Who Is The Real Stephen Colbert?

The announcement that Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman on the Late Show has many wondering, who is the real Stephen Colbert? INSIDE EDITION takes a look.

Stephen Colbert reacts to the news that he's replacing David Letterman just as his loyal fans expect him to—by staying in character and making jokes!

"I gotta tell you, I do not envy whoever they try to put in that chair," Colbert said on The Colbert Report.

Punch-lines aside, the big question is, who is the man behind the comical facade of the blustery blowhard he plays on Comedy Central? It's a hotly-debated topic!  

Mary Murphy of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism told INSIDE EDITION, "It really is a risk, because we have no idea who the real Stephen Colbert is. Will he be able to do interviews with people as himself and not as his charater?"

See What Else Murphy Had To Say About the Real Colbert

Colbert acknowledges that he's a mystery to many, saying in a statement: "I won't be doing the new show in character, so we'll all get to find out how much of him was me."

Until he went to college, he was Stephen "Col-bert." Then, he reinvented himself as "Col-bear"! His older brother, Ed kept the original name as he revealed in a hilarious 2009 appearance on The Colbert Report when Stephen asked, "First of all, your name. Col-bear or Colbert?"

"Colbert," replied his brother, Ed.

"See you in Hell," joked Colbert.

He revealed his warm and human side when his mom died last June.

Colbert's Comedy Central buddy, Jon Stewart is wishing him the best, saying, "There is no greater joy than seeing a genuinely good man who works as hard as he can every day and deserves all of the success in the world actually get that success. For Stephen, we're just thrilled."

Colbert was a guest on Jimmy Fallon's very first Tonight Show. Next year, they'll be competing toe-to-toe in the late night wars.

"I just want to say there is not going to be any war. It'll be a danceoff," joked Fallon.

And Arsenio Hall played it for laughs, claiming that he was David Letterman's first choice for the late show job.

Hall joked, "Dave asked me personally when I was on his show back in September."

Then Hall showed a clip of himself as a guest on the Late Show, with fake audio of Letterman asking, "What kind of show will you be doing? Because you know, Arsenio, I'm retiring and I want you to replace me."

"Let me think about that," said Hall.

The fake audio played again with Letterman saying, "Replace me. Replace me. Come on, you're like a brother to me!"