Jon Stewart

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Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart (born November 28, 1962 as Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz) is an American comedian, actor, author, and producer, best known as host of The Daily Show. Due to the popularity of this late night show, Stewart has gained notoriety as "the most trusted name in fake news," a reflection of his semi-serious stature as the Walter Cronkite for a younger generation. He has also gained attention as an outspoken critic of established news media sources.


Personal background

Jon Stewart was raised in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Although he often jokes that he dropped his last name because people had difficulty with its pronunciation, Stewart has implied that it was actually due to a strained relationship with his father, a physicist who left the family in 1971 and with whom Stewart no longer has any contact [1] ( A member of his school's band, he was the only Jewish child in his town, and he has said he was subjected to much anti-Semitic harassment from some of his classmates. He was also short, still standing just 5′7″. He describes his high school self as "very into Eugene Debs and a bit of a leftist."

Stewart attended the College of William and Mary in Virginia, majoring in psychology, and played on the men's soccer team. An award titled the "Leibo" was given out annually in honor of Stewart; it is given to the member of the men's soccer team who experiences the most personal growth and provides the most laughs for his teammates.

After college, Stewart held numerous jobs, including contingency planner for the New Jersey Department of Human Services, contract administrator for City University of New York, puppeteer for children with disabilities, and bartender at the local Franklin Corner Tavern. He was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, but quit after six months. [2] (

Stewart married long-time girlfriend Tracey McShane in 2000, at which time they both legally changed their last names to "Stewart." The couple had their first child, Nathan Thomas, on July 3, 2004.

In 2004, Jon Stewart was the keynote speaker at Princeton University's commencement ceremony.

In 2004, Stewart spoke at William and Mary's commencement ceremonies, and was presented with an honorary doctorate of arts degree. Transcript of speech (

Professional background

With a reputation for being a funnyman even in school, Jon Stewart moved to New York City in 1986 to try his hand at the comedy club circuit. In 1989 he began hosting Comedy Central's Short Attention Span Theater and in 1993, due in large part to the support of his friend David Letterman, Stewart started hosting The Jon Stewart Show on MTV, the first talk show on that network. Also in 1993, he had wound up a finalist to replace David Letterman on Late Night, losing out to Conan O'Brien. In 1994, MTV and Paramount launched an hour-long syndicated late night version of The Jon Stewart Show, but the show, broadcast in unhelpful 2:00 or 3:00 AM timeslots by some local stations, was a ratings flop and was cancelled in June 1995. Stewart had earlier hosted the unsuccessful You Wrote It, You Watch It on MTV, which invited viewers to send in their stories to be acted out.

In 1999, Stewart began hosting The Daily Show on Comedy Central when Craig Kilborn left the show. Since that time, he has hosted all airings of the program save for a scant handful that have had correspondents such as Stephen Colbert filling in at the anchor desk.

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Jon Stewart reacting to a Bush clip in his late night television show The Daily Show

Although best known for his work on The Daily Show, Stewart has also had roles in several television series and movies. He makes fun of his film appearances, as they have largely been in movies considered to be flops, most notably Half Baked. He has guest-starred on such television shows as The Nanny, Spin City, and NewsRadio and hosted Saturday Night Live in March 2002.

Stewart drew much attention thanks to an unusual, awkward, and heated television exchange with CNN's Tucker Carlson in October 2004. Stewart decried the state of television journalism and referred to both Carlson, whom he also declared to be "as big a dick on your show as you are on any show" and co-host Paul Begala as "partisan hacks," in addition to asserting that their show, Crossfire, has failed in its responsibility to inform and educate viewers about politics as a serious topic (transcript) ( This exchange became one of the most widely viewed Internet videos to date (both publicly on iFilm and bootleg via BitTorrent), and a topic of much media discussion. In January 2005, CNN announced that it was cancelling Crossfire. When asked about the cancellations, CNN's incoming CEO, Jonathan Klein, stated he "wholeheartedly agrees" with Stewart's "overall premise."

Stewart has received the prestigious Peabody Award twice for the coverage of the 2000 and 2004 U.S. presidential elections on The Daily Show. He was also named one of the 2005 Time 100, an annual list of 100 of the most influential people of the year by Time Magazine. In the magazine article, Tom Brokaw describes Stewart as one of the few people who represents true Athenian democratic values.


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