John Stuart Leibowitz was raised in Lawrenceville New Jersey where his high school English teacher introduced him to “politically incorrect” literature. Although proud of his Jewish heritage, after college Leibowitz changed his name to John Stewart and began pursuing stand-up comedy.
Stewart was discovered in New York City by club-owner Bill Grundfest. Grundfest notes that Stewart was unafraid, unself-conscious, and had good comedic instincts.
In the running to host late-night television, Stewart’s obvious talent was seen on cameos and short-lived series. Stewart wrote a New York Times bestseller, and was signed to David Letterman’s production company.
The United States presidential election coverage of 2000 gave Stewart excellent material to develop his show and style. Viewership increased 27% in one year.
Viewership continued to increase as Americans reportedly trusted Stewart’s journalism. Stewart’s company created a spin-off program featuring Stephen Colbert.
Celebrity guests and politicians have appeared on the Daily Show including viewership record-breaker Barack Obama. In 2009 a confrontation between Jim Cramer of CNBC and Stewart went viral.
Credits: Jon Stewart
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In this program, Bloomberg Game Changers profiles Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, now Jon Stewart, from his New Jersey boyhood through the standard struggle of the stand-up comedian - part time jobs and late night gigs at New York’s comedy clubs. It will shine a spotlight on his early television shows and movies, including rare video from his early career, to show his transformation into the dominant American commentator of our time.
Length: 26 minutes
Copyright date: ©2010
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