Things seem to be getting fairly tense behind the scenes at The Daily Show, and host Jon Stewart perhaps revealed more than he intended in a virulent rant against conservative hypocrisy, suggesting he might be considering leaving the show.
Anyone who watches The Daily Show even casually knows that one of their favorite and most consistent targets is Fox News morning show Fox and Friends, who admittedly make themselves an easy target more often than not by doing things like claiming their jobs are as difficult as being the president of the United States.
Yesterday, however, Fox and Friends actually brought up TDS – specifically the interview they did with David Axelrod, senior advisor to Obama, on Monday night, claiming that Axelrod’s noting that a lot of problems this administration is dealing with were inherited from George W. Bush was ‘so weak,’ and ‘so unserious of Axelrod.’ That prompted Stewart to react with faux-excitement: “First of all… you guys watch our show?!”
Then came a glorious rant revealing exactly how that morning show is perceived in the writers’ room of The Daily Show. “Do you show it at your morning meetings and everyone just sort of stands around pointing and laughing at it, and do you ever turn to the other people in the room and go ‘we can’t make fun of these people every day! As funny as it would be, we can’t do it every day of the show! We just can’t! Yes, yes, of course, the jokes write themselves and yes, I agree, just playing it and making a stupid face would be enough, but we can’t!'”
Then it took a strange turn to detail just how much pressure Stewart and the staff are currently under. “I know we’re working on a book and we’re exhausted, people are frazzled, we haven’t had a break in months and Jezebel thinks I’m a sexist prick! Every night, the ghost of Jack Paar is in my ear – ‘just walk away, Stewart! Walk away!'”
He then continued on a well-constructed piece that showed most of Fox’s talking heads blaming Bush’s failures on Bill Clinton to completely negate their insistence on not blaming Bush (his response to Senator John McCain saying “B.I.O.B. – that’s Blame It On Bush” was to say “H.R.W.A.T.P.T.R.T.C.I.T.G. – He Really Was A Terrible President That Ran The Country Into The Ground”), but the rant remains the attention-grabber.
Sure, it probably was just exaggeration for comic effect to vent the frustrations of trying to finish Earth: The Book, their follow-up to America: The Book, in time for its release date of September 21, or the Jezebel article about the difficulty the show has behind the scenes of keeping women on staff, quoting a former executive as saying “there’s a huge discrepancy between the Jon Stewart who goes on TV every night and the Jon Stewart who runs The Daily Show with joyless rage.” But there’s also a possibility that it was an admission – especially when mentioning Jack Paar, the second host of The Tonight Show who walked off of that job in 1962 after claiming to be “bone tired” of the grind, allowing Johnny Carson to take over. Many people have bandied about Stewart’s name as a potential replacement for David Letterman when he finally retires from The Late Show.
Watch last night’s episode of The Daily Show right here and see the amazing rant for yourself. Then decide whether or not you think Stewart is serious about wanting to leave the show that made him a household name.