News Broke; They Fixed It: 'The Daily Show's' Early Days


Last night, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert did a panel together on what appears to be a very comfy living room set. Third Beat has a recap of the talk, but the highlight is definitely Jon Stewart's recollection of the Daily Show's rather ugly early years. I remember when the Daily Show premiered. As a kid, I liked Craig Kilborn's silly hair and his slightly silly Five Questions, and even though I'm sure that era of the show doesn't hold up, I've always wondered why Stewart & co. never mention The Host What Came Before. Here's why:

“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.
When 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.
“I walk in the door, into a room with the writers and producers, and the first thing they say is ‘this isn’t some MTV bullshit’…. And then I was told not to change the jokes or improvise,” he said.
He immediately phoned his agent, James Dixon, telling him to “get me the fuck out of this. These people are insane.” 

Also remarkable is the link to a 2001 interview where Stephen Colbert did a (whiteface) impersonation of scheduled guest Al Sharpton, who had canceled at the last minute. I always like seeing clips or pictures from the show's early days, nearly as much as I enjoyed Colbert's recently surfaced Rube Goldberg report from 1997. They're so skinny! Their timing is so terrible! Their set is so cheap!