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An Introduction to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

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  3. Audience

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a comical news show that has been running since 1996. The Daily Show is known for its real world news, combined with a satirical edge. The show has grown more and more in popularity due to the exciting and witty way the news is portrayed. Jon Stewart’s controversial and humorous opinions have driven the show to its success. Jon Stewart relays current events and television news to create various jokes to get his opinion across and at the same time uncover the foibles of the real world and news stations. I believe that The Daily Show with Jon Stewart effectively relays its message due to the visual and structural analysis, its real world news, comedic relief.

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Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz was born on November 28th, 1962 in New York City. He changed his name to John Stewart after a strained relationship with his father. Stewart graduated from the College of William and Mary where he studied psychology. After college Stewart held an array of jobs including a contact administrator, a soccer coach, a bartender, a puppeteer, and many more. Stewart used his reputation as a “funny man” in school to build his confidence of getting on the stage. In 1987 he made his debut at “The Bitter End” and became a regular at the “Comedy Cellar”. (John Stewart)

In 1990, he started his own production company, Busboy Productions, which did not have much success. His career really took off in 1993 when he developed The Jon Stewart Show on MTV which aired until 1995 (IMDB). Stewart was involved in The Daily Show but it wasn’t until 1999 when Stewart started hosting it instead of Craig Kilborn. During this time Jon hosted numerous political figures like John McCain, actors like Samuel L. Jackson, and musicians like Bruce Springsteen. His energetic and opinionated personality drove the show to great success. Jon’s final episode with The Daily Show was August 6th, 2015 (IMDB). He has since been replaced by South African comedian, Trevor Noah. During his career, Stewart had roles in several films including famous titles such as Big Daddy and Half Baked. He also guest starred in TV series including American Dad, Sesame Street, and The Simpsons (IMDB). Jon has one twenty-two Primetime Emmys and is now currently an executive producer on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Not only has he hosted guest on his show but Stewart also hosted The Grammy Awards twice and the Academy Awards twice.


The Daily Show with Jon Stewart only grew in popularity after he took over. At first glance the show seems to be a legitimate news report. It opens with music, a globe, and words flying around the screen. Jon Stewart sits at his normal looking desk on the set of what looks like a real news studio. He is in front of a couple of blue papers which he has said in his show are only there for the effect. A screen is in the top left corner to show clips and pictures like a normal newscast. The show begins as Stewart greets the audience and informs of that shows guest, if there will be one. It seems like a real news report. That is until Jon jumps into the current events and starts poking fun at political figures and their most recent blunders. I believe the visual effects and structure of the entire show is a reason why it is effective at relaying the message. It sets the tone of a legitimate news report that also provides comedic relief.

Throughout the years there has been controversy over whether The Daily Show provides credible or fake news. Although there are a few fake segments in the show, the vast majority of the show is real credible news that Stewart sees on programs like CNN and Fox News (The Daily Show). He analyzes the news and reports in a satirical way to not only grab the viewer’s attention but to call for action. There is obviously new news everyday which keeps the show entertaining. Although the news reports change, Stewart finds a way to unravel the morality of the issues being discussed, like when Stewarts critiqued CNN: Crossfire and its hosts, whom he blamed for reducing complex social issues to two-dimensional grist for partisan bickering

Another reason why I believe that The Daily Show is so effective is that since the show is on Comedy Central, Jon Stewart has a lot of leeway in what he can and does say about political figures, news stations, and the government. In normal news reports the anchor usually relays information about current events with very little room for opinions. This could be because the station could be ridiculed for the opinions of it anchor. However, with The Daily Show, the whole show is based around the opinions of it’s anchor, Jon Stewart. His sometimes vulgar language and insults against certain figures provides a news report like no other. This freedom the Jon has allows him to express his feeling in anyway he wants which I think draws some viewers in. Stewart isn’t always sarcastic and vulgar, however. In the episode that aired after September 11th, 2001, Jon threw away all jokes to focus on the tragedy that had just affected the nation. He called for action and awareness.

I also believe that The Daily Show is popular due to its comic relief. In many real news reports there isn’t room for comedy seeing how the whole show revolves around relaying all of the important current news to its audience. The Daily Show on the other hand relays current news that Jon Stewart sees that day and decides to report about. Whatever he reports on, Jon finds a way to satirize it. By doing so the news isn’t as hard to listen too. This comic relief helps to relieve the tension of the subject. I think it helps look at the humorous aspect. He teaches the audience to not be as cynical.


Every show has a specific audience that they target. Not that they only want to target this audience, but they know what the majority of their viewers like. In studies done on news shows and satirical news shows, The Daily Show’s target audience is typically younger. With around 39% being 18-29 years old and 36% being 30-49 years old, there are not many viewers over the age of 50 (Pew Research Center). Seeing how The Daily Show is not exactly always a reliable source of news, this study does not surprise me. Although the show reports on real current events, there is a lot of jokes about these events that take up time. Certain people who want the news right away without interruptions would prefer their news be delivered by a news station such as Fox or CNN. That’s not always the case for younger viewers.

Younger viewers aren’t necessarily interested in listening to the often depressing news that anchors spit out while staring at papers or a teleprompter. They want someone to deliver the current events in a way in which the anchor has an opinion that they can relate to. Stewart obviously speaks on behalf of everyone watching that doesn’t always have a voice in how things are run. A study in 2007 by the Pew Research Center showed that viewers who watch The Daily show and The Colbert Report were slightly more knowledgeable of the election and of news and current events than those who relied on real newscast and the newspaper.

Personally, I feel that The Daily Show could and should be viewed by anyone. The sometimes inappropriate language and the real world events might not be suitable for viewers under the age of 16. Other than that the show provides real news with a large dose of satire to give the viewer a better idea of the situations that occur in politics and the everyday world. Jon Stewart relays the news in a way to not only make the viewer laugh and to keep them interested in the show but also to inform about real situations and call for action.

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I believe the real newscast feel, real world news, and comic relief make The Daily Show successful and effective at delivering politics and world issues in an entertaining way. Jon Stewart changed the way certain people view the news and provided an amusing daily fix of world events for viewers that are sick of the same news reporters reading a prompt.

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