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The Daily Show


The Daily Show, an Oral History

by Chris Smith


For those of you who have ever tried and failed, I would like you to meet Jon Stewart. When he first arrived at The Daily Show, he had been given a number of chances in show business, but had never truly succeeded.  He knew this was his last chance.  As it turned out, it was also an opportunity.  In his role as host, he transformed the show from standard late night comedy into something much greater.  Four nights a week, Stewart aimed his barbed wit at those who have impact: policy makers. 

Under his direction, The Daily Show came to be trusted by a generation of viewers, who rightfully felt that Jon would not lie to them.  Quite the opposite; he defended them against politicians who seemed to have forgotten the very people who put them in office.  As network news gradually devolved into “info-tainment”, Stewart used his comedic talent to critique both lawmakers and the press, who came to fear his scrutiny.  His passion for social justice was not only his salvation but also a beacon for those who sought to express their moral outrage against a dishonest government and reporters pushing a partisan agenda.

The real theme of this book is risk-taking.  To quote country singer Garth Brooks, “failure isn’t failure if a lesson from it’s learned”.   Having tried and failed, Stewart tried, and tried again.  I admire not only his tenacity, but also his decision to produce the show with intention and integrity.  He is a hero to many people, having used his voice to draw attention to hypocrisy and dishonesty in government.

In this book, there are many interviews with coworkers, employees, journalists and a few politicians as well. The author attempts to portray Stewart in a balanced fashion, and includes comments from haters as well as supporters.  Fast, fun and easy to read, this account also offers insight into the mechanics of producing a television show. Stewart is truly inspiring as he demonstrates how one man’s voice can change the world.


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