"Colbert" Returns Monday with Salute to Ailing Mom

First new show since last week's sudden shutdown

By Scott Ross and Sam Schulz
|  Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012  |  Updated 12:43 PM EDT
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"Colbert" Returns Monday with Salute to Ailing Mom

Scott Gries/Picturegroup

Stephen Colbert returned to the air Monday night after a mysterious absence.

"The Colbert Report" headed back to the airwaves Monday night following a brief hiatus due to "unforeseen circumstances."

As he opened the show, Stephen Colbert joked about some of the rumors that circulated about his absence.

He also gave a veiled nod to a "lovely lady" — presumably his ailing 91-year-old mother, Lorna Colbert, whose illness The Associated Press had earlier reported was behind the show's shutdown.

"Evidently, having 11 children makes you tough as nails," Colbert added Monday. He is the youngest of 11 children.

Monday's show featured guest novelist and bookstore owner Ann Patchett.

Ticketholders for tapings of "Colbert" last Wednesday and Thursday had received an email advising them of the cancellations due to "unforeseen circumstances," with no explanation given.

“They are a very private family,” a source close to the show told the New York Post. “It’s not surprising that he did not want anyone to know what was going on.”

Before returning to the air Monday night, Colbert himself thanked fans for their support.

“My family and I would like to thank everyone who has offered their thoughts and prayers,” Colbert tweeted on Friday. “We are grateful and touched by your concern.”

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