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Jon Stewart: From Stand-Up Comic to Host of the Daily Show

Jon Stewart: From Stand-Up Comic to Host of the Daily Show
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz was born November 28th, 1962 in New York City, and was raised in New Jersey. Enduring bullying from classmates who mocked his Jewish roots, he used his wisecracking skills to combat this ridicule, and soon discovered his comedic talent. As a result, he moved to New York City to try his hand at stand-up. He began performing in local clubs before earning a spot as a regular at the Comedy Cellar. Eventually he not only landed television and film roles, but became the host of "The Daily Show." Join http://www.WatchMojo.com as we take a look at the career of Jon Stewart.
Jon Stewart: From Stand-Up Comic to Host of the Daily Show His sharp political satire is hated by the right and revered by the left. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be taking a look at the career of Jon Stewart. Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz was born November 28th, 1962 in New York City, and was raised in New Jersey. Stewart’s rocky childhood was worsened by his parents’ divorce, and by the bullying he endured from classmates who mocked his Jewish roots. He used his wisecracking skills to combat this ridicule, and soon discovered his comedic talent. After earning a psychology degree in 1984, Stewart worked a variety of odd jobs: he was a busboy and a bartender, performed puppet shows for disabled children and even worked for the New Jersey Department of Human Services. In 1986, he finally decided to use his natural abilities as a comedian: he moved to New York City to give stand-up a try. He began performing in local clubs under the stage name “Jon Stewart.” While he initially struggled with late-night billing and empty venues, he earned a spot as a regular at the Comedy Cellar and used this time to perfect his style and delivery. By 1989, he became a writer for the television program “Caroline’s Comedy Hour.” It wasn’t long before he began co-hosting Comedy Central’s “Short Attention Span Theater,” as well as MTV’s “You Wrote It, You Watch It.” In 1993, Stewart was up against some comedy stalwarts to replace David Letterman on his late-night NBC show. He ultimately lost to former “Saturday Night Live” and “Simpsons’” writer Conan O’Brien, but that didn’t slow down his career. Instead, he began developing the interview-based variety series “The Jon Stewart Show” for MTV. It was an instant hit, and it soon became an hour-long late-night program that replaced “The Arsenio Hall Show.” However, ratings dropped when the series was moved to compete with other late-night talk shows, and it was cancelled after just two years. Stewart then turned his attention to acting in feature films: he played the romantic lead in both “Playing by Heart” and “Wishful Thinking,” and portrayed an alien-possessed professor in the horror film “The Faculty.” He finally returned to comedy in “Half Baked” and “Big Daddy.” Throughout the ‘90s, Stewart also had an HBO comedy special, and began guest hosting on “The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder.” His success there foreshadowed what came next in his career. In 1999, Stewart replaced Craig Kilborn as host of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central. He revamped the series to address news and politics with sarcastic humor, acerbic satire and quick dialogue. Stewart himself was known for slinging cutting remarks and the rare bad impersonation from his anchor chair, and this helped win him countless Emmy Awards for his work as writer and producer. The show even earned Peabody Awards for its coverage of presidential elections, and these proved to be defining moments in its history. In 2004, Stewart made headlines for his high-profile criticism of news television. In fact, Stewart’s disparaging appearance on CNN’s “Crossfire” led to its cancellation a few months later. “The Daily Show”’s reputation as a legitimate news source only solidified over the years, as Stewart developed his skills as an interviewer. While the series lost some big name talent like Rob Corddry, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Ed Helms, Stewart continued asking the pointed questions mainstream media tended to avoid. In 2008, he and his pals used comedy to their advantage to emerge from the Writers Guild of American strike relatively unscathed: Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Conan O’Brien staged a mock battle to help keep ratings up, and it worked. Despite his busy schedule with “The Daily Show,” Stewart managed to continue appearing in Hollywood films, and helped pen several best-selling satirical books, including “America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction” and “Earth: A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race.” He also hosted both the Grammy and the Academy Awards ceremonies more than once. Through his efforts on “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart has helped shape political satire as we know it. He continues to deliver thought-provoking entertainment with his unique brand of comedy to his many fans around the globe.

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