Stephen Colbert is totally creeped out by living replica of van Gogh's ear

"Why, God? Why?"

By Sarah Gray
June 10, 2014 5:15PM (UTC)
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Last night's "Craziest F#?king Thing I've Ever Heard" segment on "The Colbert Report" was actually about an ear. Not just any ear: Stephen Colbert was wigging out over a living replica of Vincent van Gogh's severed left ear, which the painter cut off in 1888 during a psychotic episode.

“Folks, if you’re someone like me," Colbert mused, "whenever you see masterpieces by someone like Vincent van Gogh, whether it be 'Starry Night' or 'Sunflowers,' it always makes you ask the big questions like, ‘What would his chopped off ear look like?’”


Currently such an ear is on display at a museum in Germany. U.S.-based artist Diemut Strebe used DNA from van Gogh's great-great nephew, Lieuwe van Gogh, to re-create a live replica of the famed painter's ear. The ear is currently being stored in a nutrient-rich solution, and as part of the exhibit visitors can talk to the ear through a microphone -- and maybe even ask van Gogh's ear a question.

"I've got one," Colbert stated. "Why, God? Why?"

The clip is below:


Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email

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