moments of Craig Ferguson’s show were when he’d do monologues on his alcoholism or the struggles Britney Spears dealt with or the loss of his parents. I think Colbert could be like that here, too-if he keeps doing interviews like this, I think that’ll definitely make his show that much more special. I am all for seeing more of these kinds of conversations.

  7. Andrea says:

    That was a lovely interview. Based on the story about meeting a serviceman who served with Beau, it doesn’t sound like Joe is emotionally ready to run. I just hope he finds some peace in whatever his decision might be. I’m glad that the interview was two segments long. Good job, Stephen!

  8. john howard says:

    Vice president bidon u brought tears to my eyes .I am 51 years old and raised my son by my self now he 31 and not until he was about 25 did he say he loved me and know I live in West Virginia and he lives in Florida and now he has no time for me about once a month we talk I just wanted to tell u that u r a magnificent father witch I wish I had one especially like u and a vice President if u decide to run for president u will get my vote

  9. Phil King says:

    Sorry for your loss but you had that boy in your family over 30 YEARS. JOY is defined as “Gratitude combined with Praise” so find your JOY in this matter be grateful for time spent and Praise your higher entity inside you for allowing him not to be lost at age 7 like TAD was lost to another President in 1862. He did not have ISIS to contend with while grieving but still Abe and his wife were in tears and depressed but served. We need statesmen who see America as a work-in-progress. IF that is you, we need you. Otherwise, don’t taint the greatness of America’s resolve. Your son lived and died well. Find your JOY and get out of office… or serve like the Abraham’s did both in Genesis and in Washington, 1861-65. Move on as a servant your son looked UP to or move OUT. but move……now.