1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email

Who is Jon Stewart? A brief biography about the talk show host

By

Who is Jon Stewart? A brief biography about the talk show host

Jon Stewart's 'Daily Show' wins the Emmy.

Jon was Born ...:

... on November 28, 1962, in New York City. His full name is Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz. The reason for his name change is less a professional than a personal matter and is attributed to a strained relationship with his father.

Growing Up with Jon:

At Lawrence High School in Lawrence Township, New Jersey, Jon Stewart was a band member (playing the French horn). His interest in music evolved into an interest in soccer at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Jon was even an assistant coach for a local high school team while a college student.

Jon's First Job:

While in school, Jon took on a slew of part-time jobs – contingency planner for the New Jersey Department of Human Services, contract administrator for City University of New York, puppeteer, and bartender. He got his first taste of show biz as a stand-up comedian in 1986, making the rounds in New York.

The Early Years:

In just a couple of years, Jon found himself on basic cable, hosting shows on Comedy Central and headlining MTV's first talk show, The Jon Stewart Show. That turned into a syndicated program that remained on the air just long enough to flop and get swept up into the netherworld of canceled shows.

Jon went back to MTV hosting yet another program that flopped and disappeared. He then took a series of small roles in television and film while, at the same, substituting for Tom Snyder on The Late Late Show. That led to a series of small roles in small movies – many of which were out and out flops. His next stop, however, would change the course of his career - and his affect on media outlets - and politicians - big and small.

Becoming a Talk Show Host:

In 1999, Jon agreed to take over hosting duties on The Daily Show when Craig Kilborn left to take Tom Snyder/s role on The Late Late Show. Jon has never looked back.

In his years as anchor, Jon has turned the once mediocre news comedy into a relevant, sometimes scathing and always hilarious satire that has helped direct political and public discourse.

A Key Moment in His Career:

There are two: First, in 2000 and 2004 when Jon and his staff won the Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting for The Daily Show'sIndecision ... series. The special episodes and reports cut through the spin of the presidential political campaign, mixing its "fake" reporters with the real press corps.

Next, when Jon appeared on Crossfire in 2004 and, rather than act the congenial guest plugging his new book (America: The Book), Jon lashed out at hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala, calling each "partisan hacks"and asking them to "stop hurting America." His lament that the show was failing in its responsibility to inform the American public and treated politics as entertainment eventually was a catalyst for that show's 2005 demise.

What Does the Future Hold?:

Jon is keyed in to The Daily Show at least until the end of the next presidential election. And then - probably more Daily Show. He has gone on record as saying it is one of the best gigs he's ever had, offering him creative freedom that he wouldn't have on a network program.

But that doesn't quell rumors that Jon's on the short list to replace David Letterman when he retires from Late Show. Will he? Only time will tell.

And Just for Fun:

  • In 2006, he received an honorary All-America award from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

  • Has two children, a boy and a girl, Nathan and Maggie.

  • Starred in the mega-flop, Death to Smoochy.

  • Renamed his program "A Daily Show" after returning to work during the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike without his writers.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.