Jon Stewart - wit, commentator and host of 'The Daily Show' - turns 50 today. And so we think it's only right to celebrate one of America's finest satirists, one of our comedy heroes, and a man whose lack of stature (he's 5'6") is more than made up for by his great hair.
Yes, we here in the UK may have long bemoaned the fact that we've never been able to produce our own version of 'The Daily Show' - but one reason for that could be that, while Britain can no doubt produce a Jon Stewart, we don't have the Jon Stewart. The man's a living legend: and here are five reasons why...
1. He intelligently and fearlessly goes after the American right (and its media)...
Stewart doesn't just make his viewers laugh: he makes them think, and informs them. He's a rare, important and articulate voice of reason in an American media landscape that's dominated by dumb news, rolling news and right-wing biased news. Here he was eviscerating those who inhabit 'Bullshit Mountain' in his 'Rumble In The Air-Conditioned Auditorium' debate with right-wing commentator Bill O'Reilly:
2. ...But doesn't let the left get away with anything, either
Sure, Stewart's a liberal (aren't all the funniest people?). And Obama - who's been interviewed on the show six times - is a fan. But Stewart takes no prisoners - and is just as happy to call out the Democrats when they royally f**k up, too. Here he was blasting the party for its mishandled campaign for Ted Kennedy's old seat in 2010:
3. He chooses great writers
Stewart's brilliance is more than in part down to his scripts - and 'The Daily Show's writing team have won the Emmy award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program eight times (indeed, the show has its own Awards & Nominations Wikipedia page). Although - as these 'Daily Show' writers pointed out on this panel - much of Stewart's opening monologue is adlibbed "because he's a phenomenal performer and knows the material so well":
4. He chooses great correspondents
Samantha Bee, Jason Jones and Britain's own John Oliver are among 'The Daily Show's current crop of spoof reporters - and previous ones include Steve Carell, Dave Gorman, Kristen Schaal and Demetri Martin. Stewart's bunch are a terrific group of performers - and it's no surprise that the wonderful, without-peer Stephen Colbert got his own spin-off show. Here were some of the correspondents in action at this year's Comedy Awards:
And here's a classic clip of Colbert and Carell debating religion on the show:
5. His impeccable timing and delivery
We don't just love 'The Daily Show's scripts - we love the way Jon Stewart delivers them. Passionate, barnstorming and sometimes just downright silly, his performances are always spot-on - and part of what sets him apart from other comedians and hosts. Here's just one tiny example: his takedown of Mitt Romney (and the British) after the would-be US President's Olympics blunder:
Many happy returns, Mr Stewart. Now if you could just clone yourself for Britain, that would be absolutely marvellous.
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