“What I did not realize is, a lot of the people who worked there were assholes.”
In the interview, Stewart stated that he had discussions with the higher-ups describing the type of satire he intended to provide, a dramatic change in the direction of the show from previous host Craig Kilborn.
According to Stewart, when he got into the initial meetings with the writers and producers, he met strong resistance was told, point-blank, not to change or improvise the jokes. This didn’t sit well with Stewart and according to him, he immediately contacted his agent about quitting. Ultimately, though, and thankfully for the rest of us, he was convinced to stay and, through natural attrition over the next few seasons, a new staff gradually came into the fold — one more in tune with Stewart’s philosophy.
It is difficult to imagine how a more scripted show would have been as entertaining. More importantly, however, is the level of reality-soaked satire Stewart has brought to the show during his tenure. He has made it the go-to place for in-depth analysis on many subjects the mainstream media is unwilling or unable to cover, while simultaneously serving as one of the singled biggest fact-checkers on the air today.
Who else could have extracted a pound of flesh from Chris Christie in an amusing manner while still illustrating the absurdity of the current Republican philosophy? Who else could illustrate the inconsistency of the reasons behind the voting down of the UN Disability Treaty? Who could have done a better job in putting Fox News’ War On Christmas into perspective?
The interview also touched on other issues that even regular and long-time viewers would find unfamiliar. For instance, Salman Rushdie was upset that Jon Stewart had Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) on stage in the battle of the train-themed songs at the Rally to Restore Sanity festivities. As it turns out, Stewart was unaware that Yusuf had supported the fatwa against Rushdie’s publication of the The Satanic Verses, and, it was noted, further appearances by the performer were cancelled.
Jon Stewart uses humor as a front for discussing many of the foremost issues in America, and the world, today, but the reality is that he has nothing to hide. The mainstream media that should be the source of real information, factual and objective political analysis, and serve as a filter for the citizenry, has failed miserably for reasons that have been discussed in many articles. Luckily for us, Stewart saw it fit to weather the storm and stick around.