Jon Stewart

November 14, 2014

I am Jon Stewart, tiny host man. AMA!

Hi guys.

I'm here on behalf of my film ROSEWATER, which opens today in theaters nationwide. It's a true story of an Iranian journalist held in solitary for 4 months for the terrible crime of reporting.

I'm here with Victoria to help me out. AMA.


UPDATE guys, thank you so much for taking the time to hang out with me today. I really appreciated the conversation. There's a lot of awesome out there.

If you get a chance, go see ROSEWATER this weekend. If you like it, tell your friends. If you don't like it, tell someone that you despise to see it.

Thank you!

Will you and Bill O’rielly just kiss already? The sexual tension is palpable.


It's really the height differential that keeps us from consummating.

Thanks for doing this!

When you went on Crossfire, did you expect to confound the hosts the way you did? Was it your mission from the start to disrupt their whole theater of debate (and lead to their demise), or just to engage them about the nature of their show?

(Context for those of you not familiar: )

It really was not my intent to be disruptive. I truly thought we'd have a goof about how terrible the program is at the top, and move on, but... the combination of their obstinance and my low blood sugar led to no bueno.

Uh, what topic did we want to do jokes for? You know... honestly I can't recall something specific. I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by people who can come up with jokes about anything.

Uh...a solid competing storyline for Channukah.

I'm not particularly literate on the computer. But I do enjoy shaking my fist at it.

Who's your favorite superhero?

I mean, I don't like to be trite with it, but it's hard to top Superman.

To be fair, though, I was always a huge fan of the X-Men series before it got too timetravely for me to figure out what was going on.

Hi Jon,

Hypothetical scenario: NYC's rats and roaches form a pact and take control of the city. You have to move the location of the Daily Show for the foreseeable future while the boroughs are fumigated. Ignoring the convenience of any pre-existing local film industries, where would you ideally relocate and why?

First of all, I reject your hypothesis.

I would first try and engage diplomatically with the cockroach and rat king and/or queen.

Hopefully, through a series of high level diplomatic discussions, a truce could be met - they would try not to surprise us when we turn on lights, we would outlaw the soles of shoes, and swear to never clean up after eating.

I believe we could live together happily here.

Mr. Stewart,

Thanks for doing this AMA. I'm a moderator at both /r/DailyShow and /r/ColbertReport, and I know you're the Executive Producer for both of those shows, so we pretty much do the same thing.

I have two questions:

1) Assuming you're also going to be an EP for The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore, can you give us any perspective on the kind of show it will be? In addition to being hilarious, is there an additional angle/presentation to the show you and Mr. Wilmore are hoping to take?

2) Do you have people sew long sleeves into all of your t-shirts? Or are you just a fan of layering? Because anytime I see you not in a suit, you've got what looks like a long-sleeved shirt under a short-sleeved shirt (and a Mets hat). Just wondering where your style inspiration comes from.


1) I mean, I think like any of these shows, you try to create an atmosphere that's conducive to the show finding its unique voice. Which is why I think Larry Willmore is such a tremendous choice in the way that Stephen was. I always think the most important aspect of those shows is the filter through which the host can put his individual stamp on the material.

2) I found my style inspiration in 8th grade at a Molly Hatchet concert, and I've never looked back.

Your character in Half Baked was funny. Have you ever been on reddit... on weed?

Uh... I'm a 51 year old man.

Mr Stewart, if you could go back in time and interview someone from history, who would it be and why?

Uh... I would say Abraham Lincoln.

For the obvious historical importance aspect, as well as the "secret to the confidence of being able to rock the top hat and Amish beard."


Mr. Stewart! I just want to start off by saying thank you so much for all your years of hard work on comedy central and with the daily show. I just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you how much you and the show have positively effected my life. The biggest example that I can give is the first episode you did after 9/11. I was 13 at the time but both my parents were working in NYC and my brother was attending NYU during the attack. 9/11 was incredibly hard on my entire family (first time I ever saw my father cry) and it seems as if the world was completely turned upside down. Nothing felt normal and this overwhelming fear that nothing will ever be ok. The things you said during the first episode after the events of 9/11 have stayed with me my entire life. You basically said (paraphrasing) that even though what happened has changed us all it is important to stay strong and that as New Yorkers/Americans we need to continue to be strong and don't let the act of a few effect who we are. You promised to continue to make us laugh and you haven't broken your promise. Unfortunately my father passed away from a heart attack that same year but what you said popped in my head days after his funeral. To stay strong and persevere during the toughest time of my life. I can't even fathom how difficult it must have been to film that episode, but you did it anyways. You are my personal hero and thanks again for all the laughs. I'm really happy to have the opportunity to write this to you and even if you don't respond I just want you to know how much you and your show have meant to me. I always imagined I'd somehow end up on your show as a guest and say this to you personally, but I'm happy to write this to you here. I can't wait to see Rosewater! Since I have to ask a question i guess the question is: out of all the guests that you had on your show, has there ever been one guest that you were absolutely star struck to meet, like fanboy status?

I would love to answer your question.

But I cannot see it because of the strange watering in my eyes.

I'm not crying. I'm sure it's because my shirt is made of onions.

Thank you so much for your kind words.

Hi Jon,

What was going through your mind when Stephen Colbert lost his composure while eating a banana on The Daily Show?

My greatest joys on the show were trying to make Stephen break, or the other correspondents. Because you felt as though you had accomplished something somewhat Herculean. It's not easy to tickle those folks, but when it happens, you savor it.

What's your favorite animal?

Always been an otter fan, an otter guy.

Something about the mischief. And their cute little hands.

But when you really study it, and you see that they can actually rip things apart with them, it can take a dark turn.

Hi Jon, and thanks!

Can you tell us the secret to your luxurious hair?

Uh... that is the nicest thing anybody has ever said to a 51 year old victim of male pattern baldness.

I think the big secret is never turn around. Face everyone.

What's your favorite ice cream flavor?

Always been a chocolate mint chip guy. It's a solid flavor, a respectful flavor. But i must be honest and say that in recent years, I have been strongly wooed by your salty caramels.

Hi Jon, your show is about the only way I can watch the news without tearing my hair out, knowing there is a voice of reason out there.

That said, when can we expect to see the return of your awesome beard?

I miss my awesome beard so much.

The sad thing was, the last time that I had a strong relationship with him was before I started the show, and I remembered him as red and brown and luxurious. When we met again, last summer, I had no idea how he had been suffering. Somehow, all the minerals or color or whatever it was had been sucked away from him, and I found myself in Gandalf-land.

You recently appeared at a tribute to Don Rickles. How did you first meet him?

I met Don when he performed at Carnegie Hall. Don is truly one of the sweetest, and kindest, men in the business I've ever met. Not to tell tales out of school, maybe the finest smelling human being I know. Like a mix between Sinatra and a pastry.

As a former collegiate soccer player, what do you think of the American team's performance in the 2014 World Cup? What is your outlook for 2018 and the team in general?

American soccer has advanced so dramatically in the days since i played that I almost don't recognize it. It's very inspirational to watch them now competing on a world stage with powers like Portugal and Italy and holding their own. I look for more good things.

Hi Jon,

What was the joke that made you so angry at Seth McFarlane?

I recall you were absolutely livid.

It wasn't a joke. It was during a very difficult time, during the writer's strike, and he's a guy that i really respect and admire, and i heard he was really disappointed in me for coming back on the air, and so we had a conversation that got heated, but I think hopefully we both ended up with a better understanding of each other's position on it, and have since become friendly.

Hey Jon, I'm a big fan. Thanks for stopping by. I have a few questions.

1) I've heard John Oliver describe a typical workday on The Daily Show. It sounds absurd. How much coffee do you drink and how are you not dead yet?

2) Do you have any idea why Ben & Jerry's didn't give you an ice cream flavour? Because I don't. What ice cream flavour would you be?

3) How proud are you of John Oliver, and do you think his once-a-week format will be sustainable, or will he have to up the ante?

Thanks again!

Edit: John Oliver describes a typical workday in this podcast.

1) Hahahahaha! First of all, thank you for thinking I'm not dead yet. That means that the espresso colonic that i am hooked into on a 24 hour basis is doing its job.

2) I'm not exactly sure the flavor but it would involve Matzo and lactose-free milk.

3) I think whatever he chooses to do will be sustainable, because of the amount of talent and passion that he brings to everything that he does. And it's not even a question of pride as much as respect and admiration.

AND not to mention he occasionally allows me to stroke the dimples (!!!).

Stand up comedy has blown up (podcasts, shows, specials, clubs, festivals)?
Is this a golden age better than the 80s? Do you think the bottom might fall out?

I feel like there's always room for good comedy. And I'm excited at the amount of people out there who are impressing.

What are your plans post Daily Show?


What music/artists are you listening to now? Who are your favorites?

Ray Lamontagne is the soundtrack to my house right now. I can always rock a good Springsteen or Foo Fighters. But that doesn't mean I don't occasionally shake it off, shake it off, shake-shake-shake-shake it, shake shake it off, player! Shake!

Hi Jon,

Would you ever do another debate with Bill O Reilly?

Also, what are your impressions of Bill?

Uh, I would absolutely. I always enjoyed it. It reminds me of everything thanksgiving i had growing up, where my relatives would come over. And we would always end up screaming and yelling over plates of gravy and cranberry sauce, and then laughing our asses off while watching football later.

Help me Jon Stewart, you're my only hope. In Episode IV, How did the Dianoga, or trash compactor monster, not get crushed? Are we to assume he was birthed in the trash compactor or was placed there?

Also you are the voice of a generation, media icon, yada yada yada...

It's an excellent question.

What I believe occurred is within those compactors, you can generally find some corroded areas, where a small compactor-monster - a baby, if you will - could find respite.

My guess is through the years he had worn that small opening into a home den. And had been trained in a skinnerian fashion to retreat to it, upon hearing the giant grinding gears of the compactor kicking in.

I can't prove it, but in my heart, I believe it to be true.

It seems to me the anchors and personalities of Fox News are hostages to their audience, always acutely afraid of displeasing them. It came to a head during the 2012 presidential election coverage, where they were all visibly shaken. What's your take on that?

I wouldn't suggest that they were hostages. I would imagine they are most just a reflection.

Hi Jon !

What is the most influential piece of advice that you have ever received ?

A small redheaded girl with a dog once told me that "the sun would come out, tomorrow."

I didn't believe her at first.

And yet...

Here we are.

Thank you.



Hi Jon! I'm a huge fan! What was the most unexpected thing a guest ever said or did on your show?

Probably the time after the interview Jimmy Carter asked me if I wanted to get high, and listen to some Wu-Tang.

(*unfortunately that is not true)


Would've been sweet!

Mr. Stewart,

Besides Rosewater, do you have a favorite movie? Any upcoming movies you are really looking forward to?

I'm unfortunately an enormous fan of almost every movie that I go to see.

I'm that annoying person that walks out of every movie and goes THATWASUNBELIEVABLE! Can't believe they figured out how to train a DRAGON!

That being said, I'd have to put almost any Scorsese movie at the top of the list. I had to learn how to do accents somewhere.

What are the biggest pros and cons of being famous for you?

stares you get nicer treatment than you deserve, in many arenas.

The con is: people occasionally call you a "fucking scumbag" on the street in front of your family.

In an interview with Malala Yousafzai, she left you speechless, what was going through your mind during those brief seconds of speechlessness?

I think I was imagining all the other young women in her same position who show such grace and courage in pursuing their dreams in the face of terrible,terrible consequence and obstacles.

Can you please share with us one fact about Big Daddy that isn't common knowledge?

The child in the film - people believe the child in the film was played by the Sprouse twins. It was actually the guy from STAR WARS who played R2D2 in a little boy suit.

What was your favorite part of filming Rosewater, and how did the filming of the movie impact your view on your TV career (do you even plan to go back to TV or has the experience of film changed your future plans)?

For me, the collaboration under very intense conditions was the most gratifying. To have all those individuals, so accomplished in their particular discipline - cinematography, production design, acting - and see them elevate the script and add value and inspiration in a way that I couldn't have imagined was very, very exciting.

I think it also made me appreciate the same value within my coworkers here.

Can you describe your personal and professional feelings the day that the Anthony Weiner scandal hit?

That's a good question.

I think I was... sad. For the individual that i knew as a friend.

And that colored, you know, the general process of creating the humor. I also think I may have overcompensated by doing more material on it than we might have normally.

My dad: Do you think political satire has had a negative effect on voting and is partially responsible for why liberals didn't vote as much in this past midterm?

Me: Any advice for someone just starting college? (We both absolutely love your show. I'm also Iranian American and can't wait for "Rosewater") THANKS ahead of time!

Unfortunately that's something I don't know I would have any idea about. I would certainly hope not. But as I have been taught, Father knows Best.

Don't ride it too hard! Sometimes college kids put inordinate amounts of pressure on themselves for each individual class or moment. If you end up relatively hard working, and sane, you're gonna do okay.

Is Victoria lobbying the hardball questions at you or is she doing a Fox News special?

She is breaking my balls like nobody's business.

Favorite meal?

I've gotta go with the classics. Your cheeseburger / fry / milkshake. Your pizza. Your solid steak. Steak and mash. Nice gravy. I'm not the most adventurous of eaters.

So keep that aioli shit from me.

Why do you hate Arby's?

Sadly, I'm not sure I've ever eaten there.

I believe it is a stand-in. That, for no apparent reason, we delight in shitting on.

Have you ever considered running for office?

Jon Stewart 2016


Hi Jon! What's the best part about having your show several times a week?

And any cons?

I think the best part is that it allows you to get into a good creative rhythm. As well as allowing you to make good on shows that didn't quite achieve what you wanted them to.

The tough part is when a show really does fall into that sweet spot, you feel like all the jokes hit, and the intention of it was really clear, and there's no moment to savor, either. Because either way, it's time to make the donuts.

You are President for a day... What is your 1st piece of legislation? Who is the 1st person you hire? Who would you pardon?

I think the first thing I might do is photocopy my balls and send it to every teacher i had in high school.

THEN, onto the legislating.

My first presidential hire would have to be Colbert.

And I would pardon... oh wow... that's a good one. I think I'm gonna have to check the list of pardon people.

I think the first thing I might do is photocopy my balls and send it to every teacher i had in high school.

THEN, onto the legislating.

My first presidential hire would have to be Colbert.

And I would pardon... oh wow... that's a good one. I think I'm gonna have to check the list of pardon people.

There's gotta be a couple of low-level weed cases!

What's your favorite dinosaur?

You gotta go velociraptor, I think. As a kid - triceratops.

Cuz you can't imagine an animal walking around with a giant shield on its head. And it seemed very ridable.

But as you get older, you realize... "I should probably be the wiley predator." You don't want to be the brontosaurus getting cut open like a Tauntaun.

Tom Brady for president?

President of The Great Quarterbacks Club maybe!

What do you think of Ron Paul? Would you have a beer with him?

I would absolutely have a beer with Ron Paul. I find him a very engaging personality and someone that i've enjoyed having conversations with in the past. I think a joint might actually open things up a little bit more.

What was filming Coffee with Comedians in Cars like? The way they presented your prom scene was hilarious.

I have always enjoyed hanging out with Jerry who is (for comedians) someone you're in a little bit of awe of.

He is - it's like being in the presence of a master craftsman. And watching him work, or being able to make him laugh, is - whether you're sitting in the front seat of a '76 off-brown Gremlin, or not - a pretty big deal.

do you know how many Popes the Vatican has per square kilometer?

It's gotta be at least 2?

Pancakes or waffles?

I'm gonna say waffle. But it also depends on what you're talking about in terms of fillings. I feel that the waffle is... a strong conduit for a fruit-based or a sweet-based addition. It's somehow - in terms of waffle-to-filling ratio - is more robust.

That being said, you can't argue with a stackable food, such as the pancake.

You ever see the back of a twenty dollar bill... on weed?

Have you ever seen a more recent movie?




What was the most fun you've ever had with a guest on the show?

For me, it's always when I have friends on and it dissolves into a giggle fit, which I'm sure must be sooo pleasant to watch.

Hi Jon, Thanks for taking the time to do an AMA! Clearly you work a TON. What activities do you do to keep yourself grounded? Do you ever mow the grass, rake leaves, shovel snow?

I'm not ten.

Trying to earn money. To buy a phonograph player.

Mr. Stewart, how does Stephen smell?

Stephen smells like - it's a cross between -

Squints into distance

Persimmons and a tattered copy of THE HOBBIT.

Do you plant to direct again now that you have Rosewater under your belt?

My hope is - I certainly wouldn't rule it out. My hope is the industry doesn't either.

(*And speaking of which - this might be a nice time to say - you know, maybe if you go see the movie...)

Jon, I know that you said Hugh Grant was your least favorite guest you've had on the show. Just curious, have you seen or heard from him since?


Uh, we have not gotten together. Since... that. And I imagine it is not forthcoming.

Who would win in a three way fight: you, jon oliver, or stephen colbert?

I'm not sure who would win, but I could tell you who would lose, and that would be me. Just on a bone-density level.

Any thoughts on Canadian politics?

Only when I have to.

Who did you look up to when you grew up?

I really looked up to... the Monty Python guys. And the Mets. Strange bedfellows.

What's your favorite drink?

I like a nice Arnold Palmer. Very hydrating! At work, it's all about the caffeine, so I generally go with two shots of espresso, and just a little bit of the lactaid - you know, for the laydeez.

Jon, Please explain what about the script of "The Faculty" made you come to the conclusion that "Yes, I have to be in this movie."? Was it the "Now I am going to check your prostrate" line?

Honestly, it was just a chance to hang out with Robert Rodriguez for a couple of weeks in Austin, TX.

If someone said to you:"Come to Austin, hang out with Robert Rodriguez" and all it'll cost you is at some point, someone will jam a pen filled with methamphetamines in your eye - wouldn't you do that too?

What is your favorite Chrismas movie and why is it Die Hard?

I guess I'd have to say DIE HARD, and...

wait! How did that happen?

Do you love science?

I fucking LOVE science.

How excited are you for Mitch Mcconnell, Senate Majority Leader?

sad face

Hey Jon, thanks for doing this AMA. What books are you reading at the moment ? Any recommendations?

Truth is, I don't have much time to read other than for the authors that are on the program. But I would happily take some recommendations to pile up for my Burgess Meredith-like retirement.

Hi Jon! Huge fan!

This is something I've wondered during my 5 years of watching the Daily Show:

What do you usually whisper in your guests' ear after concluding the interview?

I want you to get *get the fuck off my stage.


Actually, it's usually a continuation of something that we were discussing on there, that i wasn't smart enough to get in during the actual televised portion.

Or "good job!"

Hi Jon!

What does Victoria smell like?

And, of the two of you, who would win in an arm wrestle?

I believe Victoria would win. And therefore, to answer your other question, she smells like Victory.

What's on the Jon Stewart burger?

Dill pickle chips, coleslaw, nice slab of cheese, and a little Russian dressing.

Do you have any thoughts on the efficacy of edited, pre-taped interviews?

Some The Daily Show interviewees (Matt Slick, Peter Schiff, Wayne Allyn Root) have complained they were interviewed for several hours for only a few minutes of on-air footage, and that they were asked the same questions repeatedly until they tripped up, or that the questions/answers/reaction shots were spliced out of sequence to cast them in a more negative light.

I don't think we operate in that different a manner than most of the sort of magazine field-piece shows.

That being said, we always take somebody's complaints or reservations seriously, and look into it, but the overwhelming majority don't seem to not only have no issues with it, but are pleased with it, and the ones that do have issues are welcome to reach out, but that doesn't mean that they're right in believing their views are misrepresented.

I stand by our team.

stands up, begins to sing GOD BLESS AMERICA, slowly begins to take off clothes, people in room begin vomiting.

Good Morning Mr. Stewart!

I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your piece that you did on sexual assault back in June. As a student at "Virginia's not-so-safe-safety school," it was originally quite embarrassing to be associated with an administration that handled the case so poorly. However, the incident has stirred up a lot of conversation on campus, and we are beginning to see a lot of students and faculty take initiative on educating and bringing awareness to the community. I'm hoping that this federal investigation and state-led task forces will also jump-start the creation of new, meaningful policy at universities (including your Alma-mater ;P) all across the nation.

More importantly, I have a question for you: How did you feel when you were victimized by the Salmon Cannon?

​ Thank you for your time! (EDIT: Grammar)

I'm so glad they're addressing your concerns.

And the concerns of others.

To your larger point: I believe there is nothing that is not made more awesome when shot out of a cannon. And salmon is no exception.

It is an honor to be nailed by something that rich in Omega-3 fatty acids directly in the cabeza.

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Jon Stewart conducted on Reddit on 2014-11-14. The Reddit AMA can be found here.