For so many of us, the words of Maurice Sendak were an imperative part of our childhoods. His transcendent and timeless tales, particularly the classic Where The Wild Things Are helped shape us into the adults we’ve become. Perhaps that’s why the 83-year-old author/illustrator’s appearance on Tuesday night’s episode of The Colbert Report struck such a nerve with fans whose lives he had impacted. Well, that, and it was so unbelievably, wake-the-person-next-to-you hilarious, it will live on your DVR forever.
Sendak, who sat down with future President of South Carolina (keep the faith!) Stephen Colbert for his first segment of Grim Colberty Tales, gave one of the most unflinchingly honest and painfully funny interviews in the show’s history. Not only did Sendak keep up with Colbert in a way most guests never can (then again, this is the person who created Max, so he knows how to get into the mind of a mischievous character), but he somehow made statements like “I didn’t set out to make children happy or make life better for them or easier for them” as magical as the very books he was seemingly indifferent about writing for us. (Who knew?! Also, didn’t this little piece of information from the Caldecott winner somehow make him more likeable?)
Watch the full clip below, in which Sendak discusses a wide variety of topics from Newt Gingrich (“[He's] an idiot of great renowned … hopelessly gross and vile”) to youths (“I like them as few and far between as I do adults”), explains what “the wild rumpus” really means, and learns from Colbert who Vin Diesel is. Be warned though, PopWatchers: The part about the controversial In The Night Kitchen is NSFW in that Colbert found a unique way to make the book Johnson-free. The exchange will make you laugh so hard you’ll no doubt startle your office. It’s worth it.
Did you wonder how in the world Stephen Colbert kept a straight face during any of that? Will you be tuning in for the second half of his appearance tonight? Share in the comments section below.