Who is Jon Stewart?

Dana Hinders

Comedian Jon Stewart is best known for his unique brand of political satire. As the host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show , Jon Stewart issues faux news reports about various current events. However, as a tribute to how far Jon Stewart’s influence reaches in popular culture, it is interesting to note that the asteroid “116939 Jonstewart” was named in his honor on 1 June 2007.

Jon Stewart hosts Comedy Central's satirical news program, "The Daily Show".
Jon Stewart hosts Comedy Central's satirical news program, "The Daily Show".

Jon Stewart was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz on 28 November 1962. As a member of the marching band and one of the few Jewish students in his school, he was frequently teased as a child. However, he graduated third in his high school class and later attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia as a psychology major and a member of the men’s soccer team.

After graduating from college, Jon Stewart found himself struggling to find suitable employment. He briefly worked as a puppeteer, caterer, construction worker, busboy, bartender, and shelf stocker before discovering his passion for comedy. He moved to New York City in 1986 to join the stand-up comedy circuit.

Jon Stewart’s first public appearance was at The Bitter End , a club best known for giving Woody Allen his comedic start. Soon after, he became a regular performer at the Comedy Cellar . At this time, he began using the stage name Jon Stewart. However, the exact reasons for the name change are unknown. The change may have been due to the fact that his original last name was difficult to pronounce or it may have been the result of a disagreement with his father.

In 1999, Jon Stewart replaced Craig Kilborn as the host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Although his previous television experience was somewhat limited, Jon Stewart quickly grabbed the public’s attention. As host, writer, and co-executive producer, he gave the show a quirky edge that contributed to winning nine Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards. His coverage of the 2000 presidential election, dubbed “Indecision 2000” is widely credited with helping to turn The Daily Show into one of cable television’s most popular programs.

In addition to being one of the world’s most successful comedians, Jon Stewart is also an accomplished author. In 1998, he released a collection of humorous stories and essays titled Naked Pictures of Famous People — a book which eventually reached The New York Times bestseller list. His 2004 follow-up, America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction, ended the year as a top 15 bestseller.

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Discussion Comments


I read somewhere that more Americans get their news from Jon Stewart on the Daily Show than anywhere else. If they're going to get their news from a fake news show, at least it's a good one. Jon Stewart is a very intelligent man, which you can tell by the way he never misses a beat during interviews. I would almost like to see him as a real news host, although he'd never do it in a million years.

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