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The Daily Show (The Audiobook): An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests

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The complete, uncensored history of the award-winning The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, as told by its correspondents, writers, and host. For almost seventeen years, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart brilliantly redefined the borders between television comedy, political satire, and opinionated news coverage. It launched the careers of some of today's most significant comedian The complete, uncensored history of the award-winning The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, as told by its correspondents, writers, and host. For almost seventeen years, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart brilliantly redefined the borders between television comedy, political satire, and opinionated news coverage. It launched the careers of some of today's most significant comedians, highlighted the hypocrisies of the powerful, and garnered 23 Emmys. Now the show's behind-the-scenes gags, controversies, and camaraderie will be chronicled by the players themselves, from legendary host Jon Stewart to the star cast members and writers-including Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Steve Carell, Lewis Black, Jessica Williams, John Hodgman, and Larry Wilmore-plus some of The Daily Show's most prominent guests and adversaries: John and Cindy McCain, Glenn Beck, Tucker Carlson, and many more. This oral history takes the reader behind the curtain for all the show's highlights, from its origins as Comedy Central's underdog late-night program hosted by Craig Kilborn to Jon Stewart's long reign to Trevor Noah's succession, rising from a scrappy jester in the 24-hour political news cycle to become part of the beating heart of politics-a trusted source for not only comedy but also commentary, with a reputation for calling bullshit and an ability to effect real change in the world. Through years of incisive election coverage, Jon Stewart's emotional monologue in the wake of 9/11, his infamous confrontation on Crossfire, passionate debates with President Obama and Hillary Clinton, feuds with Bill O'Reilly and Fox, the Indecisions, Mess O'Potamia, and provocative takes on Wall Street and racism, The Daily Show has been a cultural touchstone. Now, for the first time, the people behind the show's seminal moments come together to share their memories of the last-minute rewrites, improvisations, pranks, romances, blow-ups, and moments of Zen both on and off the set of one of America's most groundbreaking shows.


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The complete, uncensored history of the award-winning The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, as told by its correspondents, writers, and host. For almost seventeen years, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart brilliantly redefined the borders between television comedy, political satire, and opinionated news coverage. It launched the careers of some of today's most significant comedian The complete, uncensored history of the award-winning The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, as told by its correspondents, writers, and host. For almost seventeen years, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart brilliantly redefined the borders between television comedy, political satire, and opinionated news coverage. It launched the careers of some of today's most significant comedians, highlighted the hypocrisies of the powerful, and garnered 23 Emmys. Now the show's behind-the-scenes gags, controversies, and camaraderie will be chronicled by the players themselves, from legendary host Jon Stewart to the star cast members and writers-including Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Steve Carell, Lewis Black, Jessica Williams, John Hodgman, and Larry Wilmore-plus some of The Daily Show's most prominent guests and adversaries: John and Cindy McCain, Glenn Beck, Tucker Carlson, and many more. This oral history takes the reader behind the curtain for all the show's highlights, from its origins as Comedy Central's underdog late-night program hosted by Craig Kilborn to Jon Stewart's long reign to Trevor Noah's succession, rising from a scrappy jester in the 24-hour political news cycle to become part of the beating heart of politics-a trusted source for not only comedy but also commentary, with a reputation for calling bullshit and an ability to effect real change in the world. Through years of incisive election coverage, Jon Stewart's emotional monologue in the wake of 9/11, his infamous confrontation on Crossfire, passionate debates with President Obama and Hillary Clinton, feuds with Bill O'Reilly and Fox, the Indecisions, Mess O'Potamia, and provocative takes on Wall Street and racism, The Daily Show has been a cultural touchstone. Now, for the first time, the people behind the show's seminal moments come together to share their memories of the last-minute rewrites, improvisations, pranks, romances, blow-ups, and moments of Zen both on and off the set of one of America's most groundbreaking shows.

30 review for The Daily Show (The Audiobook): An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Jeffers

    If you asked me who I missed more, Jon Stewart or my deceased mother, I'd have to stop and think before answering. I started watching Jon in college, during the '04 election. I thought the war in Iraq was shady and amoral, but the Republican mantra (at the time, anyway) was that disagreeing with the President made you unpatriotic. Jon Stewart was the only one I saw actually challenging that idea. I consider him one of most important factors in my understanding of the world and I have so much resp If you asked me who I missed more, Jon Stewart or my deceased mother, I'd have to stop and think before answering. I started watching Jon in college, during the '04 election. I thought the war in Iraq was shady and amoral, but the Republican mantra (at the time, anyway) was that disagreeing with the President made you unpatriotic. Jon Stewart was the only one I saw actually challenging that idea. I consider him one of most important factors in my understanding of the world and I have so much respect for him and the way he did his show. He was always so smart and thoughtful and exacting on top of being ridiculously funny. I didn't become a serious devotee until after graduation, though, probably in early 2007. At that point, I threw myself into it: I once drove from Philly to Atlantic City and back in the same night to see him do stand-up, and I drove to DC for the Rally to Restore Sanity with a raging hangover from the Halloween party my roommates hosted the night before. I bailed on a night out with coworkers in Toronto to sit alone in my hotel room and watch his final show. I feel significantly less informed now that he's not on the air. This book seems to be flying under the radar a bit. I only heard about it a few weeks before its release, a blip in a Vulture monthly roundup, and I think that's the only press I've seen. Almost none of my Goodreads friends have shelved it, which seems odd. It's not even available at my local library system (just outside DC, the selection is usually not particularly limited). I was grateful to have received it as a Christmas gift. So it's not making headlines, but any fan of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show ought to check this out. Oral histories can be tricky. They're often lax about providing context and sometimes assume the reader already knows a lot about the topic, but this was incredibly comprehensive. They talked to everyone, with the notable exception of Wyatt Cenac, and they talk about everything, including the Wyatt Cenac stuff. They went into the good, the bad, and the ugly, and it seemed like they were trying to be fair and honest about the bad and the ugly. Except for Wyatt, they got all the sides of the stories. And they left no story out. This book was filled to the brim with facts and tidbits I didn't know and it made me giggle relentlessly. It was so enjoyable that I read all 400 pages in a day and a half. But, really, what I loved most was remembering all the funny bits from over the years--I can't believe I forgot about the Gitmo puppet. I wish they'd do a follow-up book about The Colbert Report, because I might miss that show more than Jon Stewart and my mother combined. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go watch a bunch of clips on YouTube.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Forsyth

    I don't listen to audiobooks too often, but an oral history, of all things, seemed a good way to include some different formats in my reading year. I wish I had enjoyed this more, and I think the potential for this was huge, but the problems here all boil down to a single massive problem: you've got actors reading lines. My first question when I saw this was, "Is it voiced by the actual comedians and writers?" and when I saw that it was not, I should have trusted my gut instinct that this was a I don't listen to audiobooks too often, but an oral history, of all things, seemed a good way to include some different formats in my reading year. I wish I had enjoyed this more, and I think the potential for this was huge, but the problems here all boil down to a single massive problem: you've got actors reading lines. My first question when I saw this was, "Is it voiced by the actual comedians and writers?" and when I saw that it was not, I should have trusted my gut instinct that this was a very, very bad idea. Not only do you have actors reading for multiple characters, but the over-enunciation kills a lot of the comedic timing. This book should be funny, not clearly read! What's extremely confusing to me is why this approach was even taken in the first place. Presumably everyone interviewed for the book was recorded, and surely an agreement could have been reached wherein those interviews were edited and collected for this format. To actually hear Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert and Steve Carrell and John Oliver and, hell, even Glenn Beck talk about their experiences with The Daily Show (even if it was poorly recorded or not as clearly read) would have added immensely to my experience with the book. And it's not a bad book! There's some interesting points made about the shows contribution to American political discourse (and it's not all self-congratulatory), insights into Stewart's personality and the course he guided for the show, and some fascinating career arcs, not only of the big stars like the names I mentioned above, but of people who started as PAs and moved up through the ranks, to the point where some of them are producers now. There's a bit of salacious behind-the-scenes stuff, too, and altogether it's a refreshingly honest and comprehensive look at the history of the show. But finding the good stuff in the audiobook feels like work. There are occasionally skits from the show transcribed into the narrative, when someone mentions a particular piece that they thought was important to the show, and the audiobook comes to a screeching stop at these points, as the actors (and the narrator, who constantly interrupts the flow of the piece to make it clear who is speaking) speak the lines that were read with so much more wit and timing and panache in the actual show. The decision to not just include the clips from the show is a baffling and painful one. This could have been so much more.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennie Damron

    I am so glad I read this book. I adore Jon Stewart and watched The Daily Show religiously while he was host. I enjoyed immersing myself into the shows history and learning about the impact Jon, the writers, crew and field reporters had for years. Jon steered an incredible ship and he did so while remaining passionate and yet humble. He didn't allow his success and the success of the show get to his head. Instead he used his success to shed light and make known issues that weren't being addressed I am so glad I read this book. I adore Jon Stewart and watched The Daily Show religiously while he was host. I enjoyed immersing myself into the shows history and learning about the impact Jon, the writers, crew and field reporters had for years. Jon steered an incredible ship and he did so while remaining passionate and yet humble. He didn't allow his success and the success of the show get to his head. Instead he used his success to shed light and make known issues that weren't being addressed on network news channels. I loved this book and it made me laugh, reminded me why I was so glad to know I was not the only one smelling bullshit, and also that laughter is a great medicine. Highly recommend this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    debra

    Audio. A compilation of interviews, etc that provide a history of The Daily Show .I LOVE Jon Stewart!!!!!!!My admiration for his intelligence, humor, courage,honesty, morality and his entire personhood is unbounded. The book is long but never boring-read blurb for all it goes into. It was comprehensive and AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AUDIO VERSION GREAT! PS IMO, if Abraham Lincoln, UNICEF, and Doctors Without Borders had a child it would be-Jon Stewart! How's that for over the top expression of my est Audio. A compilation of interviews, etc that provide a history of The Daily Show .I LOVE Jon Stewart!!!!!!!My admiration for his intelligence, humor, courage,honesty, morality and his entire personhood is unbounded. The book is long but never boring-read blurb for all it goes into. It was comprehensive and AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AUDIO VERSION GREAT! PS IMO, if Abraham Lincoln, UNICEF, and Doctors Without Borders had a child it would be-Jon Stewart! How's that for over the top expression of my esteem for this man!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Char

    This book was a lot of fun! It seems like everyone that was ever part of the show as far as on-air personalities or behind the scenes people were interviewed here. However, many of the guests-friendly to the show or not, were also interviewed, which made the book all the more interesting. I learned a lot about the dynamics of the show and how it worked. I learned about who was not happy there and who was. I learned that Jon Stewart paid people out of his own pocket for as long as he could when the This book was a lot of fun! It seems like everyone that was ever part of the show as far as on-air personalities or behind the scenes people were interviewed here. However, many of the guests-friendly to the show or not, were also interviewed, which made the book all the more interesting. I learned a lot about the dynamics of the show and how it worked. I learned about who was not happy there and who was. I learned that Jon Stewart paid people out of his own pocket for as long as he could when the writers went on strike. I learned that Jon really cared about the people he worked with, and he deeply cared about some causes-like obtaining health care for 9/11 rescuers. I learned all of this and plenty more, laughing all the while. I enjoyed hearing what John McCain felt when interviewed, (at times friendly interviews, at others-not so much). Anthony Weiner, Hillary Clinton and many others were also interviewed-all very absorbing. This book didn't present only one side, but it did mostly slant towards loving Jon Stewart, and since I already did that, now I love and respect him even more. I'm not sure if the book started out to deify Jon, or if it was just because he's actually a good man- so what everyone had to say about him was mostly positive. What I disliked about this audio book is that actors do all the voices. First, that was hard to get used to. Second, since all of these former employees, guests, and comedians were interviewed for this book already, wasn't there a way to get their permissions to use their actual voices instead of actors? The Daily Show: An Oral History was hilarious and I learned a lot. I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the show. *Thanks to my awesome local library for the audiobook loan.*

  6. 5 out of 5

    Varsha

    Disclaimer: I really love Jon Stewart. Like really really love him. My political awakening and my subsequent views were shaped by him and The Daily Show. Thus, this review will be blatantly biased. You've been warned. For someone who's a part of a generation that grew up during the late-90s and early-2000s, a generation who's first real news and tragedy was 9/11, who saw the fear-mongering of the Bush administration and the way-too-meek-counter-response of the Democrats, it is hard to overstate t Disclaimer: I really love Jon Stewart. Like really really love him. My political awakening and my subsequent views were shaped by him and The Daily Show. Thus, this review will be blatantly biased. You've been warned. For someone who's a part of a generation that grew up during the late-90s and early-2000s, a generation who's first real news and tragedy was 9/11, who saw the fear-mongering of the Bush administration and the way-too-meek-counter-response of the Democrats, it is hard to overstate the influence of media in our lives. Unfortunately though, the mainstream media (the network news essentially) has failed to perform their duties to the public, instead falling victim to corporate lures and the perks that come with maintaining the status quo. It wouldn't take a journalism or media studies major to tell you that the so-called Golden Age of Journalism has long passed, taking with it such journalistic heroes as Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow. Thus, I, along with many others, - both part of my generation and not - looked for alternative sources of news. And we happened upon The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. While the show and its host were undoubtedly hilarious, what makes Jon Stewart - and the show - special and groundbreaking is the clearly satirical purpose to the show. This book details the transformation of the show from the pre-Jon Stewart era (who was that guy before him, anyway?) to the Jon Stewart era. Being a fan of the show and of Jon, I always knew that he was a hard worker who put up with some hostility from the Kilborn holdovers, but the book opened my eyes to just how much hostility. While this did nothing but increase my respect for Jon and those who stood by him, I can't help but think where those writers and producers, who fought Jon early on, who believed that his - and Ben Karlin's - desire to do sharp political and media satire as part of the comedy wouldn't work, are now. Do they, like the publishers who rejected Harry Potter have real regrets about their actions, of how they weren't able to recognize a cultural force and sensation in the making? Or, are they still bitter? I would have appreciated hearing from those writers, but I suppose they had no desire to comment, which...I suppose, is understandable. Nevertheless, despite the lack of response from certain individuals (Kilborn era holdovers, Wyatt Cenac amongst others), this book does a great job chronicling the formation of Jon Stewart's vision for The Daily Show. What I very much appreciated was that there were interviews with people who weren't as big fans of Jon (Jim Cramer, Tucker Carlson, etc.) and, more importantly, the writers, producers, showrunners, and other correspondents who worked with Jon were honest, pointing out any problems they had with him or the show, which helped frame the book as more than just praise of Jon and the show. That being said, there were also plenty of positive comments, which certainly outweighed the negativity at high proportions. I could see - from reading the book, as well as watching interviews and episodes of the show. It was clear how and why Jon had such an influence, not only on my life, but also on the lives of those who worked for him. Reading this book made it increasingly clear to me just how many people - even those who were his political opposites - respected Jon Stewart. For instance, John McCain, who was absolutely - and rightly - eviscerated by Jon on the show for his support for the disastrous policies of the Bush Administration, including mismanagement of the Iraq War, called Jon the Mark Twain of the modern era. Which just goes to show how important Jon was. Nearly everyone had respect - however begrudging - for the man. And of course, I could see how Jon revolutionized the genre of television political satire, paving the way for people like Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee to do The Colbert Report, Last Week Tonight, and Full Frontal. Most frustratingly though, this book left me with an even stronger desire to see Jon Stewart on TV again. Seriously. I'll take him in whatever form as long as he comes back. Although, spring 2017 is much too far away to wait patiently for.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    This show is the only show I used to watch religiously. I remember every single one of the episodes highlighted in this book. The book was both cathartic and tragic. I miss Jon Stewart. I miss the sincerity of the show. I know that Stewart has a reputation for being cynical, but I loved his and the show's humanity and righteous anger. I remember the post 9/11 show and the financial crisis show. This book was really fun to read--and I don't think you have to have been a fan to enjoy it, but it pr This show is the only show I used to watch religiously. I remember every single one of the episodes highlighted in this book. The book was both cathartic and tragic. I miss Jon Stewart. I miss the sincerity of the show. I know that Stewart has a reputation for being cynical, but I loved his and the show's humanity and righteous anger. I remember the post 9/11 show and the financial crisis show. This book was really fun to read--and I don't think you have to have been a fan to enjoy it, but it probably helps.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah - All The Book Blog Names Are Taken

    Words can not describe how much I miss Jon Stewart, or how happy I was to see him on with Colbert during the conventions. I miss him so, so much. I selfishly wished he was still behind the desk on The Daily Show during this complete clusterfuck of an election season, but I am glad he was not, in the end. He was so passionate and angry for 16 years, his brain might have actually exploded if he had to report on this shit every night. I wonder how different the show might feel had John Oliver gotten Words can not describe how much I miss Jon Stewart, or how happy I was to see him on with Colbert during the conventions. I miss him so, so much. I selfishly wished he was still behind the desk on The Daily Show during this complete clusterfuck of an election season, but I am glad he was not, in the end. He was so passionate and angry for 16 years, his brain might have actually exploded if he had to report on this shit every night. I wonder how different the show might feel had John Oliver gotten the job, but I am glad things went wonky and Trevor Noah got the gig. He is fantastic and exactly who the show needed after Jon left. I love Stewart and Colbert so much, and it was great to read their thoughts, I could hear their voices as I was reading. And when some of the sketches were printed, I laughed out loud because I remember so many of those episodes and pieces. This is a must read for anyone who digs Jon and the genius that is The Daily Show.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marc-Antoine

    I was expecting to laugh, which I did, but I wasn't expecting to be moved, and this book definitely managed to do that!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    The inevitable success often seems inevitable only in retrospect. The Beatles were this provincial guitar band until they weren’t. “All in the Family” had been rejected by ABC before it became, in almost the same form, the dominant show of the 1970s for CBS. And Jon Stewart was a standup comic taking over a marginal fake-news cable show until he became JON STEWART and the show became, of course, “The Daily Show.” “The Daily Show (The Book)” is an oral history, ably compiled by Chris Smith, about The inevitable success often seems inevitable only in retrospect. The Beatles were this provincial guitar band until they weren’t. “All in the Family” had been rejected by ABC before it became, in almost the same form, the dominant show of the 1970s for CBS. And Jon Stewart was a standup comic taking over a marginal fake-news cable show until he became JON STEWART and the show became, of course, “The Daily Show.” “The Daily Show (The Book)” is an oral history, ably compiled by Chris Smith, about the history of the groundbreaking satirical broadcast. When it debuted it was just this sometimes-clever, sometimes-smarmy comedy program with Craig Kilborn – one that had its moments, but wasn’t going to make many people forget “Not Necessarily the News” or the best “Weekend Update” segments of “Saturday Night Live.” What Stewart did, upon his arrival in 1999, was gradually turn “The Daily Show” into a satirical machine – pitting George W. Bush against himself, taking on the absurdities of cable news, and every so often removing his host persona to flat-out editorialize, particularly on tragic occasions. There had never been anything quite like it. Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, David Letterman had had their moments, and such shows as “That Was the Week That Was” took clever potshots, but nobody had ever put it together the way that Stewart (and producers such as creators Madeleine Smithberg and former Onion leader Ben Karlin) did. This was often satire of a high order, the kind that TV was often afraid to do. “The Daily Show (The Book)” is at its best in the early years, when the show was still finding its feet. It’s amazing the talent that was already there – Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert, in particular, were creating their personas. But it took time for Stewart to install the mix of writers and performers he was looking for, just as it took time for the technology the show needed to catch up with its ideas. And, not to put too fine a point on it, for the TV news industry to fall apart into something that practically required “The Daily Show’s” mockery. It just wouldn’t have been the same during the Huntley/Brinkley or Cronkite days of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. “The Daily Show” needed the kind of local-news-writ-large bloviation cable does so well. For me, it also brought back a lot of memories of the G.W. Bush years. Take this dialogue from from Colbert and Stewart as the 2004 election results became apparent: “It’s too late to turn back,” said Colbert. “Ours is now an anger-based economy. I see a glorious tomorrow where hybrid vehicles run half on gasoline and half on seething hate! I call it rage-o-hol! Join me in the future, for the future belongs to the furious.” Added Stewart, “(The map) looks very red, and there’s some blue there at the top where many of us will most likely spend the next four year, I would imagine huddled together and, in fact, weeping.” History doesn’t repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes with “brotherlucker.” (Incidentally, in one of the many intriguing tidbits of the book, Stewart talks about a man who called him afterwards to cheer him up. That man? Boston Celtics great Bill Russell. This is not a joke.) Also interesting are the recollections of Karlin and other producers, such as an indispensable woman named Jen Flanz, as the show became bigger than all of them. We the viewers may have seen 30 minutes of often clever comedy each night, but these people worked their asses off for us and sometimes paid in blood. Stewart suffered from insomnia. Flanz’s marriage to a fellow producer broke apart. Karlin left on bad terms with both Stewart and one of his oldest friends, playwright David Javerbaum. And yet what emerges is how … healthy the show was. Stewart could fly off the handle, but he generally treated people compassionately. He also had an eye for talent, as the elevation of Carell and Colbert, and the rise of Samantha Bee, John Oliver and Trevor Noah makes clear. Others talk about how his grasp of comedy made their work better, even if they had to rewrite it several times. Like many oral histories, the book starts to run out of gas as events draw to a close. The high points are all there – the 2000 election, Stewart vs. “Crossfire,” various interviews – but as Stewart got tired, I did, too. I’m not sure there’s anything Smith could have done about that, unless he wanted to drop the oral history format and wrap up with three or four chapters of subjective observations. But who needs that? Everybody already had their say. What I was left with was thanks. Without “The Daily Show,” it’s likely that the sharpest regular topical comedy we’d have, outside of the occasional “South Park” episode, would be some 2010s version of the “Dancing Itos.” Instead, as we march into the Trump Era, there’s “This Week Tonight,” “Full Frontal,” Seth Meyers’ “Closer Look,” Noah’s “Daily Show” and many others. We’ll need them all. Because, as a certain president-elect could tell you, nothing is inevitable until after the fact. And that president-elect, Jon Stewart would have you know, is named Fuckface von Clownstick. Thank you for your service, Mr. Stewart.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adam Bender

    As a fan of the show, I expected to like this book. But I didn't anticipate how interesting it would be from a historical perspective. The book takes readers through many major historical events, including several elections, 9/11 and major shootings, showing Jon Stewart and his crew figure out how to cover them as both comedians and people dedicated to exposing truth. And of course it also gets into a lot of internal politics, including a rough transition from the Kilborn era and some other dram As a fan of the show, I expected to like this book. But I didn't anticipate how interesting it would be from a historical perspective. The book takes readers through many major historical events, including several elections, 9/11 and major shootings, showing Jon Stewart and his crew figure out how to cover them as both comedians and people dedicated to exposing truth. And of course it also gets into a lot of internal politics, including a rough transition from the Kilborn era and some other dramas along the way. It's a long book, but the "oral history" format reads like a documentary film with a series of short comments from Jon, correspondents, writers, guests and others. It also includes transcripts of some of their best bits, which adds a lot of humor and nostalgia. I'd love to have a companion DVD with some of the notable clips they mention, but the book does a fairly good job without them.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I've always wondered what when on behind the scenes of The Daily Show. This was my opportunity to find out. This behind the scenes at the Daily Show has all the recognizable name correspondents and many only famous only if you are a credit reader. The number of people who took time to help write this book is a tribute to Jon Stewart and the show itself. The show evolved over Stewart's leadership. I always thought Stewart was a mensch. This book proves it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Siria

    A readable, nostalgic account of The Daily Show, focusing on its prime years when Jon Stewart was at the helm. (A quick google shows me that apparently viewership has increased under Trevor Noah, though that seems counter-intuitive to me. Is it anything like the cultural touchstone it once was? Even Last Week Tonight clips seem far more likely to go at least low-key viral than anything produced by TDS in the last few years, though maybe this perception is just a side-effect of me now being Old.) A readable, nostalgic account of The Daily Show, focusing on its prime years when Jon Stewart was at the helm. (A quick google shows me that apparently viewership has increased under Trevor Noah, though that seems counter-intuitive to me. Is it anything like the cultural touchstone it once was? Even Last Week Tonight clips seem far more likely to go at least low-key viral than anything produced by TDS in the last few years, though maybe this perception is just a side-effect of me now being Old.) It was nice to revisit some well-known sketches/bits and to learn just what went into making them. That said, while Chris Smith—who assembled the frame narrative around the lengthy interview excerpts—and the interviewees themselves were upfront about the moments of tension and conflict that peppered the show's run, The Daily Show: An Oral History does still read as slightly sanitised. I wasn't looking for a take down of Jon Stewart, but there wasn't enough distance provided here to really grapple with the show's issues with race and gender over the years. I found the section dealing with the infamous Jezebel article to be quite frustrating, for instance, particularly coming after recounting anecdotes about how male correspondents would, earlier in the show's run, kiss or grope women as part of a bit. There's clearly stuff to grapple with here that goes far beyond "some women on an internet site were unfair to the show", and perhaps in the future others will take the raw fodder presented here and do something more insightful with it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I moved to Washington, DC in 2008, and moved to a Maryland suburb in 2016. In nearly ten years, the only March or Rally I've ever attended was when Jon Stewart showed up to try and restore sanity in 2010. I couldn't hear a thing, but it was amazing. The sensibilities of The Daily Show and Colbert Report were so refreshing, and I had forgotten how great they were at what they did. This book made me feel nostalgic, and also helped me to appreciate how much work and commitment by an entire staff we I moved to Washington, DC in 2008, and moved to a Maryland suburb in 2016. In nearly ten years, the only March or Rally I've ever attended was when Jon Stewart showed up to try and restore sanity in 2010. I couldn't hear a thing, but it was amazing. The sensibilities of The Daily Show and Colbert Report were so refreshing, and I had forgotten how great they were at what they did. This book made me feel nostalgic, and also helped me to appreciate how much work and commitment by an entire staff went into making that show four nights a week. What I miss most is the they would mash up clips of politicians contradicting themselves. I always envisioned an army of interns watching all of the news shows and searching databases full of clips. It was nice to take a look behind the curtain and see that it was a group of smart, committed people working hard to put the show together. There's not a lot of shocking revelations or backstage drama here. It's an oral history, not a book of humor, so while it's naturally funny because of the people who contributed, it strikes me as more of a story about a particular time in history, politics, and popular culture that I realize inspires me still, as it did back then.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Fernando Hoces de la Guardia

    Really fun read. It gave me some additional insights on the history of TDS. I would strongly recommend it to fans of the show, and with equal strength, not recommend it to anybody else. Great reminder of what the show was about, but I am not sure there is a general message for non-die-hard fans. In that sense, it feels like a wasted opportunity, as the show itself had a strong general message of healthy skepticism of the media and strong call for action in politics and life.

  16. 5 out of 5

    April Pastis

    This book was a gift from someone who knew I loved the Daily Show, but I loved the show for its humor and biting commentary, none of which is present in this book. Instead, the book is a collection of random comments about the in-fighting that went on behind the scenes. By the fifth chapter, I began using the book only to put myself to sleep. If you want to re-experience office politics, just go re-watch Office Space (it's still available on Netflix). I would not recommend this book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anna Kander

    The book is a history of a (fake) news show, which means that the book is basically a history of American politics and pop culture from the 1990s to the present. It carried me back through painful moments as well as laughs, making the book a more emotional experience than I expected. The book balances funny bits from the show with commentary from the writers' room. As a fan of comedy writing--and as a politics junkie forever falling off the recovery wagon--I adored this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Toni Kief

    Interesting, and you can believe every testimony, but really dragged.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    Although the show’s beginnings and the Trevor Noah era are touched upon, the bulk of this book is about Jon Stewart’s tenure. Fair enough. He’s on the cover and all. And that is the period where most people started watching the show. Chris Smith has interviewed literally everyone for this book. Not only are there extensive quotes from the Daily Show staff--past and present, on-camera and off--but also from many of the interview subjects, and even public figures who were on the receiving end of so Although the show’s beginnings and the Trevor Noah era are touched upon, the bulk of this book is about Jon Stewart’s tenure. Fair enough. He’s on the cover and all. And that is the period where most people started watching the show. Chris Smith has interviewed literally everyone for this book. Not only are there extensive quotes from the Daily Show staff--past and present, on-camera and off--but also from many of the interview subjects, and even public figures who were on the receiving end of some of its more satirical barbs. If it's possible to create a more thorough history of the show, I cringe to think how long that book would be. I’m something of a latecomer to the show. I did watch quite a few of the initial episodes when Craig Kilborn was hosting, but I got out of the habit of watching. The show was on just a little too late for someone who often had to work an early shift, and setting the primitive VCR to tape it every night was more of a hassle than I wanted. Fast forward a number of years, and my son started using the On Demand function of our cable package to watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and I discovered what I’d been missing. So, although I was one of the people there at the beginning, I’ve only recently--since about the last few months of Stewart’s run--gotten back into it. Still, I have fond memories of many of the incidents towards the end of the book. Love it or hate it, The Daily Show has had a significant impact on our culture and political discourse. For now, at least, this book is the definitive history of the show. Recommended!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chris Dietzel

    I enjoyed listening to the audiobook of this a lot. I must have looked silly while I worked out because listening to some of the cast recount old stories would make me laugh for no apparent reason to those around me. Anyone who liked the show would enjoy this. Even as a long time fan of the show I learned a lot.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Trike

    Much like the Daily Show itself, this recounting starts slowly and then builds to have greater impact. Although everyone keeps trying to downplay its impact -- not the least Stewart himself -- there's no getting around the fact that the Daily Show under Jon Stewart's guidance became a cultural touchstone and an important player in American politics. The book goes into the behind-the-scenes politics and personality plays that formed The Daily Show, as well as some of the purely technical aspects of Much like the Daily Show itself, this recounting starts slowly and then builds to have greater impact. Although everyone keeps trying to downplay its impact -- not the least Stewart himself -- there's no getting around the fact that the Daily Show under Jon Stewart's guidance became a cultural touchstone and an important player in American politics. The book goes into the behind-the-scenes politics and personality plays that formed The Daily Show, as well as some of the purely technical aspects of how the show was created. I'm equally interested in both the writing process and the use of technology and how they developed and changed over time. In that regard I found the book really interesting. Less interesting to me is the same old story of internecine conflicts, because that happens everywhere. Any halfway-decent showbiz book will talk about the successes and failures of relationships in these situations, and they have a familiarity because it's the same sort of people doing the same type of job experiencing the same pressures. In that regard this book is similar to books about SNL or Your Show of Shows or the I Love Lucy. People are people and people are nuts. I quite liked reading how they went from stacks of clunky 3/4-inch videotape to banks of high tech DVRs which automatically captioned what people said so the writers could easily and instantly access recordings. The bigger picture about the impact the show had on politics and culture was nicely done. It seems like no one held back, which is always refreshing, and having multiple points of view really gives the book a Rashomon-like feel. Personal commentary about the state of mainstream media follows. Skip if you want. (view spoiler)[I am of the same generation as Stewart, Colbert, et al, and we share the same disappointment, anger and outrage over media's abdication of their responsibility in speaking truth to power. Edward R. Murrow was instrumental in checking the bullshit Communist witch hunts of the self-aggrandizing Senator Joe McCarthy. Walter Cronkite's condemnation of the Vietnam War turned the US political leadership against it. Jon Stewart and the crew of the Daily Show had a similar impact on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. People always say, "But these problems area till with us!" Yes. Evil men and women are continually rising to power, which is why we must remain ever vigilant against them. It ebbs and flows, but the battle rages on. For quite a long time in the 1980s and 90s there was no one with the cultural impact of Murrow and Cronkite actively fighting that battle. It wasn't until Stewart took over the Daily Show and remolded it into an incisive satire machine that we had new champions arise. It wasn't just challenging authority, it was explaining what was happening and trusting the audience to understand the point that was important. Anyone can be the obnoxious kid in the back of class throwing spitballs and making snide remarks; but to challenge authority with facts and reality and simple truth in order to effect change as a wiseass takes real skill. I recall one moment when the Texas Democrats fled the state house in order to avoid a vote, no network news did anything besides make note of it. Some of them joked about it. Not CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, not even PBS, no one got into the "why" of it. Only the Daily Show did that. They talked about what was happening and why, and were incredibly funny all the while. The real news media should have been ashamed of that, but they never were. They continued with their "Nuzak" without bothering to go in depth. It's only recently with the election of Trump has the mainstream media reached into its pants and found its balls, starting to hold lying politicians accountable for their bullshit. Whether they maintain this attitude once he solidifies his power is unknown. I'm cynical enough to not bet on it, but fortunately the Daily Show spin-offs are still out there carrying on the fight. (hide spoiler)]

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn

    If you want to read this, listen to it. I don't think I could have gotten as far reading it. This is an interesting account of how The Daily Show became what it was under Jon Stewart. I ultimately lost interest 2/3 of the way through in hearing more about the lives of overworked, busy New Yorkers. This made me glad to live a slower pace in the Midwest.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Peter Knox

    I credit TDS with my political awakening, watching most nights in college at 11 before starting my homework. Then I moved to NYC and found myself lucky enough to see three live tapings, including the last ever Jon Stewart show. And so this oral history was made for me as it covered all of the Jon Stewart years, taking over after Craig Kilborn, the rough transition that followed, how they established themselves differently, and finding their voice during the Bush years, all the way through contrac I credit TDS with my political awakening, watching most nights in college at 11 before starting my homework. Then I moved to NYC and found myself lucky enough to see three live tapings, including the last ever Jon Stewart show. And so this oral history was made for me as it covered all of the Jon Stewart years, taking over after Craig Kilborn, the rough transition that followed, how they established themselves differently, and finding their voice during the Bush years, all the way through contract negotiations and leaving the show. So there's tons of amazing behind the scenes trivia and personalities. You hear from the politicians and friends and enemies alike. They even lay out their detailed process for writing and editing jokes and headlines; crafting field pieces and the narrative shaping the story editing would undergo on the way to air. TDS was exposing fake news and media biases and hypocrisies well over a decade ago that we take for granted now in politics. There is plenty of ugly, dirty laundry and emotionally strained survivor tales told over control and egos and hurt feelings. They go over the contract negotiations and how Colbert then Stewart left the network. And there was a ton of personal, human, and hilarious stories that made me laugh out loud and want to rewatch old pieces. Basically this was a perfect read for any TDS fan, plus a chance to relive the historic finale that I'll never forget. For everyone else, still 4 stars. It'll make you wish a million times that Stewart was still on air for these dark days of the current administration.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carter

    **I received this book free of charge via a Goodreads giveaway** Sadly, I did not finish this book. The Daily Show is one of my favorite TV shows and I was sad when Jon Stewart left. I was looking forward to reading this book and was thrilled when I won a copy. This book is written as an oral history--there is no prose narrative. Different people associated with the show provide anecdotes. I would not have minded this format accept the anecdotes did not create a cohesive narrative. It was interes **I received this book free of charge via a Goodreads giveaway** Sadly, I did not finish this book. The Daily Show is one of my favorite TV shows and I was sad when Jon Stewart left. I was looking forward to reading this book and was thrilled when I won a copy. This book is written as an oral history--there is no prose narrative. Different people associated with the show provide anecdotes. I would not have minded this format accept the anecdotes did not create a cohesive narrative. It was interesting to hear how Jon Stewart changed The Daily Show after taking over for Craig Kilborn because I was too young to watch when Craig Kilborn hosted. However, it was hard to glean a cohesive string of information from this book. The narrative created by the oral history is choppy and random information was inserted that had nothing to do with the topic being discussed. A lot of the storytellers seemed to be airing dirty laundry and that is not what I enjoy reading. Though the book does provide some insight into the evolution of the show, I could not get past 150 pages. It could just be that the oral history format and I did not get along, but if you are missing Jon Stewart on The Daily Show I don't think this book is for you.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    Really good, thorough oral history of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. There's a little information about Stewart's career prior to the Daily Show and a little information about Craig Kilborn's run, but the book really begins where Stewart took over the show and goes from t here. It illuminates a lot of behind-the-scenes issues, inner workings of the show, and clearly illustrates how Stewart's particular style and perspective changed the show and, really, the landscape of American political comm Really good, thorough oral history of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. There's a little information about Stewart's career prior to the Daily Show and a little information about Craig Kilborn's run, but the book really begins where Stewart took over the show and goes from t here. It illuminates a lot of behind-the-scenes issues, inner workings of the show, and clearly illustrates how Stewart's particular style and perspective changed the show and, really, the landscape of American political commentary on television. If it weren't for Stewart, it seems unlikely that we'd have Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, etc. Stewart seems like a genuinely good-hearted guy, and this book only made me like him (and, really, all of the correspondents, producers, and writers) even more. Definitely worth a read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stacia

    This book is amazing! First, it's a great behind the scenes look at The Daily Show and everything that went into putting it on the air. I've watched off and on since 1996, and I remember when the show was primarily entertainment news. Jon Stewart really put his stamp on that show. He infused it with direction, a point of view, and nurtured talent. The Daily Show had a strong history of finding new talent, promoting from within, and letting people go to meet new challenges. Given everything I've l This book is amazing! First, it's a great behind the scenes look at The Daily Show and everything that went into putting it on the air. I've watched off and on since 1996, and I remember when the show was primarily entertainment news. Jon Stewart really put his stamp on that show. He infused it with direction, a point of view, and nurtured talent. The Daily Show had a strong history of finding new talent, promoting from within, and letting people go to meet new challenges. Given everything I've learned, I'm surprised Jon was able to keep doing this for sixteen years without burning out or going crazy! Second, The Daily Show also shows the evolution of mainstream news organizations and how we consume their product. It illustrates the political and emotional climate of America, from 1998-2015. I had forgotten what life was like before YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Debra Komar

    4.5 stars, rounded up Love Jon Stewart and loved the show he created. This is an interesting approach - a series of interviews with the key players that creates a time line of the show from conception to completion. It isn't funny (although I did laugh out loud at a few of the transcript parts) but it is fascinating. They wisely (and maturely) choose to side-step a few of the controversial staff changes. No one gets bashed and everyone gets the credit they deserve.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    4.5 stars...but I'm rounding up because...it's The Daily Show and I miss Jon Stewart. I loved the way the book told the story in the timeline from when it started to when it ended with the actual people telling the story. I loved the quotes and first hand accounts from the people that worked on it. It is a little long...but it is entertaining. There are things I had forgotten about. If you are a Jon Stewart/The Daily Show fan this is a must read book for you.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mary Bird

    For the love of Jon Stewart, read this damn book. It made me want to be 50,000,000x better at my job. This book is great.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

    If I could give something an infinite amount of stars. This show was everything to me and I miss him so much.

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