Howdy folks! I’m substitute writer on today’s Typing Tuesday, which means everyone is free to take the hall pass so that they can go smoke out in the bathroom while I inappropriately hit on the redhead in the front row who I’ve conveniently convinced myself is 18. Hey, at least that’s what my subs did.
Anyway, what type is Stephen Colbert? My opinion on the “certainty” of typing anybody can be found here, but that being said- or unsaid depending on whether you clicked that link or not- the most common guesses that I’ve seen on the web: ENTP, ENFP, and INFP.
That’s a lot of “P”s there. I assume it’s because people with (P)erceiving traits are assumed to be spontaneous jokesters who engage in free-wheeling fun, while people with (J)udging traits mainly just want to do their taxes, plan weddings, and run Fortune 500 companies. Of course, those ESFJ Elephants, who might be the most extroverted of all the types, seem pretty adventurous to me. Not to mention those camp counselor-ish, leadership seminar leading ENFJ Dolphins- always trying to convince me into doing their damn trust falls. I think those two types might chafe at the assumption that they are less likely to be capable of humor and frivolity than other types. Perhaps this is the problem with tight dichotomies; they leave no room for nuance.
Instead, let’s look at what Stephen Colbert seems- big emphasis there- to prioritize in his life.
As a comic, he revels in satire. Whether he’s skewering President George W. Bush, or cleverly giving a congresswoman enough rope to hang herself, Colbert gets his laughs by revealing human foibles. To me, this means that there’s a high likelihood that he’s i(N)tuitive, as “S” comics tend to favor physical humor, light ribbing, and dirty jokes fired with clean precision.
In his personal life, Colbert is a devout Catholic. Might this eliminate him from being a Rational (NT)? The numbers probably bear it out- a large majority of NTs are atheists- but I would hesitate to make that assumption, if only for fear that I might be culpable of the very generalizations that I’ve come to loathe. A better question to ask: is he an Idealist (NF)? I think the video below is quite revealing.
“God is love”… That’s Hell. To be alone”. Beautifully said… by an Idealist.
The most sociable Rational in the world would never equate Hell with being alone. Maybe as one of its minor circles, like the place where false preachers get their feet scorched by hellfire, but definitely not in lake of ice territory.
If Colbert is an Idealist, it wouldn’t be news to the blogosphere- as mentioned before, ENFP and INFP are popular guesses for his type. However, let’s remove the simple organized “J” vs. flexible “P” dichotomy in favor of something a little deeper. The most significant difference between NFJs and NFPs is that the former group tends to work within the system, while the latter group tends to work outside the system. The NFJ is the community-oriented reformer to the NFP’s subversive revolutionary. This might come as a surprise, probably due to the blustery O’Reilly/Hannity/Beck/Coulter mutation he created for “The Colbert Report”, but I believe that Colbert is closer to the patient, pragmatic NFJ.
Just watch as he cooly debates with Ted Cruz, and then defends him from the jeers of the audience at the 4 minute mark:
That was not exactly an ENFP/INFP move. It’s not that they’re not gracious. It’s just that when debating on issues that are of great importance to them, ENFPs and INFPs are more likely to let opponents choke on their own words, rather than defend them from a crowd incensed by said opponents attempts to slither away. Let’s face it, for all of their good intentions, ENFP Baboons and INFP Humpback Whales aren’t always the nicest of people when they disagree with you on a matter of importance.
That’s why I believe that Colbert is an ENFJ Dolphin. He seeks consensus rather than enmity. As a T.V. host, he works outside the system- though working for CBS isn’t exactly like hosting pirate radio- but in his personal life, he worships within one. He taught Sunday School, and from the previous video, it seems like he views the writings of his faith in a figurative way, ignoring the dogma and, instead, choosing to focus on those ideas with which he wholeheartedly agrees. This is typical of Dolphins, who wish to reform the system, not tear it down. Lastly, he is great at moderating conversations. We very rarely get to see this, as most of the time his interviews are performed in a one-on-one setting. But watch the video below (I apologize for the poor quality). I don’t think I’ve ever seen Colbert more natural than in this interview. Notice how he ensures not only that each guest has the opportunity to express their opinions, but feels comfortable in doing so, which always leads to better conversation as guests are more likely to open up and say what they truly feel. This is a skill that other types may acquire, but comes naturally for an ENFJ Dolphin.
I guess that’s the sublime thing about Dolphins. They can make us feel comfortable as we question the very things that give us comfort.
I disagree with this. NFPs pride themselves on seeing multiple perspectives and not getting stuck into “right/wrong” mindsets. Even if we disagree, we may think your individual view still deserves a hearing. Disrespecting people who disagree with you is not some NFP thing.
NFJs seem much more allergic to debate, and Extroverted Feeling seems more likely to use social shaming as a tool to create consensus.
I really could see any NF being gracious enough to defend a GUEST who gets booed though.
I can understand why you may think this way, based on your view of INFPs as iconoclastic reformers, but 5% of the population cannot realistically take on the role of a rebellious reformer. By necessity we function within social structure and Introverted Feeling ideals often means promoting respect for differences in people.
Diplomacy is associated with NFs in general, and INFPs are more frequently enneatype 9, which sort of embodies diplomacy when healthy.
Thank you very much for your critique. I was about to comment on the same issue – that Colbert actually IS an INFP. It is absolutely normal for celebrities to represent themselves differently.
However, I think it’s mainly the Fe issue that leads to mistyping. INFP’s are compassionate human beings, especially nines like you already mentioned come across as very Fe-ish. Tom Hiddleston for example (INFP, 9) gets also mistyped as an ENFJ.
A lot of Fe and well-adjusted introversion is apparently all it takes.