The Daily Show: An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests by Chris Smith

“If your world does not include enough access to different people, and their world does not include enough access to you, you are speaking from ignorance.”
― Jon Stewart, The Daily Show: An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests

I stayed up until 1:30 AM to finish this book and I have no regrets. The Daily Show was a major influence on how I learned to approach media and politics as I grew from teenager to college student to professional adult-type person. Through it all, Jon Stewart and his merry band of correspondents made me laugh in the face of utter banality and insanity, all while appreciating a good pun in a segment picture or a savage takedown with a “roll 212.” I bought America (the Book) the day it came out, and bought the DVD of the Indecision 2004 coverage and rewatched it over and over again. And this book perfectly captures the magic of the show, and why it ended up mattering so much to so many people and changing the face of comedy news.

The interviews within are illuminating, many a time layered against another’s recollection to show how different two people can view one event. I found Jon Stewart’s pieces to be especially candid, as he views his time with the wisdom of age, and is able to admit to his own mistakes in a fresh way that felt true to the Jon I knew and loved from the show. All of your favorites are here, with the Stephvens, Helms, Oliver, Bee, Nancy Walls, Jessica Williams- and hearing their stories of how they got on the show, and how the show changed their lives was so much fun to read.

It’s remarkable to think back on how little people believed in the show when Jon took over, and to examine its impact on the history of comedy and politics. The Daily Show was the little show that somehow managed to change the world, by holding up a mirror to politics, laughing in the face of crazy, and then making you feel better about the world.

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