Jon Stewart

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"My life [is] a series of Hollywood orgies and Kabbalah center brunches with the cast of Friends. At least that's what my handlers tell me."

Jon Stewart (born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, 28 November, 1962) is an American actor, comedian, and political commentator. He is also the host of the Emmy-award winning program, The Daily Show, author of Naked Pictures of Famous People and co-author of the New York Times bestseller America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction.


  • Little and hairy. But if [The New York Post] want to go with smart and stylish then hey, more power to them. Good luck.
  • I've always run by the hierarchy of "If not funny, interesting. If not interesting, hot. If not hot, bizarre. If not bizarre, break something."
  • I signed up for what? I thought I was just ordering cable.
    • Chicago Tribune, August 12, 1998; on signing on as host of The Daily Show.
  • The best-laid plans of mice and comedians usually wind up on the cutting-room floor.
    • Charleston Gazette interview, January 9, 1999
  • You wake up and you're still a little drunk and you can't believe that hot girl from last night actually has a beard and a penis.
  • You just have to keep trying to do good work, and hope that it leads to more good work. I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work, and be proud that I tried everything. Yes, I want to look back and know that I was terrible at a variety of things.
    • Orange County Register, July 9, 1999
  • That whole thing has been overstated by environmentalists. First of all, what is it, rocks and snow? C'mon, what is that, you want that? Go to Canada my friend. Believe me, rocks and snow are overrated. I've seen otters, they look better covered in oil.
    • Nightline, 2001. On governments plans to drill in Alaska.
  • I don't know what all the controversy is about, quite frankly. I've met Eminem, I met him backstage, and he's really gay.
    • Grammy Awards, February 21, 2001
  • If done for the right reasons, liberating a country from a despot, I don't see how that's immoral. Ah, done quickly, and then we all leave, yeah that's kind of... I mean, it's so much obviously more complicated than that. They're literally, if he doesn't allow inspections, we're bombing him - I'll allow inspections. If he doesn't allow them... on Tuesday - I'll allow them on Tuesday. If he doesn't serve fondue - alright, I'll serve fondue. I mean, they're gonna do anything, it's clear they cast their die, I mean, as hard as it is for Dick Cheney to get an erection, he's not gonna let this opportunity go by.
    • Harvard University, December 13, 2002, in response to a question about the prospect of war in Iraq, should Saddam Hussein continue to dodge weapons inspections.
  • My life [is] a series of Hollywood orgies and Kabbalah center brunches with the cast of Friends. At least that's what my handlers tell me. I’m actually too valuable to live my own life and spend most of my days in a vegetable crisper to remain fake news anchor fresh.
  • We declared war on terror—it's not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, I'm sure we'll take on that bastard ennui.
    • The College of William and Mary Commencement Address, May 20, 2004
  • Love what you do. Get good at it. Competence is a rare commodity in this day and age. And let the chips fall where they may.
    • The College of William and Mary Commencement Address, May 20, 2004
  • Lets talk about the real world for a moment. We had been discussing it earlier, and I…I wanted to bring this up to you earlier about the real world, and this is I guess as good a time as any. I don’t really know to put this, so I’ll be blunt. We broke it. Please don’t be mad. I know we were supposed to bequeath to the next generation a world better than the one we were handed. So, sorry.
    • The College of William and Mary Commencement Address, May 20, 2004
  • Here is what I believe is the paradigm that would be effective and what I would love to see, and you're going to laugh because Fox News is my model. What Fox has done is they've got a guy, Roger Ailes, who's passionate and has created a model for a 24-hour news station that makes money based on a point of view... Using Fox's model, find someone with the passion and the huevos to just lay it on the line - not in a partisan way, not in the pursuit of political power and political gain, but in the pursuit of credibility. In the pursuit of being a judge, an arbiter, and earning the trust of the audience over time as an oversight to the shenanigans of the political world.
  • If I was to really get at the burr in my saddle, it's not politics - and this is, I think, probably a horrible analogy - but I look at politicians as, they are doing what inherently they need to do to retain power. Their job is to consolidate power. When you go to the zoo and you see a monkey throwing poop, you go, "that's what monkeys do, what are you gonna do?" But what I wish the media would do more frequently is say "bad monkey."
    • Charlie Rose interview, September 29, 2004
  • It's a brilliant metaphor. What I meant to say was, when you see a monkey masturbating at the zoo...
    • C-SPAN interview, October 14, 2004, when asked about the above quote.
  • [Robert Novak] apparently, they say, broke his hip. I think it's not the case. I believe his hip tried to escape.
    • C-SPAN interview, October 14, 2004
  • How did Memogate get a "gate"? How did Nipplegate get a "gate"? We invaded a country with the wrong information, and Janet Jackson's tit got a "gate". Who gives out the "gates"? Is there a "Gate"-gate? Is there a, a... I mean, it's absolute... We're living in insanity!
    • C-SPAN interview, October 14, 2004
  • Everybody wrings their hands about Fox News. You know, "fair and balanced? Why, that's snide!" Yeah, okay, maybe they're not fair and balanced, but CNN used to have the slogan "You Can Depend on CNN". Guess what? I watch it, no you can't. So what's the difference?
    • C-SPAN interview, October 14, 2004
  • You know what's interesting, though? You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.
    • To Tucker Carlson during an interview on CNN's Crossfire on October 15, 2004, after Carlson accused Stewart of not being as funny as he appeared on The Daily Show.
  • You have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.
    • To Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala on Crossfire, October 15, 2004
  • [To Tucker Carlson] How old are you? [Carlson:] Thirty-five. [Stewart:] And you wear a bow tie... So this is theater... Now, listen, I'm not suggesting that you're not a smart guy, because those are not easy to tie... But the thing is that this -- you're doing theater, when you should be doing debate, which would be great... It's not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery.
    • Crossfire, October 15, 2004
  • You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls. What is wrong with you?
    • Crossfire, October 15, 2004, after being accused by Carlson of not having asked John Kerry hard-hitting enough questions during an interview on The Daily Show.
  • No. I'm not going to be your monkey.
    • Crossfire, October 15, 2004, in response to Tucker Carlson's urging for Stewart to "be funny".
  • They said I wasn't being funny. And I said to them, "I know that, but tomorrow I will go back to being funny, and your show will still blow."
    • The Daily Show, October 16, 2004, regarding his appearance on Crossfire on the previous night.
  • The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom. That's all it is. All those media companies say, "We're going to make a killing here." You won't because it's still only as good as the content.
  • What you do for Jewish New Year is you go down to Times Square... It's a lot quieter than the regular New Year. It's just a few Jews walking around going, "'sup?"
    • Stand-up performance at RIT, 2005
  • It upset me that, five days after the hurricane hit down in New Orleans, the President's plan was for a day of prayer. I would have thought a truck of food. A day of prayer. Now, maybe I'm mistaken here and, again, I'm not a scientific expert, but isn't a hurricane officially an act of God? Isn't a day of prayer kind of redundant? Hasn't God already made up his mind on that sort of thing? So we do a day of prayer. The President has his stupid day of prayer. Three days later, Hurricane Rita hits. Somebody must have said something... something like, "is that all you got?"
    • Stand-up performance at RIT, 2005
  • Here's how bizarre the war is that we're in in Iraq, and we should have known this right from the get-go: When we first went into Iraq, Germany didn't want to go. Germany. The Michael Jordan of war took a pass.
    • Stand-up performance at RIT, 2005
  • You can always tell when Bush is in trouble. He always brings out 9/11. 9/11 is the cudgel that he waves. As far as he's concerned, it's "Open Sesame". 9/11 is his way of saying, "Okay, I'm fucking up now, but remember four years ago? That was cool." I think he thinks he can use it for anything. "9/11. On 9/11 we were attacked. And so, I should get to bang your wife." What? "Now, there are some nay-sayers out there who think I shouldn't bang your wife, well, that's the cut-and-run crowd."
    • Stand-up performance at RIT, 2005
  • What is the fear of the "gay agenda" that has so upset people? Do people think that if gay people are given a place at the table, they'll be so convincing we'll all end up blowing them? What is the issue? "You know, I'm straight, but you've made such a convincing argument..."
    • Stand-up performance at RIT, 2005.
  • Good evening everybody, ladies, gentlemen... Felicity.
    • Academy Awards, March 5, 2006
  • I really thought that the make-up artist for Cinderella Man should have won. I mean, it's so hard to make Russell Crowe look like he got in a fight.
    • Academy Awards, March 5, 2006
  • If there's anyone out there involved in illegal movie piracy... don't do it. Take a good look at these people. These are the people you're stealing from. Look at them! Face what you've done! There are women here who can barely afford enough gown to cover their breasts.
    • Academy Awards, March 5, 2006
  • Tonight is the night we celebrate excellence in film, with me, the fourth male lead from Death to Smoochy. Rent it.
    • Academy Awards, March 5, 2006
  • For those of you who are keeping score at home, I just want to make something very clear: Martin Scorsese, zero Oscars. Three 6 Mafia, one.
    • Academy Awards, March 5, 2006
  • Everybody thought Barack Obama was going to [inspire people] when he came to Washington, but, you know, the Senate seems like the place where smart people go to die.
  • Here's the way I look at it. President Bush has uranium-tipped bunker busters and I have puns. I think he'll be OK.
  • We are not warriors in anyone's army. And that is not trying to be self-deprecating. I'm proud of what we do. I really like these two shows. I like making 'em. I like watching them. I'm really proud of them. But I understand their place. I don't view us as people who lead social movements.
  • The best part is that I'm able to come in, and whenever I want, choose an intern... oh, wait - Is this being recorded? No, the coolest part is the ability to have a silly thought about whatever is going on in your world at 10 o'clock in the morning, and be able to see it go out on the airwaves at 11 o'clock that night. That's an amazing privilege.
    • Philadelphia Inquirer interview, April 22, 2007
  • The reason I don't worry about society is, nineteen people knocked down two buildings and killed thousands. Hundreds of people ran into those buildings to save them. I'll take those odds every fucking day.

Naked Pictures of Famous People (1998)

  • Nazi Germany was so destructive to Judaism not only for the loss of life, but because many who survived began to see the practice of Judaism as somewhat of a health hazard.
  • Orthodox Jews, or, as they are known in the Talmud, the Really Chosen Ones, are committed to the idea that the entire Torah was dictated by God verbatim to Moses at Mount Sinai... Other forms of Judaism dispute this claim, although it does explain certain passages in the first Torah, such as, "I'm sorry, am I boring you?" and "What do you like better, Moses, Lord Almighty or Big Hoohah?"
  • Reform Jews are the children of Conservative Jews, or as they are sometimes known, Christians with curlier hair.
  • Hitler: (biting into a bagel) First of all, Larry, I don't know what I was so afraid of. These are delicious!!!
    • Adolf Hitler is interviewed by Larry King.
  • Hitler: Look, I was a bad guy. No question. I hate that Hitler. The yelling, the finger-pointing, I don't know... I was a very angry guy.
King: And this... new Hitler?
Hitler: I get up at seven, have half a melon, do the Jumble in the morning paper and then let the day take me where it will. Some days I'll fish, maybe hit the mall for an Orange Julius. The other day I spent seven hours in the park watching ants cart off part of a sandwich. Me!! The inventor of the Blitzkrieg... When you stop having to control everything, it's very freeing.
  • Hitler: Denial is a powerful thing... I always thought I could stop any time I wanted. "If I could just get Czechoslovakia, that'll be the end of it. I'll be happy then." And then I'd get it and think, well geez, Poland's just up the road a piece and... you know the rest.
  • Hitler: I'm not going to lie to you, it took a while. There were moments all along where I knew something was wrong. I remember one time... I think it was in Munich. We were having a rally. 100,000 people all chanting my name. The bonfires were going. The whole shebang. It should have been a crowning moment, but I clearly remember thinking, What am I doing here? I hate crowds.

America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction (2004)

(Co-written with Ben Karlin, David Javerbaum and the writers of The Daily Show)

  • Dedication: To the huddled masses, keep yearnin'!
  • 1300 BC: God gives Ten Commandments to Israelites, making them His Chosen People and granting them eternal protection under Divine Law. Nothing bad ever happens to Jews again.
  • May 3, 325: Rome built.
  • 30 AD: Death penalty debate heats up after controversial execution of alleged "Son of God".
  • Through most of colonial history, inhabitants of the 13 colonies were loyal subjects of the British crown - resourceful, dedicated and as the Third Duchess of Kent... was fond of saying, "Some tea-drinking' motherfuckahs." In fact, whenever the subject of the New World was mentioned, the Duchess could always be counted on for a wistful head-shake and a hearty "Motherfuckahs love that motherfuckin' tea."
  • But on what basis should the three branches of government be divided? It came down to two dueling ideas: Madison's proposal of an executive, judicial and legislative branch, and Georgia's Joseph Morton's proposal to dole out power according to, "The presence, forbearance, rectictude and largeosity of one's 'Plums and Carrot'." After much deliberation, it was decided Madison's proposal would be accepted, Morton only relenting after the Constitutional Convention agreed to proclaim him "impressive."
  • By far the most revolutionary aspect of this new position [of the presidency] would be who could hold it. The short answer: just about anyone. By placing no explicit race, gender, or religious requirements on the presidency, the Founders opened the door the a true meritocracy. Why no women, blacks, or non-Christians have answered the founders' challenge is a mystery, though most indications point to some inherent genetic flaw. (William Howard Taft came closest, having what most observers agreed were boobs.)
  • If the presidency is the head of the American body politic, Congress is its gastrointestinal tract. Its vast and convoluted inner workings may be mysterious and unpleasant, but in the end they excrete a great deal of material whose successful passage is crucial to our nation's survival.
  • A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy. It serves to inform the voting public on matters relevant to its well-being. Why they've stopped doing that is a mystery. I mean, 300 camera crews outside a courthouse to see what Kobe Bryant is wearing when the judge sets his hearing date, while false information used to send our country to war goes unchecked? What the fuck happened?

The Daily Show

  • The show in general we feel like is a privilege. Even the idea that we can sit in the back of the country and make wise cracks... which is really what we do. We sit in the back and throw spitballs--but never forgetting that it is a luxury in this country that allows us to do that. That is, a country that allows for open satire, and I know that sounds basic and it sounds like it goes without saying. But that’s really what this whole situation is about. It’s the difference between closed and open. The difference between free and... burdened. And we don’t take that for granted here, by any stretch of the imagination.
  • Whatever barriers we put up are gone. Even if it's just momentary. We are judging people by not the color of their skin, but the content of their character. You know, all this talk about "These guys are criminal masterminds. They got together and their extraordinary guile and their wit and their skill..." It's all a lie. Any fool can blow something up. Any fool can destroy. But to see these guys, these firefighters and these policemen and people from all over the country, literally with buckets, rebuilding... that’s extraordinary. And that's why we have already won... they can't... it's light. It's democracy. They can't shut that down.
    • September 20, 2001
  • The view... from my apartment... was the World Trade Center... Now it's gone. They attacked it. This symbol of... of American ingenuity and strength... and labor and imagination and commerce and it's gone. But you know what the view is now? The Statue of Liberty. The view from the south of Manhattan is the Statue of Liberty. You can’t beat that.
    • September 20, 2001
  • On a personal note, I'm a comedian who makes fun of what I believe to be the absurdities of our government. Tomorrow when you go to the polls, make my life difficult. Make the next four years really hard, so that every morning all we can do is come in and go, "Madonna is doing some Kaballah thing, you wanna do that?" I'd like that. I'm tired.
    • Speaking to his audience the night before the 2004 U.S. presidential election.
  • Nineteen people flew into the towers. It seems hard for me to imagine that we could go to war enough to make the world safe enough that 19 people wouldn't want to do harm to us. So it seems like we have to rethink a strategy that is less military based.
  • Guantanamo Bay isn't a prison,its a leadership camp
  • I think thats our biggest problem right there

On George Bush's comment that he "doesn't think America has any problems"

  • I have great fondness and affection for John McCain, I would have voted for him, if he had made it, against Gore, quite frankly, in 2000. The guy that I see now, putting air quotes around women's health, and doing all the things that he does, I don't know what that is. And if that's a strategy that's disingenius from how he really thinks, then my opinion of him is even lower.
    • Interview with Bill Kristol, October 30, 2008 [1]


  • I fought the law and the law lost!
    • Following CNN's cancellation of Crossfire.
  • I love watching the White House press conferences; they're very enjoyable. I love watching talented journalists who spent their entire lives to get the point where they're in the White House press corps, only to find out they're dictation machines where the White House will tell them what to say. But I'm watching it today and the strangest thing happened: today was the first press conference since they released the President's Vietnam service record and suddenly, it's like there's a whole new attitude. I have just one question for the press corps: Where the fuck have you been? You're starting to ask questions now? Now? All of a sudden, they've got questions and it's about his Vietnam service. Guys, you're like eight wars behind. Hey! I heard there was a break-in at the Watergate! You might want to check in on that!
  • I heard Dennis Kucinich say in a debate, "When I'm president..." and I just wanted to stop him and say, "Dude."
  • I'm 145 pounds of asthma.
    • On Oprah After the Show
  • It's like putting Captain Ahab in charge of save the whales.
    • On Bush's Cabinet.
  • What was God thinking in putting all his holy sites in one area? Like two blocks from each other. Is the idea for God ... He just put it in there like, "I just want to see who wants it more."
  • Clearly, I like to poke fun.

Quotes about Stewart

  • My boss is like, if you took Willy Wonka, and mixed him with Hitler. He's got like, he's crazy like Willie Wonka and he's psycho like Hitler. But he doesn't have a mustache.
    • Ed Helms, The Daily Show: "American Resolutions: New Jobs"
  • Has your boss ever poured scalding hot Celestial Seasonings Lemon Zinger on to your arm?...It doesn't just burn, OK?, it's also citrus, and the citrus stings. And then he filled the pockets of my jacket with cockroaches. I work for a child.
    • Ed Helms, The Daily Show: "American Resolutions: New Jobs"

See also

External links

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