Stephen Colbert's Sister is Running for Congress, but Will He Campaign for Her?

The giddy speculation about campaign theatrics might be misplaced. Even if a family face-off with Mark Sanford sounds "awesome."

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Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, a marketing director at Clemson University and the sister of comedian-personality-entertainer Stephen Colbert, is running for Congress. She lives in South Carolina with her family and will be trying to fill Senator Tim Scott's recently vacated seat — indeed, the same seat sought by former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford. According to Patch reporter Shawn Drury, Colbert-Busch's entry will to be made official next week, but until then — and for many months after, probably — she'll have to navigate the widespread obsession with her brother, Stephen, of The Colbert Report. From Drury's report:

Stephen Colbert raised hundreds of thousands of dollars via his own Super PAC for his own faux political aspirations. Speculation is already rampant as to whether or not Colbert will ramp up the Super PAC for his sister or appear in SC1 on her behalf.

A Democratic official gushed to Buzzfeed about the money he could raise on her behalf: "Her brother mentions her once on his show and, what, that's a quarter of a million dollars right there." It's almost like famous brother is the one who's running!

Still, it's possible that such giddy speculation about campaign theatrics — "This race is going to be awesome"! — is misplaced. That's because Stephen Colbert is one name shared by two men: Stephen Colbert the devout Catholic and Sunday school teacher, and Stephen Colbert the aggressive court jester of Comedy Central. If he were to campaign for his sister, then, he'd either have to break character — which would defeat the purpose of his endorsement — or compromise the boundary between his two lives.

Yes, it's true that his dual personalities narrowly intersected a year ago when Colbert (the jester, the one with the silent "t") established his own SuperPAC and began raising actual money for a campaign that never materialized. But according to numerous profiles, Colbert keeps a Chinese wall between his two selves, reserving his comedy act for television, and his realer, calmer self for his family.

This doesn't take into account pure political calculation, of course. (He almost certainly wants his sister to win.) But when your schtick depends on the ruthless mocking of political calculation — as Colbert's does — a truly earnest endorsement is probably the last thing you want to agree to.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.