What's so great about the Jon Stewart and Daily Show?

Given the popularity of my last what’s-so-great thread (about Coldplay) I decided to start a similar one to discuss another thing that many other people seem to enjoy, but I do not - namely, The Daily Show, with Jon Stewart.

First, before everyone tears me to pieces, let me say I appreciate Jon Stewart’s intellect. I have a book of his called “Naked Pictures of Famous People” that I find very entertaining. I’m not comparing him or his show to Coldplay in terms of its content or how it is delivered. But most of my peers just go apeshit over this show, and I don’t get what is so hilarious about it, or so great about Jon Stewart himself.

Stewart reminds me of a lot of smarmy, smug, wise-ass people I went to high school (and go to college) with, in terms of his attitude, style of speaking, and humor. His little pauses and eye-rolling and sarcasm can get really grating, I find, and the overall tone of the humor is good-natured and more “I’m more clever than you.” I haven’t watched enough of this show to get a better picture of Stewart than what I’ve just described, but that’s the general impression I get of him.

What are your opinions on this show? I’m not brimming with enthusiasm for it, as you can see, but I’m not in a position to be very critical of it on any deeper level than the superficial one I’ve just shared. Should I watch it more? Does Jon Stewart grow on you or does his humor just click with some people and not others?

You should watch it more.

He is a breath of much needed fresh air.

I think it’s not so much that he is so especially brilliant, but that everything else is so terrible.

First of all, he’s consistently funny. (They’re consistently funny I should say.) Obviously humor is the most subjective of things, so I can only speak for myself. But clearly I’m not alone in this opinion. However we should remember that his show is a cult phenomenon, not even the top rated show on Comedy Central, with an audience that would seem pitifully low on a major network.

It’s the consistency that gets me. They rarely hit a low note, something I wouldn’t have believed possible with four new shows a week.

But beyond the humor, I was amazed to discover that Stewart has the best discussions on any commercial network. Watch the next show where he has an author on, as opposed to a celebrity or politician. You’ll often get an intelligent discussion about stuff you won’t see anywhere else. Last night’s discussion of Syria was a prime example. He keeps the humor up. (Is Bashar Assad Fredo or Micheal to Hafez’s Vito.) but gets some interesting points in there to.

The very best humor is generally the sharpest, most incisive humor. It comes from a desire to get in there and really mess over pomposity, egotism, self-importance, shallowness masquerading as depth, and stupidity passed off as wisdom. I can’t think of anyone else in America who is better at this kind of humor than the Daily Show.

It’s not just that they score points off the Bush Administration. The Bush Administration is God’s own target for comedians, with their policy of never admitting that they are wrong, never apologizing for mistakes, and yet constantly being wrong and making mistakes. Often, horrible mistakes. But the Daily Show also does a very nice job of skewering the self-important strutting of modern television “journalists.” The support staff of Stephen Colbert, Rob Cordrey, Ed Nelms and Samantha Bee are incredibly good at parodying the inane blatherings of much of what passes for news and editorial content on television nowadays. Of course, once again, they have a very nice target. But nobody else seems to have the balls to really tee off on those targets.

Plus they can just make you bust a gut laughing. They had a piece on “media filters” a couple of weeks ago in which they played with the idea that the filters were actual filters that you put over the lenses of cameras to make the subject look important or ridiculous, depending on the filter. It had me rolling on the floor laughing.

If you don’t “get” that stuff, it’s OK … your loss, IMHO.

Ever see the segments where they have children reading transcripts of media debates? That alone could be “what’s so great” about the show.

One of my fav parts, too.

It really puts everything in to perspective.

“who’s making the movies? who’s making the movies? who’s making the movies?”
I’m laughing now, just typing it.

And the skewering of religious claptrap is very good–I look forward to “This Week In God”.

I think the show is hilarious and, well, depressing.

I can’t watch it every day. It makes me want to bite people.

“This Week in God” makes me laugh every time I see it. I generally have not seen a truly “bad” show. As menitoned earlier, it’s consistent. I love the style of humor. They are able to mock some of the more ridiculous things about our culture in a rather unique way, which I not only agree with, but usually find damn funny as well.

Just so the OP doesn’t get overwhelmed in the ‘rush to gush’ on the Daily Show, I’ll just say that I’m no great fan either (yeah, shocking I’m sure). Oh, I ‘get it’…and I have to say that occationally its quite funny. But over all I just don’t find the show that compelling. As Larry Borgia says “Obviously humor is the most subjective of things”, and I’m sure what I find funny would fall flat on a lot of you…just as what you think of as funny falls a bit flat with me by and large.


I, too, love “This Week in God.” It’s hilarious.

The great thing about the show, i think, is that it is consistently funny while also often offering intelligent critiques of the subject matter.

Did anyone see the story the other night about MSNBC’s interview with Ronald McDonald? (if you want to see the clip, go here and check out the video titled “White Noise.”)

Not only were Stewart’s comments funny, but he is also making what i believe to be an important point about journailistic integrity. In fact, i think it’s often when he’s skewering the “serious” news outlets that he’s at his most funny and his most relevant.

And the whole supporting cast is fantastic. But i don’t think that Samantha Bee is on frequently enough.

I guess I’m just not big enough on political humor. Politics for me = boring (I get a kick out of HBO’s Mr. Show but always feel unentertained when political bits pop up.) “Naked Pictures of Famous People” is mostly nonpolitical, but “America” doesn’t amuse me as much.

I like The Daily Show, although I don’t watch as often as I should. What I find interesting is that they do a better and funnier job on the news once a night than SNL manages once a week. I don’t know if they just have better writers or what.

One good thing about The Daily Show is that Jon Stewart seems more willing to ask difficult questions than do the conventional journalists. And although the show describes itself as the “fake news”, it’s the sole news source for many people (usually younger people).

I think its the cursing.
Yeah, definitely the cursing. Gotta love that kind of talk.


The cursing is all bleeped out. At least, it is when i watch the show.

The puns on the graphics are, alone, funnier than anything else on TV.

There are three great things about the show:

  1. Incisive, biting, satirical (often, but not always, political) humor. No one does it better.
  2. They’re on a worthwhile mission: to point out the utter uselessness of the 24-hour news networks. When Stewart ripped Crossfire on their own show, he was saying plainly and truthfully what they say through humor on his show: you guys are wasting the public trust.
  3. The best interviews. Every celebrity makes the rounds to flog their movie, but Stewart actually gets them to say something worthwhile. And he intersperses his celebrity guests with people who actually have something to say, and he has the intellectual horsepower to stay with them. He’s probably the only talk show host who’s read the book.

It’s not always 100% good; their filmed segments, usually making some local yokel look stupid, are quite often not very funny.

Bleeped out cursing can be, and often is, funnier than real cursing.

+1 - this sums it up for me nicely. I make it a point to try to stay up for it, but rarely do. If I were to get TiVO, it would be for this show.

All news should be delivered like this.

Let me say first that I love the show. I think it’s an important and brilliant and hilarious show.

Let me also say that I think it has some major flaws.

To get into details.

Argent, you say that politics bores you. Well, if you are really paying attention to what the Daily Show is telling you. By turns subtle and obvious, if you’re paying attention, it shows you that politics is not some niche activity that some people have an unexplainable need to follow, like sports or sci fi. Politics is life, and if you watch you can see how not paying attention to what politicians are doing can really screw up your life.

Okay, what makes it so great? In the guise of a comedy, “fake news” show, the Daily Show is really the only program on television that’s doing real journalism.

Outside of the Daily Show, there is only the mainstream media and the conservative echo chamber. The conservative echo chamber presents a relentless assault of brain washing and propaganda and the mainstream media is an abused spouse, fearful of reporting anything except “he said, she said,” and even then getting kicked just to keep it in its place.

The Daily Show, when it’s really on it’s game, doesn’t just go with “he said, she said,” it shows you what’s being said and then points out how it was complete and utter bullshit, and usually does it with brilliant humour. And it doesn’t just do it to the Bush administration. It points out how everyone who is in a position of prominence in this country is failing us. Right now the Republicans control everything, so they’re going to get bear much of the brunt, but the Daily Show doesn’t hesitate to point out how pathetic and useless, and often complicit, the Democrats are as an opposition.

The Daily Show has major weaknesses, and one is Stewart’s very inconsistent performance as an interviewer. When he’s interviewing celebrities, he’s usually just doing the usual talk show shtik, although maybe it’s slightly more intelligent and funny. I agree that Stewart too often falls back on self deprecation and false modesty to get a laugh.

When Stewart is interviewing a political officeholder or a member of the celebrity press corps, he is too often reduced to a fawning jackass. There are notable exceptions, several of them being during the 2004 election, when he subtly and deftly slid his rapier wit between the ribs of a braying politico or journocelebrity.

To put it simply, the Daily Show is possibly the only broadcast television show that is honest, pointing out what it is seeing in context, rather than pretending that there are two sides to each story and that’s wehre the “truth” begins and ends.

Lewis Black.