University President Drew G. Faust may have maintained a cool composure when she appeared on "The Colbert Report" in mid-September, but in actuality she was "terrified."
Faust during a conversation with students at Kirkland House Wednesday evening described her interview with comedian Stephen Colbert as one that was "really fun" in retrospect but was, in prospect, "terrifying."
Faust appeared on the show to promote "Death and the Civil War," a PBS documentary based on her book entitled "The Republic of Suffering." The film chronicles the impact of the Civil War's unprecedented casualty count on the American people.
"I thought, how am I going to be funny, or how is he going to be funny about the subject of death," Faust said. "So I entered the fray with some trepidation."
Colbert staffers sent Faust possible questions prior to the interview, according to the Faust. The list, she said, left her concerned that she might "say something so outrageous" on television.
"I won't even tell you in public what some of these questions were," Faust said. "Thank goodness he didn't ask most of them."
During the segment Colbert took several jabs at Harvard and its reputation for intellectualism, but took a serious tone when addressing questions related to Faust's book.
Faust said Colbert told her after the interview that both he and his wife's ancestors fought in the Civil War.
"I think he thought death and the Civil War isn't a joke and when he got to that part of the [interview] he just took it very seriously," Faust said.