The Daily Show

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Jon Stewart in 2005 with the Peabody Award that he won for The Daily Show
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The Daily Show (titled The Daily Show with Jon Stewart from 1999 to 2015) is a Comedy Central program with a rotating cast of guest hosts. It was originally hosted by Craig KilbornWikipedia, although Craig was apparently just hanging around on set for a few years until Jon StewartWikipedia showed up to fulfill his cosmically pre-ordained destiny of being the host of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Stewart ran the show for 16 years before handing over the reins for Trevor NoahWikipedia so that he could spend more time with his family.[1] Noah eventually retiring from hosting the show in 2022.

The content of the show is mostly built around mocking the inadequacies and faux pas of politicians and other public figures, and while much of it has a liberal bias, Noah is happy making fun of anybody's foolishness.

Interestingly, The Daily Show had more viewers on average than any Fox News program with the exception of The O'Reilly Factor in May of 2011.[2]

The host succession[edit]

The Daily Show was originally hosted by Craig Kilborn, who eventually left to host the Late Late Show on CBS. During Kilborn's tenure, the show was significantly more satiric than political, full of cigar jokes and otherwise making fun of the evil liberal media. Comedians such as Colbert, Steve Carell and Nancy Walls used their roles as correspondents on the show to springboard their own careers out of sketch comedy and into television and movie roles. After Kilborn left, Comedy Central tapped the now legendary Jon Stewart for the anchor position.

For one summer, while Jon Stewart was out producing Rosewater, John Oliver hosted The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Oliver went on to host Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Stewart continued with The Daily Show for two years after, before leaving the show to spend more time with his family, at which point it was taken over by Trevor Noah.

Trevor Noah had been appearing on the show since December 2014. His first show as full-time host was on September 28, 2015. On September 29, 2022, he announced he was to resign as host.

Starting in 2021, Jon Stewart had a program with AppleTV called The Problem with Jon Stewart,Wikipedia however he left it in 2023 after Apple tried to force him to align with their opinions on topics like AI and China.[3] In 2024, it was announced that Jon Stewart will return to The Daily Show, hosting once a week through the 2024 election season, with a rotating group of comedians hosting the other days.[4]


The show generally, but not invariably, goes like this:

  • Seg 1 - The monologue. In the grand old tradition of late-night TV, the first segment is Noah's monologue, commenting on the news of the day and, often, the cock-ups on Fox News the previous night. Noah remains seated and does without a sycophantic shill to laugh at his jokes.
  • Seg 2 - The sketches. The middle segment generally includes set pieces featuring the spoof "correspondents." Often the correspondents will be very obviously green-screened into the news hot-spot du jour. The show has pioneered the spoof interview, in which genuinely famous or newsworthy people agree to be made to look like cu idiots, to comic effect. Occasionally goes OTT ("Over the Top.") If a segment towards the end of the Stewart run is to be believed the subjects of those interviews hardly ever felt made fun of, amazingly enough.
  • Seg 3 - The interview. This is an (amazingly) conventional sit-down one-on-one with "A Famous Person," complete with showing the famous person's latest book to Camera 3. Jon Stewart often surprised his guests by showing that he had actually read the book in question and often asked surprisingly specific questions about its content. However, other interviews (especially those with The Daily Show alumni) quickly descended into buffoonery and Baseball jokes.[note 1] Trevor Noah's style of interviewing is very similar to that of Jon Stewart — he too reads the books, asks pertinent questions and generally has a good time. The most notable difference thus far has been Noah's propensity to have fun with language - unlike Stewart, there are no Yiddish-jokes, but give him a guest who speaks, German, Dothraki or really any language and Noah will learn a couple of lines in that language.
  • Seg 4 - The Moment of Zen. A short segment kept from the Kilborn years, the daily Moment of Zen precedes the closing credits and lasts no longer than a few seconds. Usually, it contains some kind of gaffe done by any of the usual suspects, but occasionally, this will feature a video that has been making the rounds on social media or perhaps just a news commentator saying something silly. In some instances it is replaced by a tribute to a recently deceased person of note.

Investigative reporting for laughs[edit]

On some shows, a member of "The best fucking news team ever" (the semi-regular comedians who appear on the show as "correspondents") will do a taped interview segment that challenges some real world absurdity with deadpan snarking. Generally, these segments are made funnier by the reporter implicitly taking one position on a topic and pretending to take the opposite.

These segments can occasionally do a disservice, however. On September 12, 2013, Aasif Mandvi interviewed a farmer who claimed that Monsanto was going around persecuting poor, innocent farmers by mounting horribly unfair lawsuits against them.[5] The farmer mentioned Percy Schmeiser by name, as an example of an innocent victim, neglecting to mention the rather dubious actions Schmeiser engaged in with his own crops. The overall impression was that hundreds of farmers were being sued into poverty by Monsanto every year for unwittingly violating their patents on GMOs, which isn't really the reality at all. On the other hand, their April 22nd, 2015 segment on GMO safety[6] is much more truthful.

Notable shows[edit]

Frequently, an interview is going so well Noah doesn't bother to end it on air, instead being content to finish it in due course and post the whole thing on the show's web site.


One of the show's most notable correspondents, Stephen Colbert, left to host his own show, which immediately followed The Daily Show. The Colbert Report sometimes slightly overlapped or interacted with it until the end of Colbert's run in December 2014. Colbert now hosts The Late Show.

A second alumnus of the show, ,Wikipedia left in May 2014 to host The Nightly Show', which is produced by Jon Stewart's production company Busboy Productions. While with The Daily Show, Wilmore was a popular cynical commentator, billed as the show's "Senior Black Correspondent".

Another equally cynical former "correspondent", John Oliver,Wikipedia left the show in early 2014 and developed an HBO series Last Week Tonight.

Samantha Bee,Wikipedia perhaps the most zany of the contributors, both in-studio and on location, created the late show Full Frontal, which debuted on TBS in February 2016.


I'm a comedian who makes fun of what I believe to be the absurdities of our government. Tomorrow when you go to the polls, make my life difficult. Make the next four years really hard, so that every morning all we can do is come in and go, 'Madonna is doing some Kabbalah thing, you wanna do that?' I'd like that. I'm tired.
—On the eve of the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election
You know what, it's okay. If Bill O'Reilly needs to have an enemy, he needs to feel persecuted, you know what, here's my Kwanzaa gift to him: [a Christmas-themed holly border appears on the screen] I'm your enemy; make me your enemy. I, Jon Stewart, hate Christmas, Christians, Jews, morality! And I will not rest until every year families gather to spend December 25th together at Osama's Homobortion Pot and Commie Jizzporium.
—December 7, 2005, after Bill O'Reilly described Stewart as the enemy of Christmas
You know, I'm sorry. Normally we have all the writers. We've got a big group of people kicking that soundbite around, but right now it's just me. So... let me see if I can, just quickly, whip something up here; erm... erm... ooh! I've got something. FUCK YOU!
—Response to Mitt Romney's concession speech, wherein he declares that allowing the Democrats to win would be a "surrender to terror," February 7, 2008
There was an avalanche on Bullshit Mountain.
—Jon Stewart, describing what happened on Fox News as Obama got re-elected in 2012
To be frank, oftentimes this show is critical of Fox. But only because they're terrible.
—Jon Stewart, describing the relationship between Fox News and The Daily Show
Working at the Daily Show, I felt as though I was toiling in the turd mines. And then I finally quit, then a giant turd asteroid heads towards the planet.
—Jon Stewart in an interview with Stephen Colbert, two years after the turd lord was elected
Jon Stewart: You flew in yesterday from South Africa.

Trevor Noah: Yeah, I flew in, and boy, are my arms tired!
Jon Stewart: Alright, an oldie, but a goodie.

Trevor Noah: No, seriously, I've been holding my arms like this since I got here. (Holds arms up in the air)
—Trevor Noah's debut on the show
You can't fix racial bias overnight. The one thing you can do is not think Black people are crazy for feeling oppressed when every time they see a video of themselves being engaged by the police, it ends with them getting shot.
—Trevor Noah
Trump is terrifying, but you cannot deny he is also hilarious. And I don't know how to deal with that emotionally. It feel like there's an asteroid headed toward the Earth, but it's shaped like a penis.
—Noah disagreeing with Stewart about whether the asteroid is a turd or a penis


  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction, 2004
  • The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race, 2010

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Which is not to say they weren't entertaining to watch.