Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart

Infobox Comedian
name=Jon Stewart

caption=Stewart performing at a 2008 USO show
alma_mater=William & Mary
birth_name=Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz
birth_date=birth date and age|1962|11|28
birth_place=New York City, New York, United States
medium=stand-up, television, film, books
genre=Satire/political satire/news satire, observational comedy
subject=The media (esp. news media), American politics, current events, religion, Jewish culture, race relations, human sexuality, self-deprecation
influences=George Carlin, [cite video| people = Stewart, Jon| title = | medium = TV| publisher = HBO| year2 = 1997-02-27] Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, [cite web|url=|title=There Was Thought in His Rage|publisher="New York Times"|author=Keepnews, Peter|date=1999-08-08|accessdate=2008-06-23] David Letterman, [cite video |people=Stewart, Jon |title=The 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards|medium=TV| publisher= CBS| year2=2005-09-18] Steve MartinFact|date=June 2008
influenced=Stephen Colbertcite web|first = Maureen|last = Dowd|authorlink= Maureen Dowd|url =|title = America's Anchors|publisher = Rolling Stone|date = 2006-11-16|accessdate = 2007-10-09] , Lewis Black
spouse=Tracey McShane, 2 children
notable_work=Host of "The Daily Show"
emmyawards=Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program
2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 "The Daily Show"
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 "The Daily Show"
grammyawards= Best Comedy Album
2005 "

Jon Stewart (born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz; November 28, 1962), is an American comedian, satirist, actor, writer, and producer. He is best known as the host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and for his political satire. Stewart started as a stand-up comedian, but later branched out to television, hosting "Short Attention Span Theater" for Comedy Central. He went on to host his own show on MTV, called "The Jon Stewart Show," and then hosted another show on MTV called You Wrote It, You Watch It." Although he often jokes that he and his wife legally changed their surname from Leibowitz because people had difficulty pronouncing it or because it "sounded too Hollywood", he has implied that the name change was actually due to a strained relationship with his father, a physicist who left the family in 1971 and with whom Stewart no longer has any contact.Fact|date=October 2008

Stewart became the host of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central in early 1999. He is also a writer and co-producer of the show. After Stewart joined, "The Daily Show" steadily gained popularity and critical acclaim leading to his first Emmy Award in 2001. Stewart himself has also gained significant acclaim as a critic of the Bush administration and of personality-driven media shows, in particular the coverage of the U.S. news media networks CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. Critics say Stewart benefits from a double standard: he critiques other news shows from the safe, removed position of his "fake news" desk. [cite web|accessdate=2008-04-23|url=|title=CNN CROSSFIRE|publisher=CNN] Stewart himself agrees, countering that neither his show nor his channel purports to be anything other than satire and comedy, noting that "The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls." In spite of its self-professed entertainment mandate, "The Daily Show" has been nominated for a number of news and journalism awards [cite web|accessdate=2008-04-23|url=|title=Jon Stewart: Journalist or Comedian?|publisher=YES! Magazine] .

Stewart hosted the 78th Academy Awards and the 80th Academy Awards and is the co-author of "America (The Book)" which was one of the best-selling books in the U.S in 2004.cite web|url= |publisher=USA Today|title=The top 100 selling books of 2004|date=2004-12-20|accessdate=2006-11-06]

Personal background

Jon Stewart was born in New York City [cite web|title =America's Best Artists and Entertainers: Talk Show Host: Jon Stewart|url=|publisher=CNN|year=2001| accessdate=2007-04-07] to a Jewish family and grew up in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, where he attended Lawrence High School. His mother, Marian, is an educational consultant and teacher, and his father, Donald Leibowitz, is a physics professor at The College of New Jersey. Stewart was a member of the school band as a French horn player. Stewart has said that he was subjected to considerable harassment from some of his classmates as he was the only Jewish student. He describes himself in high school as "very into Eugene Debs and a bit of a leftist." [cite web|last=Adato|first=Alison|title=Anchor Astray|publisher=George|year=2000|url=|accessdate=2006-03-29] He graduated from Lawrence High School third in his class [cite news|last=Smith|first=Chris|title=Heeeere's Jonny!|publisher=Us|date=February 1999] and was voted "Best Sense of Humor."cite web|url=|title=MTV Has a Hit With Words By Jon Stewart|publisher=The New York Times|author=Gerston, Jill|date=1994-03-13|accessdate=2008-03-09]

Stewart attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, majoring in psychology and playing on the men's soccer team.cite web|url= |title=Jon Stewart Biography|publisher=Yahoo!|accessdate=2006-11-06] An award titled the "Leibo" is now given out annually in honor of Stewart to the member of the men's soccer team who experiences the most personal growth and provides the most laughs for his teammates. Stewart was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, but became inactive after six months, objecting to the hazing. Stewart claims he was "miserable" at college. [cite web|last=White|first=Deborah|title=Profile of Jon Stewart, Political Comedian||date=2006-02-26|url=|accessdate=2006-07-22]

After graduating from William and Mary in 1984, Stewart held numerous jobs, including: contingency planner for the New Jersey Department of Human Services, contract administrator for City University of New York, puppeteer for children with disabilities, construction worker, caterer, busboy, shelf stocker at Woolworth's, assistant soccer coach at a high school, and bartender at a local blue-collar bar, the Franklin Corner Tavern. During part of this time, Stewart roomed with future congressman Anthony Weiner, who, to date, is the only politician to have received campaign donations from the "Daily Show" host. [cite web|title=Jon Stewart Federal Campaign Contributions Report|publisher=Newsmeat|date=2006-08-14| url=|accessdate=2006-08-18]

Stewart married Tracey McShane, his girlfriend of four years, in 2000. The couple met on a blind date set up by a production assistant on Stewart's film, Wishful Thinking. [ [ "An hour with the host of 'The Daily Show' Jon Stewart] ." Charlie Rose. (2001-08-15). Position: 51 minutes, 28 seconds. Retrieved on 2008-07-18. ] [ [ Beau Bridges] .The Daily Show. (2002-04-23). Position: 4 minutes, 50 seconds. Retrieved on 2008-07-18.] [ Retrieved on 2008-07-18. ] [ [ Interview With Jon Stewart] . "Larry King Live" Retrieved on 2008-07-18]

On June 19, 2001, Stewart and his wife filed a joint name-change application and legally changed both of their last names to "Stewart." [cite web|title=The Smoking Gun: Archive|publisher=The Smoking Gun|url=|accessdate=2007-02-18]

He proposed to his future wife through a personalized crossword puzzle created with the help of Will Shortz, the crossword editor at "The New York Times" The couple had their first child, Nathan Thomas Stewart (named after Stewart's grandfather), on July 3, 2004. Their second child, a daughter, Maggie Rose Stewart, was born on February 4, 2006. [cite web|last=Baker|first=KC|coauthors=Silverman, Stephen M.|title=A Baby Girl for Jon Stewart|publisher=People| date=2006-02-07|url=,,1157245,00.html|accessdate=2008-10-08] They also have a cat named Stanley and two pit bull terriers, Monkey and Shamsky, (named after Art Shamsky).

In 2004, Stewart spoke at the commencement ceremonies at his alma mater, William and Mary, and was presented with an honorary Doctor of Arts degree. [cite web|last=Stewart|first=Jon|title=Jon Stewart's ('84) Commencement Address|publisher=College of William and Mary|date=2004-05-20|url=|accessdate=2008-10-08] Stewart was also the Class Day keynote speaker at Princeton University in 2004. In addition to his interest in soccer, Jon Stewart is also an avid baseball fan; his favorite team is the New York Mets. [cite web|url=|title= Q&A: Jon Stewart|author=Dietsch, Richard|publisher=Sports Illustrated|date=2006-03-03|accessdate=2007-06-24] He describes his political affiliation as independent. [cite web|title=CNN Transcript: Larry King Live: Jon Stewart Looks Back at Election 2000|work=Larry King Live|publisher=CNN|date=2000-12-15|url=|accessdate=2007-03-25]

Professional background

Early work

With a reputation for being a funny man even in school, Jon Stewart moved to New York City in 1986 to try his hand at the comedy club circuit, but he could not muster the courage to get on stage until the following year. [cite web|url=|title=He Has Faith in His Jokes|publisher="Los Angeles Times"|author=McLellan, Dennis|date=1993-05-27|accessdate=2008-06-03] He made his stand-up debut at The Bitter End, the same place where his comedic idol, Woody Allen, began.cite web|author=Speidel, Maria|url=|title=Prince of Cool Air|publisher=People|date= 1994-04-04|accessdate=2007-05-07] He began using the stage name "Jon Stewart" by dropping his last name and changing the spelling of his middle name "Stuart" to "Stewart." He often jokes this is because people had difficulty with the pronunciation of Leibowitz or it "sounded too Hollywood," (a reference to Lenny Bruce's joke on the same theme).cite web|url=|title=Nighttime Talk, MTV Style|publisher="The Record"|author=Howard, Susan|date=1994|accessdate=2008-06-03] Stewart became a regular at the Comedy Cellar where he was the last performer every night. For two years, he would perform at 2 a.m. while developing his comedic style. [cite episode|title=Jon Stewart|episodelink=Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg|series=Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg|serieslink=Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg|network=TV Land|airdate=2007-03-14|season=2|number=4] In 1989, he landed his first television job as a writer for "Caroline's Comedy Hour". In 1991, he began hosting Comedy Central's "Short Attention Span Theater". In 1992, Stewart hosted the short-lived "You Wrote It, You Watch It" on MTV, which invited viewers to send in their stories to be acted out by the comedy troupe The State. When David Letterman left NBC in 1993, Stewart was a finalist to replace him, but Conan O'Brien was hired instead.

Later in 1993, Stewart developed his own talk show at MTV. Despite the quick cancellation of his previous MTV show, the network was still eager to work with him. "The Jon Stewart Show" was the first talk show on that network and was an instant hit, becoming the second- highest rated MTV show behind "Beavis and Butt-head". [cite web|url=|title=New York's Mr. Schmooze|author=Kaplan, Michael|publisher=TV Guide|date=1994-02-19|accessdate=2007-06-21] In 1994, Paramount pulled the plug on "The Arsenio Hall Show" and, with new corporate sibling MTV (through MTV parent Viacom's acquisition of the studio), launched an hour-long syndicated late-night version of "The Jon Stewart Show'." Many local affiliates had moved Hall's show to 2 a.m. during its decline and Stewart's show inherited such early morning time slots in many cities. Ratings were dismal and the show was canceled in June 1995.

Amongst the fans of the show was David Letterman, who was the final guest of "The Jon Stewart Show". Letterman signed Stewart with his production company, Worldwide Pants. [cite web|url=|title=Comic Stewart Set to Head CBS Talker|publisher="The Plain Dealer"|date=1996-06-06|accessdate=2008-06-03] Stewart then became a frequent guest host for Tom Snyder on "The Late Late Show", which was produced by Letterman and aired after "Late Show" on CBS. This led to much speculation that Stewart would soon replace Snyder permanently, [cite web|url=|title=Stewart to Sub -- Not Take Over -- for Snyder|publisher="USA Today"|author=Johnson, Peter|date=1996-10-01|accessdate=2008-06-03] yet Stewart was instead offered the time slot after Snyder which he turned down. [cite web|url=|title=What's the Deal With Stewart?|publisher="New York Post"|author=Adaliang, Josef|date=1997-11-25|accessdate=2008-06-03]

"The Daily Show"

In 1999, Stewart began hosting "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central when Craig Kilborn left the show to replace Tom Snyder on "The Late Late Show" The show, which has been hugely popular and wildly successful in cable television since Stewart became the host, blends humor with the day's top news stories, usually in politics, while simultaneously poking fun at politicians and many newsmakers as well as the news media itself. In an interview on The O'Reilly Factor, Stewart denies the show has any intentional political agenda, saying the goal was "schnicks and giggles." "The same weakness that drove me into comedy also informs my show," meaning that he was uncomfortable talking without hearing the audience laugh. [cite web|accessdate=2008-04-23|url=|title=Jon Stewart on The O'Reilly Factor|publisher=YouTube]

Stewart has since hosted almost all airings of the program, except for a few occasions when correspondents such as Stephen Colbert, Rob Corddry, and for a whole week Steve Carell, have filled in at the anchor desk. Stewart has won a total of ten Emmys for "The Daily Show" as either a writer or producer.cite web|title=Awards for Jon Stewart|publisher=Internet Movie Database|url=|accessdate=2008-04-23] In 2005, "The Daily Show" and Jon Stewart also received a Best Comedy Album Grammy Award for the audio book edition of "America (The Book)". In 2000 and 2004, the show won two Peabody Awards for its coverage of the presidential elections relevant to those years, called "" and "," respectively.

One of the show's most serious moments remains the September 20, 2001 show—the first show after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The show began with no introduction. Prior to this date, "The Daily Show" introduction included footage of a fly-in towards the World Trade Center and New York City. The first nine minutes of the show included a tearful Stewart discussing his personal view on the event. His remarks ended as follows:

Another notable moment occurred on April 4, 2006, when Stewart confronted his longtime friend, US Senator John McCain, about his decision to appear at Liberty University, an institution founded by Jerry Falwell, a man who McCain had previously denounced as one of the "agents of intolerance," [cite web|url=|title=Making Right Turn, McCain Embraces Falwell|publisher=ABC News|date=2006-04-14|accessdate=2008-10-08] [cite web|url=|title=John McCain on The Daily Show|accessdate=2006-07-26 |last=Madison|first=Lincoln|date=2006-04-05|work=The Third Path|publisher=Blogspot] In the interchange, Stewart asked McCain, "You're not freaking out on us? Are you freaking out on us, because if you're freaking out and you're going into the crazy base [politics] world—are you going into crazy base world?" McCain replied, "I'm afraid so." The clip was played on CNN and created a surge of articles across the blogosphere. [cite web|author=Candy Crowley|coauthors=Wolf Blitzer|url=|title=Transcripts: The Situation Room|work=The Situation Room|publisher=CNN|date=2006-03-15|accessdate=2006-07-26] [cite web|accessdate=2006-04-04|url=|title=John McCain on The Daily Show|publisher=Comedy Central]

Most recently "The Daily Show" was involved in former correspondent Stephen Colbert's announcement that he would run for president in 2008.

On October 18, 2007, Stewart renewed his contract with Comedy Central and will continue to host "The Daily Show" through 2010.

Stewart is paid a reported $1.5 million for one season of "The Daily Show". [cite web|accessdate=2008-04-23|url=|title=Who Makes How Much|publisher=New York magazine] According to the Forbes list of Celebrities, he earns $ 14 million per year. [cite web|accessdate=2008-07-22|url=|title=The Celebrity 100|]

peculation of replacing Letterman on "The Late Show"

In the middle of 2002, amid rumors that David Letterman was going to make a switch from CBS to ABC when his contract ran out with the former, Stewart was rumored to be the person who would take over Letterman's show on CBS. [cite web|last=Hiatt|first=Brian|title=David Letterman will stay at CBS|url=,,216668,00.html|publisher=Entertainment Weekly|date=2002-03-11|accessdate=2008-03-29] But ultimately, Letterman renewed his contract with CBS. On the March 9, 2002 episode of "Saturday Night Live" (hosted by Stewart), a "Weekend Update" sketch poked fun at the situation. In the middle of the sketch, Weekend Update anchor Jimmy Fallon said that he couldn't continue doing the broadcast and he brought Stewart in to replace him. Stewart glowed with excitement and chattered to himself about this chance to prove himself on network television. His pep talk went on too long, however, and before Stewart could deliver any headlines, Fallon returned and said he would be able to finish out the broadcast himself.

Later that year, ABC offered Stewart his own talk show to air after "Nightline'." Stewart's contract with "The Daily Show" was near expiring and he expressed strong interest. But ABC decided to give another Comedy Central figure, Jimmy Kimmel, the post-"Nightline" slot. [cite web|author=Carter, Bill|url=|title=In the Land of the Insomniac, the Narcoleptic Wants to Be King |publisher="The New York Times"|date=2002-11-03]

"Crossfire" appearance

In a televised exchange with former CNN personality Tucker Carlson on "Crossfire" on October 15, 2004, Stewart criticized the state of television journalism and pleaded with the show's hosts to "stop hurting America," and referred to both Carlson and co-host Paul Begala as "partisan hacks." This exchange became one of the most widely viewed Internet videos to date, [cite video|people=Jon Stewart, Tucker Carlson|title=Crossfire|medium=Television|publisher=CNN|location= [ GoogleVideo's mirror of the clip] |year=2004] and a topic of much media discussion.

Despite being on the program to comment on current events, Stewart immediately shifted the discussion toward the show itself, asserting that "Crossfire" had failed in its responsibility to inform and educate viewers about politics as a serious topic. Stewart stated that the show engaged in partisan hackery instead of honest debate, and said that the hosts' assertion that "Crossfire" is a debate show is like "saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition." Carlson responded by saying that Stewart criticizes news organizations for not holding public officials accountable, but when he interviewed John Kerry, Stewart asked a series of softball questions. Stewart responded that the media are in dismal shape if " [it is looking] to "Comedy Central" for [its] cues on integrity." When Carlson continued to press Stewart on the Kerry issue, Stewart said, "You're on CNN! The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls! What is wrong with you?" When Carlson told Stewart he was not as funny in person as he was on his show, Stewart retorted, "You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show." [cite web|author= Stewart, Jon|coauthor=Tucker Carlson|title=Transcripts: CNN Crossfire: Jon Stewart's America| work=Crossfire|publisher=CNN|date=2004-10-15|url=|accessdate= 2006-07-26] In response to further prods from Carlson to "be funny," Stewart said, "No, I'm not going to be your monkey."

Stewart discussed the incident on "The Daily Show" the following Monday: cquote|We decided to go to this place, "Crossfire", which is a "nuanced" public policy analysis show... named after the stray bullets that hit innocent bystanders in a gang fight. So I go to "Crossfire" and, let's face it, I was dehydrated, it's the Martin Lawrence defense... and I had always in the past mentioned to friends and people that I meet on the street that I think that show... um... blows. So I thought it was only the right thing to do to go say it to them personally on their program, but here's the thing about confronting someone with that on their show: They're "there!" Un"com"fortable! And they were very mad, because apparently, when you invite someone on a show called "Crossfire" and you express an opinion, they don't care for that... I told them that I felt their show was hurting America and they came back at me pretty good, they said that I wasn't being funny. And I said to them, "I know that, but tomorrow I will go back to being funny, and your show will still blow."cite web|author=Tucker, Ken|title=You Can't Be Serious! |publisher="New York"|date=2004-11-01|url=|accessdate =2006-07-26] [cite web|author=Stewart, Jon|title=Your Show Blows|publisher=Comedy Central|date=2004-10-18|url=|accessdate=2008-04-09]

In January 2005, CNN announced that it was canceling "Crossfire." When asked about the cancellations, CNN/US' incoming President, Jonathan Klein, referenced Stewart's appearance on the show: "I think he made a good point about the noise level of these types of shows, which does nothing to illuminate the issues of the day." [cite web|author=Howard Kurtz|title=Carlson & 'Crossfire,' Exit Stage Left & Right|publisher="Washington Post"|date=2004-01-06|url=|accessdate=2006-07-26 ] Soon after, Stewart quipped on "The Daily Show" that "I fought the law, and the law lost!"

When asked about his relationship with Tucker Carlson on CNN's "Larry King Live" in February 2008, Stewart said: "It became this idea that it was personal between the two of us, and it wasn't… If there's one thing I regret about that thing, it was probably the idea that it was personal, that there was something I was saying about Tucker to Tucker, [but actually] it was about the show."


In 1998, Stewart released his first book, "Naked Pictures of Famous People", a collection of humorous short stories and essays. The book reached "The New York Times" Best Seller List.

In 2004, Stewart and "The Daily Show" writing staff released "," a mock high school history textbook offering insights into the unique American system of government, dissecting its institutions, explaining its history and processes, and satirizing such popular American political precepts as "one man, one vote," "government by the people," and "every vote counts." The book sold millions of copies upon its 2004 release and ended the year as a top fifteen best-seller.

In 2007, Stewart voiced a role on friend Stephen Colbert's audiobook based on "I Am America (And So Can You!)," He plays Mort Sinclaire, former TV comedy writer and Communist.

Film and television acting

Although best known for his work on "The Daily Show," Stewart has also had roles in several films and television series.

His first film role was a minor part in "The First Wives Club" but his scene was deleted. [cite web|url=|title=Out of the Club|publisher="USA Today"|author=Vigoda, Arlene;Susan Wloszczyna|date=1996-08-27|accessdate=2008-06-03] In 1995, Stewart signed a three-year deal with Miramax. [cite web|url=,,299594,00.html |work=Entertainment Weekly|title=Monitor|date=1995-11-17|accessdate=2007-03-03] He played romantic leads in the films "Playing by Heart" and "Wishful Thinking". He also had supporting roles in the romantic comedy "Since You've Been Gone" and in the horror film "The Faculty". Other films were planned for Stewart to write and star in but they were never produced. Stewart has since maintained a relationship with Miramax founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein and continues to appear in films they have produced including "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back", "Doogal" and the documentary "Wordplay".

He also appeared in "Half Baked" as an "enhancement smoker," in "Big Daddy" as Adam Sandler's roommate, and he has recently joked on the Daily Show that to get the role he slept with Sandler, and in the documentary "The Aristocrats". Stewart often makes fun of his appearances in the high-profile flop "Death to Smoochy", [cite web|url=|title=Jon Stewart looks Oscar in the eye|publisher="USA Today"|author=Levin, Gary|date=2006-02-19|accessdate=2008-06-04] in which he played a treacherous television executive, and the animated film "Doogal", [cite web|url=|title=CNN Larry King Live: Interview With Jon Stewart|work=Larry King Live||date=2006-02-27|accessdate=2008-06-04] where he played a blue spring named Zeebad that shot a freeze ray from his mustache. In 2007, Stewart made a cameo appearance as himself in "Evan Almighty" which starred former "Daily Show" correspondent Steve Carell. In the movie, Stewart was seen on a television screen in a fictional "Daily Show" episode poking fun at Carell's character for building an ark.

Stewart had a recurring role in "The Larry Sanders Show" in which he played himself as an occasional substitute and possible successor to late-night talk show host Larry Sanders (played by Garry Shandling). In 1998, Stewart hosted the television special, "Elmopalooza", celebrating thirty years of "Sesame Street". He has guest-starred on other sitcoms such as "The Nanny", "Dr Katz, Professional Therapist", "Spin City", "NewsRadio", "American Dad", and "The Simpsons". He has also made guest-appearances on the children's television series "Between the Lions", "Sesame Street" and "Jack's Big Music Show".


In the mid-1990s, Stewart launched his own production company named Busboy Productions. The name of the company is a reference to Stewart's previous job as a busboy. The company's Production logo features the sound of a glass being knocked over followed by a voice whispering "Oops. Sorry." Stewart signed a deal with Miramax to develop projects through his company, but none of his ideas were ever produced. After Stewart's success as host and producer of "The Daily Show", he revived Busboy Productions with "Daily Show" producers Ben Karlin and Rich Korson. In 2002, Busboy planned to produce a sitcom for NBC starring Stephen Colbert but the show did not come to fruition. [cite news|title=Jon Stewart: TV Mogul|publisher=E! Online|date=2005-02-15]

In 2005, Comedy Central reached an agreement with Busboy to finance the production company. Comedy Central has a first-look agreement on all projects, then Busboy is free to shop them to other networks. [cite news|url=|title=Comedy Inks Deal with Stewart's Busboy|author=Larson, Megan|publisher="Adweek"|date=2005-02-18|accessdate=2008-10-08] [cite news|url=|title=Jon Stewart, Comedy Central Sign Deal|author=Boucher, Geoff|publisher="The Los Angeles Times"|date=2005-02-18|accessdate=2008-10-08] The deal spawned the "Daily Show" spin-off "The Colbert Report". Other projects include the sitcom pilot "Three Strikes", the documentary "Sportsfan", the series "Important Things with Demetri Martin" and "Chocolate News", and the film "The Donor".

WGA strike of 2007-2008

Stewart was an important factor in the unionization of the writers for Comedy Central. "The Daily Show" writers were the first of the Comedy Central's writers to be able to join the guild, after which other shows followed. [cite web|accessdate=2008-04-23|url=|title=Comedy Central Writers Win WGA Contract|publisher=WGA] [cite web|accessdate=2008-04-23|url=|title=Union Deal for 'Daily Show' Writers|]

He supported the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike, commenting on "The Daily Show" episode just before the strike in a sarcastic manner about how Comedy Central had made available all of the episodes for free on their website, but without advertising, and said 'go support our advertisers'. The show went on hiatus when the strike began, like other late night talk shows. Upon Stewart's return to the show on January 7, 2008, he refused to use the title "The Daily Show", stating that "The Daily Show" was the show made with all of the people responsible for the broadcast, including his writers. During the strike, he referred to his show as "A Daily Show with Jon Stewart" until the strike ended on February 13, 2008. [cite web|accessdate=2008-04-23|url=|title=WGA's Press Release|publisher=Variety magazine] Stewart, as well as several other late night talk shows, returned to TV early in January even though the strike was not over, because their stage crews and production teams were suffering much more than the writers from the financial crunch, and by that point had been out of work for two months.

According to the Huffington Post, in response to the WGA strike beginning November 5, 2007, Stewart offered to pay the writing staff of both "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" their salaries out of his own pocket in a show of solidarity. However, this was inaccurate; he actually paid the salaries of his show's production staff – people who did not go on strike, but who were losing money due to the strike.

The Writers Guild Strike of 2007 was also responsible for a notable mock feud among Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Conan O'Brien in early 2008. Without writers to help fuel their witty banter, the three comedians concocted a crossover/rivalry in order to garner more viewers during the ratings slump. Stephen Colbert made the claim that because of "the Colbert bump", he was responsible for Mike Huckabee's success in the 2008 presidential race. Conan O'Brien claimed that he was responsible for Huckabee's success because not only had he made mention of him on his show, but also that he was responsible for Chuck Norris' success (Norris backed Huckabee). In response, Stewart claimed that he was responsible for the success of O'Brien, since Stewart had featured him on his earlier comedy program, and in turn the success of Huckabee. This resulted in a three-part comedic battle between the three pundits, with all three appearing on each other's shows. The feud ended on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" with a mock brawl between the three talk-show hosts. [ [ Conan, Stewart, Colbert unite in TV feud] , 2008-02-05]


Stewart and the rest of the members of "The Daily Show" have received two Peabody Awards: the first one for a piece covering the 2000 Presidential Elections entitled , and another for covering the 2004 Presidential Elections entitled . In the December, 2003 New Years edition of "Newsweek magazine", Stewart was named the "Who's Next?" person for the coming year of 2004, with the magazine predicting he would emerge as an absolute sensation in that year (the magazine said they were right in the "who's next for 2005" issue). Stewart was also named one of the "2005 Time 100", an annual list of 100 of the most influential people of the year by "Time Magazine". [cite web|last=Brokaw|first=Tom| authorlink=Tom Brokaw|title=Jon Stewart|publisher="Time"|date=2004-09-27|url=|accessdate=2006-07-26] "Entertainment Weekly" named Stewart as its "Entertainer of the Year" for 2004. In addition, Stewart and "The Daily Show" received the 2005 NCTE George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language. Asteroid 116939 Jonstewart is named in his honor.

Grammy Awards

Stewart has hosted the Grammys twice, in 2001 and in 2002. In the middle of the 2001 broadcast, after laying a number of comedic duds, Stewart did what he encourages most public officials to do, and owned up to his bad hosting: he said, "Ladies and gentlemen, I just want to say I feel your scorn and accept it." When Stewart returned to host the next year, his comedy was more successful. Joking about the performance of the song "Lady Marmalade", he said, "Our next performance is from the movie "Moulin Rouge!", a film about a time when the whorehouses were about the music!" When the award winners for Album of the Year walked up on stage, many in number, Stewart quipped, "I don't know what you may have heard, but you were only supposed to go on stage if you worked on the "O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack", not if you heard it."


On January 5, 2006, Stewart was officially announced as the host of the 78th Academy Awards, which were held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on March 5. Responding to press questions at the time of his selection, Stewart remarked: "As a performer, I'm truly honored to be hosting the show. Although, as an avid watcher of the Oscars, I can't help but be a little disappointed with the choice. It appears to be another sad attempt to smoke out Billy Crystal." [cite web|title=Jon Stewart to Host Oscars|publisher=CBS|date=2006-01-05|url=|accessdate=2006-07-26] (According to "The New York Times", Oscar producer Gil Cates knew Crystal was going to be performing "700 Sundays" during the time period and was not able to host.) On the Monday before the Oscars, Stewart told Larry King that he was more "excited" than nervous about the job and joked that if he turns out a failure, he could be "bumped down to public access". When asked what the opening would be, the comedian chastised himself by comparing a Stewart opening to a "Gene Rayburn homage". Instead, the opening segment, preceding Stewart's monologue, featured several recent hosts "declining" to host the show.

Critical response to Stewart's performance was mixed. Various celebrities and other film personalities were generally positive. Roger Ebert compared him favorably to legendary Oscar host Johnny Carson. [cite web|url=|author=Ebert, Roger|title='Crash'-ing a joyous Oscar party|publisher= [] |date=2006-03-05|accessdate=2007-05-07] Other reviewers were less positive; Tom Shales of "The Washington Post" said that Stewart hosted with “smug humorlessness.” James Poniewozik of "Time" said that Stewart was a bad host, but a great “anti-host” in that he poked fun at parts of the broadcast that deserved it, which lent him a degree of authenticity with the non-Hollywood audience. [cite web|last=Poniewozik|first=James|title=Jon Stewart vs. The Oscars|work=Time|date= 2006-03-06|url=|accessdate=2006-07-26] Stewart and correspondent John Oliver later poked fun at his lackluster reception on "The Daily Show"'s coverage of the 79th Academy Awards by saying that the "demon of last year's Oscars had finally been exorcised."

Stewart also hosted the 80th Academy Awards on February 24, 2008. [cite web|url=|author=CNN|work=CNN|date=2008-02-25|title='No Country' wins best picture|accessdate=2008-02-25] Reception this time, however, was far more positive, with Stewart's performance commended by critics and viewers, despite the show being criticized as boring and ranking as the lowest rating Oscar broadcast ever.



External links

* [ Official site for "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central] (US only)
* [ Jon Stewart Biography] at
* [ Interview with Stewart] on NPR's "Fresh Air" (2004-09-30)
* [ Stewart's appearance on "Crossfire"] (2004-10-15)
* [ Stewart on "Bill Moyers Now" July 2003 ]
* [ Stewart on "Bill Moyers Journal" April 2007 ]
* [ "No News is Good News"] : An interview in "the Hartford Advocate"

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