Remembering Maurice Sendak through his Stephen Colbert interview


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Just months before his passing on Tuesday, Maurice Sendak sat down for one of his final interviews with Stephen Colbert on ‘The Colbert Report.’

The occasion was the publication of what would become Sendak’s final book, ‘Bumble-Ardy,’ and Colbert’s own pitch for a children’s book, which Sendak reacted to with his typical blunt nature.


The two-part interview quickly became a viral online sensation, with more than 300,000 views of the first part of the interview on the website (most ‘Colbert’ video clips get fewer than 100,000 views).

By coincidence, Colbert was scheduled to be on ‘Live With Kelly!’ on Tuesday morning to discuss his children’s book, ‘I’m a Pole (And So Can You),’ and spoke a few words to mark his passing: ‘Just the most wonderful artist, and just a tremendously honest guy. And it was such an honor for those of us at the show to get to know him.’

Among the most quotable Sendak lines from the original Colbert interview:

‘Newt Gingrich is an idiot of great renown.... There is something so hoplessly gross and vile about him that it’s hard to take him seriously. So let’s not take him seriously.’

‘I don’t write for children. I write. And someone says, ‘That’s for children.’ ‘

‘I didn’t set out to make children happy. Or make life better for them. Or easier for them.... I like them as few and for between as I do adults. Maybe a bit more because I really don’t like adults.’

One-word review of ‘Give a Mouse a Cookie’: ‘Eh.’

On what it takes to cash-in as a celebrity on the book market: ‘You’ve started already by being an idiot. That’s the very first demand.’

Reaction to Colbert’s children’s book ‘I’m a Pole (And So Can You)’: ‘The sad thing is, I like it.’


On Colbert’s drawing of a flag pole: ‘I would leave it alone because it has a kind of delicacy and irrationality and terrible quality of ordinariness.’

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— Patrick Kevin Day