The Daily Show (the Book)
Disclaimer before we begin this review: I really, really, really miss Jon Stewart.
This oral history book didn't help. Clocking in at around 450 pages, this is no quick read. The Daily Show (the Book) is a remarkably comprehensive tale of the show that became such a powerful cultural force. Marketed as "the complete, uncensored history of the award-winning The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, as told by its correspondents, writers and host," it really gives you the whole shebang. Feeling vitally relevant in this age of fake news and erosion of democracy, The Daily Show's satire and comedy did not magically appear. It was years of hard work driven by the dedication and single-mindedness of Jon Stewart himself. The book begins and takes you behind-the-scenes of Stewart's start at the Daily Show (a tumultuous transition), his 9/11 monologue (you know the one), through his coverage of elections, his interactions with politicians and presidents, etc. etc..... A worthwhile read for anyone who loves (loved) the Daily Show. Because the story is oral history, it's presented as interweaving quotes from Jon and various others (writers, commentators, even John McCain makes an appearance). For example, Stephen Colbert on Jon:
...The end product always had ethics and always had soul in it, because Jon is not a soulless person. Ultimately, he's a very moral person and ultimately the piece was always filtered through his judgement, but you were allowed to inform him.
Or, disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner:
We were late-at-night-arguing-about-Israel kind of friends. Jon was smart and opinionated, funny, genuinely interested in politics, and we both had a wiseass Jewish guy sensibility.
The book is arraigned chronologically, and doesn't shy from controversies that have plagued the show. I liked the oral-history format because one narrative from one perspective wouldn't do the history of the show justice. Definitely a must-read (and a great gift!)