Stephen Colbert started his career in comedy by joining the reknowned Second City improv group in Chicago, IL. There he met actress/comedian Amy Sedaris (sister of author and NPR favorite David Sedaris) and comic Paul Dinello. Together, they developed the short-lived (but critically acclaimed) HBO sketch comedy series Exit 57, which won five Cable ACE awards in 1995 for best writing, performing, and comedy series.
In 1996, he was hired to write and perform sketches for The Dana Carvey Show (aka the "Mug Root Beer" Dana Carvey Show, aka the "Taco Bell" Dana Carvey Show). This was also a short-lived endeavor, but Colbert stood out as a Phil Hartman-like everyman capable of exuding both exuberance and despair in a single take. From there, he worked with Robert Smigel as the voice of Ace for Saturday Night Live's animated shorts Ace & Gary: The Ambiguously Gay Duo. Colbert has also contributed his vocal talents as Reducto and Phil Ken Sebben on Adult Swim's Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law and several characters on Crank Yankers.
Colbert, Sedaris and Dinello struck a collaboration again in 1999, and developed Strangers With Candy for Comedy Central. Colbert has one dramatic role to his credit: on an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent he portrayed an antiquarian document forger who lives with his crazy mother. The storyline for this episode appears to be "ripped" nearly frame by frame from an episode of CourtTV's Masterminds.
Since 1997, Stephen Colbert has been best known as a fake senior correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He works alongside Steve Carell, who does the voice for Gary, the other half of the aforementioned Ambiguously Gay Duo.