What I learned from Jon Stewart
Before I begin, some context for those who don’t know Jon Stewart;
Jonathan “Jon” Stewart (born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz; November 28, 1962) is an American political satirist, writer, producer, director, television host, actor, media critic, and stand-up comedian. He is the host of The Daily Show, a satirical news program that airs on Comedy Central.
Stewart’s badge of intelligence is his ability to elucidate the absurdities of today’s media world
I first started watching him in the 2000s through The Daily Show, where he did what very few news anchors did, he didn’t beat around the bush. He called it as he saw it, I watched him talk to future presidents, writers, producers, and the list goes on, if you didn’t watch him before I suggest you do so and fast,,, as earlier this week Jon Stewart announced the he is leaving The Daily Show,
Now that I have given some context, Let’s get to it:
- Even if you are a comedian, sometimes you need to be serious:
On October 15, 2004, Jon Stewart appeared on the program to promote his book America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction. He criticized the format of Crossfire and the style of arguments presented on the show. He said the program failed its responsibility to the public discourse and indulged in partisan hackery, reducing news coverage of important issues to a series of talking points from both extremes of the political spectrum: “It’s hurting America. Here is what I wanted to tell you guys: Stop… You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.”
Additionally in response to prods from Carlson, “Come on. Be funny,” Stewart said, “No, I’m not going to be your monkey.” Later in the show when Carlson jibed, “I do think you’re more fun on your show,” Stewart retorted, “You’re as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.” In response to Stewart’s criticisms, Carlson said, “You need to get a job at a journalism school,” to which Stewart responded, “You need to go to one!”
- Never say something and then deny it,,, especially if you said it on tape…
The situation that comes in mind is the famous Stewart Vs. Cramer… It all started with Jon nailing CNBC on giving bad investment advice, the clip that Jon showed was supposed to be followed by Rick Santelli who cancelled, Jon decided to run the clip anyway. Later Jim Cramer admitted, “OK, I’m a tempting target. Plenty of people come in and give their criticism on this show. But we’re dealing with serious issues here; we need solutions, which I offer almost every night. I don’t want ad hominem attacks. Take The New York Times columnist Frank Rich and Jon Stewart; I criticize Obama, so both of them seize on the urban legend that I recommended Bear Stearns the week before it collapsed, when I simply told an e-mailer that the deposit in his account at Bear Stearns was safe. ‘Your money is safe in Bear Stearns,'”. Cramer also outlined, “But through a clever sound bite, Stewart, and subsequently Rich—neither of whom have bothered to listen to the context of the pulled quote—pass off the notion of account safety as an out-and-out buy recommendation. If you called Mad Money and asked me about Citigroup, I would tell you that the common stock might be worthless, but I would never tell you to pull your money out of the bank because I was worried about its solvency. Your money is safe in Citi as I said it was in Bear. The fact that I was right rankles me even more.” Stewart jokingly responded with an apology for taking Cramer’s comments out of context. “OK, I was wrong. So Jim Cramer, I apologize,” Stewart said. He then promptly showcased video of Cramer suggesting the safety of Bear Stearns stock during the Lightning Round on Mad Money, five days prior to the collapse of Bear Stearns. Stewart then stated, “He’s not saying literally ‘I’m asking you to buy Bear Stearns’; for that you have to go back a full seven weeks before the stock completely collapsed.” Stewart then showed additional video footage of Cramer on January 24, 2008 telling TheStreet.com TV viewers to specifically “buy Bear Stearns” stock seven weeks before it collapsed. A clip showed Cramer’s stating that he liked the stock at prices above $60, and later on February 5, 2008, Cramer changed Bear Stearns’ rating to a Sell on TheStreet.com.
After a couple of days of back and forth on this matter, Cramer appeared as a guest on The Daily Show, and once Cramer entered, Stewart aired archive footage of Cramer admitting to the ease of manipulating markets and commented that Cramer’s on-air personality lacks honesty: “I understand you want to make finance entertaining, but it’s not a fucking game. And when I watch that, I get, I can’t tell you how angry that makes me. Because what it says to me is: you all know. You all know what’s going on. You know, you can draw a straight line from those shenanigans to the stuff that was being pulled at Bear, and AIG, and all this derivative market stuff that is this weird Wall Street side bet.” Stewart said of Cramer in particular, “I can’t reconcile the brilliance and knowledge that you have of the intricacies of the market with the crazy bullshit I see you do every night.”
The interview ended with Stewart suggesting, “Maybe we can remove ‘In Cramer We Trust’ and go back to the fundamentals and I can go back to making fart noises and funny faces.” Cramer responded: “I think we make that deal right here.”
- Surround yourself with people smarter than you.
When it comes to guests appearing on his show, Jon doesn’t mind adding guests even if they were not mainstream, he would get people with a cause that matters, he would get intelligence to his show, I believe a better way to put is: He brings intelligent people in a relaxed comedic setting.
Some names include: David Rose, Michio Kaku, Miguel Nicolelis, Elon Musk, Lisa Randall, Bill Gates, Neil deGrasse Tyson, T. Boone Pickens, Missy Cummings, Ban Ki-Moon, Jane Goodall, Kofi Annan, Warren Buffett.
- Take care of your subordinates.
A true leader never shines alone, and Stewart shows this proudly in launching multiple careers such as:
- Stephen Colbert (1997-2005)
It was only a few months ago when Stephen Colbert left his hugely popular spin-off from The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, to begin work as the host of the Late Show on CBS. For eight years, Colbert was Stewart’s foil, always playing Devil’s advocate and siding with the Conservative perspective on any issue. Leaving the The Daily Show to host The Colbert Report for nine years, Colbert has run for president, been the featured entertainer at a White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, and testified in a Congressional hearing.
- John Oliver (2006-2013)
A comedian from across the pond, John Oliver was dubbed The Daily Show’s Senior British Person. After guest hosting in Jon Stewart’s place while he was off shooting the film Rosewater during the summer of 2013, Oliver was offered his own late night show on HBO. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver premiered on April 27, 2014.
- Larry Wilmore (2006-2014)
The Daily Show’s Senior Black Correspondent, Wilmore’s eight years as a correspondent lead to his own Comedy Central show. The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore premiered on January 19, 2015, taking over the spot recently vacated by The Colbert Report. While a correspondent on The Daily Show, Wilmore appeared in movies such as I Love You, Man and Dinner for Schmucks and had a recurring part on the sitcom series Happy Endings.
- Aasif Mandvi (2006-present)
Even if you’ve never seen Mandvi on an episode of The Daily Show, you’re still certain to have caught him in one of the many roles he’s played on shows such as The Sopranos or Law & Order, or in one of his many movie roles. Since he started with The Daily Show nine years ago, Mandvi has had roles in The Proposal, The Internship, Movie 43, Premium Rush and The Dictator.
- The Young Generation is The Future.
Since he started in the late 90s Jon aimed his show to the Millennials, proving that Millennials actually care about the political scene, but we have to call out the absurdities of it.
Thank you for delivering was what supposed to be delivered by the “real” news media…
Finally, here is his resignation: