He will never be the next Timothy Treadwell, because Stephen Colbert is scared.
Terrified, in fact. And he wants everyone to be, too.
“I don’t think it’s possible to rally for sanity,” Colbert said Friday. “I don’t think its possible to get excited about moderate behavior. that’s why I’m offering fear as something to get excited about.”
The host of “The Colbert Report” is bringing the “March to Keep Fear Alive” to the National Mall Oct. 30 to remind everyone that a little fear can go a long way.
“I think if you just contemplate fearful things, I don’t have to get you excited,” said Colbert. “Fear is a fight-or-flight response. we knew to be afraid of snakes, and people who didn’t know to be afraid of snakes didn’t get to have children.”
But fear doesn’t only aid survival; it’s also a practical study tool.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever had a term paper or a paper due the next day,” he said. “You got that done in one night because you were afraid of not getting it done. that’s the power of fear.”
In college, Colbert was scared of nuclear annihilation from the Russians and AIDS, and while “the fear of communists and of gay people” hasn’t changed much in the following years, he has.
“It was the ’80s. I was a theater student, and there was at least one occasion where I wore eyeliner, and that’s terrifying,” he said. “Oh, and I had a beard.”
Today, Colbert believes students should be scared of graduating with the current job market. His advice: “Just stretch those credits out.” But if graduation is imminent, Colbert thinks students will be fine. They can just work in the fields.
The future, Colbert’s greatest fear next to bears – gay immigrant bears to be specific – is looming overhead as one competitor too reasonable to back down in the face of fear stands in his way. Jon Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity” will occur on the same day as Colbert’s march, but Colbert is not afraid. Just in case, he’s bringing armed guards, and maybe some Hell’s Angels.
Despite his fear of Stewart’s graying hair and reasonableness, Colbert still doesn’t hate him. The TV host wasn’t raised to hate others, but he’s still scared of more people going to Stewart’s rally.
“Bursting into tears and curling up into the fetal position rank high in my backup plans,” said Colbert on what he would do if more people attended Stewart’s rally.
Beyond wanting Stewart to admit he’s terrified, Colbert also wants to raise half a million dollars for the online charity Donors Choose, which has an “immediate effect” on classrooms across the country by providing public schools with anything from pencils to violins.
For the actual march, Colbert wants everyone to leave feeling something and acting out of emotion, not reason. But most of all, Colbert hopes that the fear rally becomes a “generation-defining event.”
“If that’s all I achieve with it,” said Colbert. “Then I will be satisfied.”