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Stephen Colbert’s Must-See Interview with Maurice Sendak

Stephen Colbert’s two-part interview with Where the Wild Things Are author/illustrator Maurice Sendak easily ranks as the most entertaining interview I’ve ever seen with a children’s book author. I’m sure it’ll be much discussed at the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators winter conference, which starts tomorrow in Manhattan.

  • You’ll find the Spike Jonez documentary about Maurice on Netflix.
    It’s called “Tell Them Anything” and it’s brilliant.

    • Sadly, it looks like it’s only available to “Save” now. Ah well.

  • Brian

    Just saw this last night — Sendak is brilliant!

  • Watching the interviews as they aired on Comedy Central had me in stitches. I adored the part where Colbert shows that he’s removed all the nudity from one of Sendak’s books (“…woah, that’s a lot of penises.”).

    Sendak’s closing diatribe against tablet media, however, was definitely the cherry on top.

  • Unavailable in my country.

  • Here’s a recent interview with Sendak that really is worth your time. Shiver…

    • Isn’t the NPR interview the one that the interviewer made note of Maurice’s early Mikey Mouse memorabilia and said “oh, you like Mikey Mouse?” in which Sendak said something like, “yes, this is Mickey Mouse, not that thing they have now…the Mickey Mouse they have now is a whore”. Mr. Sendak’s interviews are always worth reading/listening to.

      • Old Man Father Time

        It depends on which “Mickey we have now” he is referring to.

      • I think Muarice is only a fan of the “Steam Boat Willy” era Mickey.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        He did do a foreward/introduction to a Disney poster book that was released in the 70’s, but that’s all I know about that.

        Listening to the NPR interview, his’s deep regrets and personal interests kept reminding me of my late mother’s ambitions and depression she suffered in her last years. Kinda put me down a little.

  • Bob Harper

    I don’t remember laughing so hard at an interview. I think Colbert was even surprised a bit of Sendak’s sharpness. And speaking of “sharpness” the Sharpie segment was priceless.

  • Oh man, thanks Amid. This absolutely made my morning!

  • This is why Maurice Sendak is one of my all-time favorite people.

  • Scarabim

    Read the Bumble-Ardy article. First of all, it’s kind of a rehash of an earlier work of his. And second…wow, his drawing style has, um, changed. And not for the better.

    Something about his work always creeped me out, even as a kid. I’m beginning to understand why…

  • Thanks, Amid. I’ve always loved Maurice Sendak’s books and his love and respect for cartoon characters…but now I love him even more. (Mr. Colbert is aces, too.) I laughed long and loud at this wonderful interview.

  • tredlow

    Is it just me, or when Maurice Sendak called him an idiot, it sounded sincere?

  • Kevin H

    Maurice did an interview on NPR last year that broke my heart — very entertaining, but sounded like he was a very lonely soul.

    Also, is there somewhere where we can complain about the new advertising on the brew? Does it pay that much more to have it interrupt the visiting of the site and have to make the readers click out of the ad just to get to it?

    • If your talking about the pop up one that you get when first visiting the site, yeah, my iPhone certainly doesn’t like it. it sometimes crashes out on me.

    • Old Man Father Time

      After the Awards, they’ll be gone.

    • I posted a link to that disquieting Interview a bit further up. Makes colbert’s cheap cynicism look pretty boring.

  • I once developed characters for a show that was centered on a curmudgeonish, “tell-it-like-it-is” character based on Sendak. After these interviews, I finally understand the total appeal, a kind of all-seeing Magoo.

  • Old Man Father Time

    This is the best interview I ever watched.

  • I saw that interview. I larfed.

  • tim g

    hehehehe!!! wow my love for those books just grew so much now! :) What a cool guy!

  • Van

    haha! Colbert should really publish that book. I would buy it.

  • Bill

    I liked his comment about hating book signings. Many years ago he was making the rounds in LA. One scheduled signing was not planned out well and the crowd was huge. After waiting over two hours, many people, including myself, were turned away. They had booked Maurice at another event and he couldn’t finish the signings.

    I wrote him a letter expressing my disappontment. I received a nice letter back saying he had attempted to call me (!) but my number was unlisted.

    A few years ago the Maurice Sendak Elementry School opened a few blocks from my house. Glad to see him honored in this way.

  • E. Nygma

    Wow that was hilarious! I love how much he hates the business he’s in. He’s right though, 98% of children’s book are crap…but if you really look, I find the other 2% can be pretty amazing and some of the best illustration around.

  • Drew Perkins

    Simply hilarious! Sendak sniffing the sharpies and his response to E-books = Priceless!

  • This was brilliant. Yes, it was definitely talked about at the SCBWI Winter Conference this past weekend. There was even great applause when it was mentioned during one of the keynote speeches. He’s pretty much dead-on with the state of the children’s book industry!

  • Man! That was the best interview I’ve heard in a while. Thanks!

  • Dieter

    i found this piece to be outside over there.

  • Colbert: Why write for children?

    Sendak: I don’t write for children..

    Coldbert: You don’t?

    Sendak: No, I write and somebody says that’s for children..
    I didn’t set out to make children happy…”