Jon Stewart Feels “Reinvigorated” By His Return To ‘The Daily Show’

Jon Stewart walked away from The Daily Show in 2015 because he felt “burnt” but he now feels “reinvigorated” on his return.

Stewart hosts The Daily Show on Mondays, with the show’s news team including Ronny Chieng, Michael Kosta, Jordan Klepper and Desi Lydic hosting the other nights. Stewart and The Daily Show correspondents were speaking at an FYC event as the Comedy Central series attempts to repeat its Emmy win last year.

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“I walked away 9 years ago because I was burnt. But now I don’t feel that way. I feel reinvigorated; I’m with people that are unbelievably talented and dedicated, and what they talked about, in that morning meeting – people ask if you missed having a platform this and that – I didn’t miss anything but walking into the room and having those smart, funny people.”

Stewart, who is also now exec producing the show, added that the show is a “ridiculous gift”. “We’re gonna allow you to say whatever the fuck you want to America and to an audience for 25-35 minutes a night and we have to whittle that down to something that looks effortless but isn’t – it’s sophisticated, but it has to be something that is worth your time.”

He paid tribute to Chieng, Kosta, Klepper and Lydic, saying that being a correspondent is “one of the most difficult things you can do”.

“You have to be able to do all these different things… you go into the world and do an improv scene with people who don’t know they’re in an improv scene,” he said. “What’s nice is these guys are such pros and have been doing it for so long, transitioning themselves into the host chair… I’ve worked through a lot of the sea-changes in the industry with people that believe that creators mean something and I’ve worked with other regimes where the talent is real estate… It’s great to have people that value our ideas.”

Lydic added, “They say don’t meet your heroes, and I say do meet your heroes and immediately get on their payroll.”

Chieng said working with Stewart was like seeing Michael Jordan play basketball in the 90s.

“You see him on TV, you see the episodes, you read the book, The Daily Show oral history, despite knowing his strengths and clarity of thought, his control of the medium, it’s actually like seeing Michael Jordan play in the 90s. It’s so weird because you’re sitting right there and you’re working with him and you’ve got a job to do but you’re sitting here with the guy who invented modern American satire. So he knows exactly how to calibrate every part of the show with what he wants to say.”

Jordan Klepper was the only one of the correspondents to have worked with Stewart before he left. Calling it a “career highlight”, he joked that “I will never leave because I’m scared of losing my health insurance”.

Hosting The Daily Show can be a “scary” and “lonely” job, said Klepper. “We had a Zoom call after the first couple of weeks where we talked about how it was hosting The Daily Show… and I loved it but it was a very scary, lonely job, and I had all these questions that no one could answer… There’s an art to it and it’s really fun to watch Jon in his 90th decade doing this and watch the ways in which you get better at it.”

Kosta added, “Jon had asked how is hosting and I told him I feel like I’m wearing my dad’s suit and grandfather’s suit at the same time and he said ‘You wanna see uncomfortable? Look at my first two years hosting,’ and that was actually tremendously helpful because it showed me how to work through this and move forward.”

Kosta joked that he had spent the day before the panel chatting to a man in Clay Country, Florida, who had successfully banned 900 books in three years.

Deadline revealed earlier this week that Stewart would be hosting live episodes of the show after the Presidential elections, as part of its Indecision 2024 election coverage. This coverage also includes a road show for the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee from July 15-18 and the Democratic National Convention in Chicago from August 19-22, where it will tape a full week of shows.

The Daily Show is one of the few late-night shows that goes out on the road; The Late Show with Stephen Colbert will also be live at the DNC in Chicago.

Lydic said that the convention tour will be “wild”. “Trump will be sentenced 4 days before the RNC. And according to my Clue app, I will also be on my period that week, and I feel comfortable sharing that with all of you because I think the Republicans are already tracking my app.”

Ronny Chieng added that the tour will be “fun”. “There’s always a good energy when we are there together, but when we walk in I’m like, these are not normal Americans, these are political Americans. It doesn’t even feel like they care about the policies, it’s like sports for them.”

Klepper, who is best known for his exploits at MAGA rallies, said, “I grew up as a presidential nerd as a kid so there’s part of me that still has stars in my eyes. There’s something to the big brother edit of Donald trump’s head zoomed in huge on the screen behind him and you’re like, ‘Okay, well this guy can’t win, right?’.”

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