Stephen Colbert Recalls 'Horrible' Trip on Magic Mushrooms

"The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert says he had a bad experience with psilocybin while in college.

The Late Show host Stephen Colbert's middle name must be coy. That's how he's repeatedly dealt with questions about his personal drug use.

Colbert's discussion with psychedelics expert Michael Pollan on July 20 proved to be typical. When he broached the topic of magic mushrooms, Colbert crawled back into his private space and joked about a "friend" having a bad experience on fungi many years ago. 

Here's how it went:

Colbert: I haven't the slightest idea what a proper dose of mushrooms is. And I'm not going to say whether I've taken them...

Pollan: I understand...

Colbert: But I will say this: I have a dear friend who has my same name who...

Pollan: [laughs]

Colbert: ...when he was in college took what he now considers way too much.

Note: Colbert attended two colleges - Northwestern University and Hampden–Sydney College - from 1982-1985.

[Audience laughs]

Colbert: The building was digesting him and he would've flown off the planet if he hadn't held on to Jeannie Pisicontii's peasant skirt for four hours.

[Pollan laughs]

Colbert: I'm still, um, my friend is still waiting to recover and think that was a good idea, because it was horrible.

Pollan: That can happen. That can definitiely happen. But it's much less likely to happen if you approach the experience with some preparation with a guide who knows how much you should take and not more than that and help you make sense of it. You can have a very terrifiyng experience that is actually incredibly insstructive.

Colbert: Oh, it was...I have been told.

Psilocybin mushrooms are still illegal in most parts of America and remain a Schedule I drug, meaning they have no accepted medical use and are considered a drug of abuse. But so is cannabis, which Colbert has also been cagey about.

Last year, after Eric Adams was elected to become New York's next mayor, he appeared on The Late Show with a bag of gifts, including roilling papers, for the host.

Adams: As you know, marijuana is legal. 

Colbert: I did not know. I am not aware, Mr. Mayor. I'm not into that scene.

RELATED: Flashback to How I Changed My Mind: A First-Time LSD Story

Sometimes Colbert gets confused and thinks he's still the conservative character he played previously on The Colbert Report

He mentioned odors plaguing New York in his July 19 monologue and then went to a clip of Adams speaking: 

“The No. 1 thing I smell right now is pot. It’s like everybody’s smoking a joint right now. Everybody has a joint.”


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.