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Jon Stewart Almost Quit “The Daily Show” Because Staff Was “Insane”

The comedian says staffers tried to block his vision of "The Daily Show," and he asked his agent to help him escape.
 
 
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Comedian Jon Stewart opened up to Stephen Colbert at last week’s fundraiser for the Montclair Film Festival, surprising the audience when the fake news anchor admitted that “The Daily Show,” as we currently know it, almost didn’t happen.

Third Beat reports that Stewart had serious doubts after taking the helm of the show, previously hosted by Craig Kilborn. “What I did not realize is, a lot of the people who worked there were assholes,” Stewart said.

“I had, before taking [the job], some conversations with the powers that be there about the direction I thought we could move the show…. I wanted it to be satirical in the classic sense of the word, not the Spy magazine sense of the word where you just add adjectives like ‘pepperpot’,” he said.

[Stewart] said when he met with the writing staff the month prior to taking over the show, he “got the impression that that had been discussed,” and he was met with strong resistance.

Stewart, who was told that he could not change the jokes, called his agent, saying “get me the fuck out of this. These people are insane.” He admitted that he “had to be talked down from a moderately high cliff” from quitting. Fortunately for America, Stewart stuck it out — but it took him “about two and a half years for the ‘natural winnowing process’ to leave him with a fully supportive staff.”

 

Prachi Gupta is an assistant news editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

 
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