Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart

Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart

Lisa Rogak

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 1250080479

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A New York Times Bestseller

Since his arrival at The Daily Show, Jon Stewart has become one of the major players in comedy as well as one of the most significant liberal voices in the media. In Angry Optimist, Lisa Rogak follows his unlikely rise to stardom, from his early days growing up in New Jersey, through his years as a struggling stand-up comic in New York, and on to the short-lived but acclaimed The Jon Stewart Show, before at last landing a job as host of a half-hour comedy show that at the time was still finding its footing amidst roiling internal drama.

Once there, Stewart transformed The Daily Show into one of the most influential news programs on television today. Drawing on interviews with current and former colleagues and with new material on his departure from The Daily Show, Angry Optimist reveals how Jon Stewart has come to wield incredible power in American politics and changed how the news is reported along the way.

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two people hold court in a living room, punctuated with occasional sparring. Then, after more than a decade away from sitting behind a talk-show desk, Snyder had signed on to The Late Late Show in 1995, which was launched by David Letterman’s production company Worldwide Pants as a way to hold on to viewers after his own show ended at 12:35 A.M. The irreverent Snyder was a great choice for that time slot and he would helm the show until the spring of 1999. Stewart first sat in for Tom Snyder in

than usual because as a British citizen, he was at risk of being deported if he went on strike. On February 12, the strike officially ended, the show returned the next day, and it didn’t take long for things to return to normal. *   *   * But Stewart’s version of normal for years had been a cycle of sheer exhaustion when it came to the show. He had hosted The Daily Show for ten years now. The cracks were beginning to show. And it was clear he was looking for a new challenge. But gripe as he

want the legacy to be, ‘It was the funniest show in television history!’” he joked. “But you want it to be appreciated. More than anything I would hope people would be like, ‘Those guys fucking brought it every night.’” And while the show might have started as simple comedy, the vertically challenged, wisecracking Jewish kid from Jersey knows it’s been no joke. “It’s been an absolute privilege and the honor of my professional life,” he told an audience in mourning. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Eternal

of it”: Geri Richter Campbell, “Dish.” Jane, January/February 1999. “it’s going to fail”: Ed Bark, “Show Time for Stewart: Host Gets a Daily Forum for His Brand of Quick Wit.” Dallas Morning News, January 10, 1999. “and wish you could say”: Biography Presents Jon Stewart. “a relaxing effect on his personality”: Ibid. “it’s just a heightened performance”: Daniel Schack, “Jon Stewart Q&A.” The Daily Northwestern, February 19, 2001. “I am able to do here”: Janice Turner, “How Jon Stewart Became

contracted bubonic plague, though only the female mosquitoes bit. “I had all sorts of chiggers and bites. It was insane.” Once that job ended, he continued on to a local science research lab, and he took a job where his tenure was mercifully short, for obvious reasons: “The scientists would pour radioactive chemicals into beakers and tell me to clean them out,” he said. Next, he took another job working for the state of New Jersey as a puppeteer putting on shows for disabled children with an

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