The Daily Show

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
(Redirected from Jon Stewart)
The title card from 1999 (after Craig Kilborn stopped hosting the show) to 2015 (when Trevor Noah started hosting the show.

"When news breaks, we fix it!"

Long-running satirical news program on Comedy Central.

Instead of a straight-up News Parody, a la Weekend Update, the program merely relates the actual news in a humorous tone, with special attention paid to the hypocrisy and gaffes of politicians and public figures, as well as the reactions of major news shows (particularly 24hr news channels) which range from the theatrical to the absurd. Because it relates actual news, it can pass for an actual news program -- though you don't want to take the special correspondents seriously.

The main anchor position has been filled by weekly guest hosts since December 8, 2022, when Trevor Noah left the show. He took over in 2015, replacing Jon Stewart (who took over in 1999, replacing Craig Kilborn). The show has launched a few careers among its correspondents: Steve Carell, Lewis Black and Ed Helms are successful alums, and Stephen Colbert received his own spinoff program called The Colbert Report (a parody of confrontational talk programs such as The O'Reilly Factor) which became a runaway success. Two more Daily Show alums have since been given their own Comedy Central shows, Lewis Black's The Root of All Evil and the critically acclaimed Important Things with Demetri Martin (hosted by former contributor Demetri Martin). The show's writing staff has also published two books in connection to the show, both parodies of high-school textbooks; they are America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide To Democracy Inaction from 2004 and Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide To The Human Race from 2010.

Before you dismiss it as silliness, they get some astonishingly important guests--Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), former Senator (and current[when?] Secretary of State) Hillary Rodham Clinton (also D-NY), Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) (three times, most recently[please verify] in 2011), former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) (when he was running for the U.S. Presidency in 2004), Barack Obama (ditto, 2008, and again in 2010 while sitting President), Senator John McCain (R-AZ) (many, many times, including 2008), then Vice President Joe Biden (in 2009), and even former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf while he was still president (who is not even the first sitting head of state to be interviewed), to name a few. Stewart himself has to constantly remind viewers that it's still just a "joke news show" whose information is one day out of date.

It can be watched online for free (if you're lucky). In Canada, it is available at the Comedy Network's site. Just beware of Archive Panic.

Not to be confused with The Daly Show.

Tropes used in The Daily Show include:

Tropes A - B

"Have you read this book?"

Oliver: "I'm likely to try to put this in a ludicrously fabricated historical context, the Broad Strokes of which I will have derived from a cursory reading of Wikipedia literally moments before going on air."

  • Big No: Just one example.
    • Subverted on 8/23/2010, where Jon starts going into the Big No, but the view doesn't change to the dramatic camera angle. He turns to a different camera to try again... and another... and another...
  • Bodyguard Babes: After she defended her much older husband, Rupert Murdoch, from a pie-throwing prankster, Jon treated Wendi Murdoch like this.
  • Book and Switch: Too many examples to list, mainly that they're spoofing this trope.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: "Um, how was your weekend? Let's see... on Friday, I... got a haircut. Uh...(Beat) called a guy a dick on national television..." Found here.
  • Breakout Character: Stephen Colbert started off as a Correspondent here.
  • Brick Joke: While anything that can be used as such, IS used as such, on August 16, 2010, Jon Stewart told John Oliver that his "F*** ing Stupid English Accent" was offensive. No points for guessing what the first thing out of Emma Thompson's mouth was when she came on for the interview at the end of the show.
  • Butt Monkey: Stewart is routinely insulted and abused by correspondents (and occasionally guests).
    • John Oliver (of The Bugle fame) gets this as well (usually when Stewart reminds him about his visa expiring). See the example under Pirates.
      • Oliver himself thinks of the US Soccer team as this ("I'm here with the US pffft hahahahah! No, no, I've got it... Sudan, Sudan, Sudan. Hi, I'm HAHAHAHA!"), but when he sees they're not as bad as he expected he gives them "helpful vacation tips" for visiting South Africa like "Go on a nighttime stroll in Soweto in all your fanciest jewelry."
    • Wyatt Cenac, as the youngest member of the team, often gets this as well: for instance, while everybody else was given their own promotional advertisements, Wyatt was forced to make his own (with things like Wyatt saying "laser sounds" in place of actual laser sounds), and is forced to stop at the end to allow Jason Jones to shoot additional footage for his own ad atop a horse surrounded by models.
    • Steve Carell usually filled this role when paired with Stephen Colbert. Aside from their memorable Even Stevphen segments, there was an episode where Colbert took him out drinking and got him so drunk he admitted that he thought Antonio Banderas was very sexy.
    • New correspondent and Twofer Token Minority (black and female) Jessica Williams was sent into a disaster zone for her first assignment, then became a hobo, and was ignored by a Fifties-style panel of all-male correspondents until she put on a mustache.
      • Later, she revealed that she used to be white before she went to college and, as Rick Santorum put it: "Was remade in President Obama's image."

C - D

  • Call Back: Jon takes appropriate safety precautions after his previous unfortunate encounters with broken glass.
    • Months after taking Donald Trump to task for serving chain pizza to a non-New Yorker (Sarah Palin) and eating his with a fork, he offers to eat pizza with a fork alongside Trump if he, Trump, agrees to reenter the Presidential race for the benefit of bored comedians.
  • Canada, Eh?: Samantha Bee, whose Canadian-ness has often been fodder for jokes. Her equally-Canadian husband, Jason Jones, doesn't get anywhere near this kind of treatment.
    • Sam's entries in America (The Book) are parodies of excessive Canadian politeness, usually prefaced by the header "Would You Mind If I Told You How We Do It In Canada?" and full of apologies.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: During a week where Jon Stewart was out sick, Stephen Colbert and Steven Carell took over hosting duty and showed the audience a video of the two at a bar where Carell is so drunk he starts making comments on how sexy Antonio Banderas is.
  • Captain Obvious:
    • Political commentator Bernie Goldberg of Fox News was called out on this after stating that the show was not just a comedy show; it was also providing social commentary. Jon responded that comedians have been providing social commentary for literally thousands of years.
    • Regarding the STOCK Act: "Yes, Congress should obey the same laws as everyone else. I believe that was in the 'No Shit, Sherlock' Act of 2000 and always."
  • Cast Herd: Up until about the 2008 presidential election, correspondents and contributors tended to come and go at the rate of + /-1 a year. Since then, the five main correspondents jobs have been consistently held by Aasif Mandi, Jason Jones, Samantha Bee, Wyatt Cenac, and John Oliver. This trope still applies to the less frequent contributors, however.
  • Catch Phrase: "BOOM!" when Jon makes a Take That joke.
    • "CNN slaaam!"
      • Don't forget the air guitar!
    • "My point is this!"
  • Censorship by Spelling: Subverted in a segment, when Samantha Bee has her young son standing right next to her (Take Your Child to Work Day) while talking about torture methods:

Sam: When a bound and naked prisoner has electrodes attached to...
Jon: (interrupting) Okay, Sam, Sam, Sam...
Sam: Oh, I'm sorry. To his T-E-S-T-I-C-L-E-S... testicles.

The show you are about to see is a news parody. Its stories are not fact checked. Its reporters are not journalists. And its opinions are not fully thought through.

  • Continuity Nod: You know how Jon made Kristen Schaal depressed by revealing that the Chinese "one baby" rule had some bad consequences to female babies? Well, apparently he learned his lesson when she expressed how nice it was that Hugh Hefner "lives with his three grand-daughters."

Kristen: Why, what do you mean?
Jon: ...nothing.

I think it was perhaps Hunting Accident. Or Maybe Nemtsov, I don't know, tripped and fell on, bullet real hard. Or time traveling cyborg sent from future to kill Nemtsov so he could not grow into leader of human resistance.
—John Stewart,  Putin on the Hits


  • Corpsing: Jon tends to giggle a lot while trying to report. One of the greatest examples is when he and Stephen completely lose it while reporting the Prince Charles Scandal. He does it often during the tosses to the Colbert Report as well, or whenever one of his correspondents says something he wasn't expecting. Jon rarely tries to keep a straight face during his reporting, however.
  • Couch Gag:
  • Crossover: Applied liberally during the writer's strike, culminating in a brawl between Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Conan O'Brien.
  • Crouching Comic Hidden Badass: A good portion of the show could be construed as cutting, but pretty average, criticism of subject X. But, interviewees beware: if you try to weasel out of, outright deny or fire back at the allegations raised, you will get schooled.
    • With elements of Badass Bookworm, Awesomeness By Analysis, and Beware the Silly Ones. Yes. He has read your damn book. He knows what you've said. He also knows what you said three weeks ago. And what you said to the NRA in 2003. And where you worked when you said it. So answer the damn question.
      • Stephen Colbert noted in a Rolling Stone interview that he doesn't understand where Jon finds the time to do it, but yes, he reads EVERY book that people are there to promote on his show... every word. Colbert notes that obviously this gives Jon a formidable advantage in an interview, as most people do not expect the host to have gotten past the summary or "cliff notes" that a staffer gave them.
      • One of the rare exceptions was when Jon was interviewing Jeremy Scahill for his book Blackwater (about the PMC), Jon clearly hadn't read the book and the interview came off confrontational, while failing to discuss the novel's main themes [1] Fast-forward a week, where Jon clearly had read it in the interim, owned up to his mistake and dedicated a segment showing just how badly he'd dropped the ball.

Jon: Sometimes I can be unexpectedly confrontational, and other’s almost as though I don’t know what the f**k I’m talking about at all.

      • It also happened that all the terrible things surrounding Blackwater began to appear in the news which completely validated Scahill's argument.
    • There is a very, very good reason that Lawrence O'Donnell once said:

"The bottom line: don't pick a fight with Jon Stewart. Do not do it. You cannot win."

  • Cute Kitten: This video has Jon show a kitten's adorably despondent reaction to the bank bailout - just 'cause.
    • Used again on April 7, 2010, when more sex abuse scandals come to light around the Catholic church:

Jon: Very cute. The kittens lack the capacity to understand the horror of this story.

      • Playful Otter: In fact, kittens playing isn't enough to take the whole of the scandal so a baby otter is thrown in too:

Jon: Aw, now the baby otter is playing with a kitten.

Jason Jones: Plus, what is with that ridiculous disguise? I mean, come on. I'm surprised he didn't put on a cape and tie [Anna Nicole Smith] to a railroad track!

  • Deadpan Snarker: Almost the entire staff.
  • Deconstruction: On Thursday, March 18, 2010, Jon, playing the role of Glenn Beck, tore apart Beck's tactics and hysterical persona, again.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Stewart to John Hodgman in a "You're Welcome" segment - "Why, that's so crazy - it might just be fucking crazy." (this in response to Hodgman's plan to shirk off America's debt by faking a 300 million passenger car crash).
  • Despair Event Horizon: When Congressional Republicans voted down a bill that would give healthcare to those to who helped out recovery efforts during 9/11. Aside from being legitimately pissed off about it, the whole spiel was detailed in a segment called, "I GIVE UP".
    • The bill was finally passed near the end of December 2010. A week earlier, Jon had four 9/11 responders as guests on the show (and the first segment was another lambasting of Congress for still failing to get it passed, while the primary guest was Republican Mike Huckabee, who also agreed the bill should be passed, going against the majority of his party), who all gave their stories. Many major sources credited Jon and that episode for being influential in spurring congress to finally get it done.
  • Detournement/The Tag: "And here it is, your Moment of Zen."
    • Since the election of Barack Obama, a common gag has been showing the blatant hypocrisy of Fox News by airing their defenses of George Bush immediately before/after the exact same circumstances with a Democratic president (i.e. denouncing protests as "temper tantrums" in 2004 yet calling them "inspiring" in 2008). He also does so to the other news networks, but they don't have a Fair And Balanced slogan to pin against them, so it happens less often.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Here's a fairly good example of it.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: On "Back in Black" discussing the power vacuum in Al Qaeda following bin Laden's death.

CNN Anchor: [Al-Zawahiri] is more of a no. 2 than a no. 1
Black: I dunno, Al Qaeda's former no. 1 seemed like more of a no. 2 to me. (Beat) I'm talking about poop, Jon.
Stewart: Yes, I know.

  • Double Entendre: The "Jon Stewart [insert double entendre such as "Touches Kids" here]" segments.
    • Perhaps the best yet, lifted directly from a senator's rant to Anderson Cooper: Jon Stewart and Anderson Cooper Have Their Fun Looking At Gaping Holes.
    • During a segment inviting former president George W. Bush to, er, be a guest on the program: "Come On Jon Stewart!"
      • He later asks them to change this when he's asking the same of Glenn Beck to come on. First they make an offer to take some thing off his chest into "Drop a Load on Jon Stewart", then an offer to get to know each other becoming (despite Jon's hopes) "Two Established Television Personalities Penetrate Each Other On The Daily Show While People Watch".
  • Double Subversion: For instance, when during the episode with the Glenn Beck impression he made reference to masturbating to a Calvin Klein billboard he could see from his apartment window. An ad with a shirtless male model came up, to which he said, "No!"; then it was replaced by an ad with a scantily-clad female model, to which he said, "Ewww, no!"; it turned out to be an ad with a more muscled and and well-oiled male model.
  • Dramatic Pause: A frequent gag. Here's an example.

E - F

  • Eagle Land: Obviously. But when ever he makes a few jabs at the more... extreme conservatives we see in news clips, he or one of the correspondents makes it quite clear that said people fit in with "flavor 2" as they tend to "hate 50% of the country."
  • Election Night: Heavily spoofed whenever it rolls around.
  • "El Niño" Is Spanish for "The Nino": This is a bit of a Running Gag regarding Arabic phrases with the article "Al". For example, in one episode featuring an interview with an Al Jazeera reporter, Jon helpfully informs us that "Al Jazeera" means "The Jazeera" and that hopefully their guest will explain what a "Jazeera" is (he doesn't).[2]
  • Even the Rats Won't Touch It: Behind the scenes of The Daily Show, there are a lot of dogs that are in the building[3] After Jon was given Deep Dish Pizza, it was offered to the dog Kweli (we assume), who Jon claims to have witnessed eat garbage, rejected the offer. [1]
  • Every Episode Ending: "Here it is, your moment of zen." During Kilbourne's run, the clip was usually a ridiculous or surreal nonsequitor, while during Jon Stewart's run it's usually a funny or ironic news clips that is related to something covered previously.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Everybody on the show has either shown bisexual tendencies on screen, or simply hinted at having had sex with both genders.
  • Expy: Often a source of them, as Jon and the other correspondents will take other acting roles in quite a similar vein as their characters in the show. Jon himself played an Only Sane Man news anchor in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Ed Helms showed up as the quite similar Andy Bernard on The Office (which, of course, stars former "reporter" Steve Carell).
  • Face Heel Turn: The show's treatment of Senator John McCain following his 2008 presidential campaign makes frequent allusions to his 'fall from grace' from his (now-abandoned) maverick position. Appropriately, 2008 was also the last year Senator McCain made a personal appearance on the show.
  • Face Palm: A favorite reaction of Jon when confronted with the most egregious logical fallacies.
  • Fauxtastic Voyage: A gag using the Chroma Key.
    • In one memorable example, two correspondents are supposedly broadcasting from Iraq. The one who is actually in Iraq demonstrates that his (real) footage is being used as the fake background for the others' shoot by waving his arms.
  • Film At Eleven
  • Flame War: The Even Stephven debates which at one point attempted to prove which religion was the right one by holding a "Smite-off" (praying to either God or Mohammad to smite the other Ste(v/ph)en).
  • Flat What: In an interview with Barbara Walters, former GOP candidate Herman Cain said that, if offered a cabinet position, he would want to be Secretary of of Defense. Walters was so flabbergasted that she could only stammer out a What? This prompted Jon to show examples of people and comments that didn't faze her, including Syria's Bashar al-Assad saying that no government has ever killed non-deserving people.
  • Follow the Leader: The Daily Show has spawned a number of similar shows in the Middle East, notably Parazit in Iran and The Bassem Youssef Show in post-revolution Egypt. Both show's hosts and producers openly admit that they are attempting to replicate The Daily Show.
  • Food Porn: Darn near literally in one sketch.
  • Foreshadowing:
  • Fox News Liberal: Notable aversion. Though a decidedly liberal-leaning program, the Daily Show often hosts conservative guests. When it does, Jon Stewart treats them with respect and actually attempts to understand their point of view, and thus help the audience to do the same.
    • In addition, despite the assumed viewpoint that he would go "easy" on the Obama administration, he is perhaps one of its most vocal critics. Yes, they are pulling for them to have success and find ideological similarities, but that merely colors his criticism, which is expressed more as disappointment when the administration fails to follow through on something they claimed. In other words, it bases its views not on party, but progress. Or in layman's terms:

"C'mon, guys, we should be doing better than this!"

  • Funny Foreigner: Both played straight and subverted with John Oliver. There are plenty of times where his British-ness is used for laughs, but it's also heavily implied that he wants to be taken seriously as a journalist, but is forced to play the Funny Foreigner role for Jon Stewart's personal amusement.
    • He's also used in lieu of a calculator whenever a measurement is given in metric, as part of the segment "Is that a lot?".
    • On the other hand, it's usually not brought up with Canadians Samantha Bee and Jason Jones, unless the subject turns to Canada.
    • The correspondent segment on Silvio Berlusconi's trial for statutory rape was a grand mockery of the trope, what with Jon's attempt at playing the whole thing seriously.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The NAMBLA Running Gag.

G - H

  • Gag Dub: Whenever you hear a voiceover, trust me, it's fake.
    • By the same standard, if Jon has to strenuously emphasize that the voice-over is real, trust me, it's real, no matter how unbelievable it might be.
  • Game of Nerds: Jon has openly admitted to being a Mets fan.
  • General Ripper: Puppet Senator John McCain against illegal immigrants.
  • Giver of Lame Names: Jon will sometimes do this to his segment titles as a Running Gag, going through several increasingly horrific versions before settling on the final one.
  • The Glasses Come Off: In this segment, he takes off and puts on various pairs of glasses while making his dramatic speech.
  • A Glass in the Hand: Parodied in this clip as Jon handles a series of bad news about the Wall Street bailout by breaking a champagne glass, then the accompanying bottle, and finally his "comically convenient fish tank" (he's done similar gags with Spit Takes, as mentioned below, and one time with a Jenga game).
    • A Call Back was made to that clip in this clip on TARP, where Jon reacts to the financial loopholes involving the bailout by first snapping a pencil, crushing a piece of coal so hard it becomes diamond, before doing the same to a cute (live) kitten. Not really.
  • God Save Us From the Queen: She's p-p-p-p-poisonous.
  • Godwin's Law: The Back in Black segment ripping Glenn Beck's "Nazi Tourettes".

Lewis Black: It's "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon", except there's just one degree, and Kevin Bacon is Hitler!

    • Also defied in a "Rally to Restore Sanity" poster - "I may disagree with you, but I'm pretty sure you're not Hitler."
    • Later subverted in a segment about Planet Fitness, a gym that excludes hardcore weightlifters.

PF Rep: All the animals [the bodybuilders] can go in their cages and the rest of the people can come here."
Jason Jones: You know how else said that?
PF Rep: ...Hitler?
Jason Jones: What?? No! I was going to say Thomas Jefferson!

    • Jon does not like when anyone, of any stripe, compares anyone else to the Nazis. He's been complaining about it since as early as 2004 on Oprah, when it was the Democrats comparing Bush to Hitler and Republicans in the House comparing Democrats to Hitler and Democrats in the House comparing Republicans in the House to Hitler.
  • The Golden Rule: Subject of a Crosses The Line Twice joke in The Daily Show, where apropos of a meeting between Catholic Cardinals to discuss the sexual molestation scandals, Jon claims that the aforementioned Bible verse will be altered to include the footnote "except when explicitly prohibited by law."
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Cribbing a quote from a CNN Anchor about a sex scandal, Jon proclaims

Stewart: "If there's not a hip indie band named Lesbian Bondage Fiasco by next week..."

  • Gospel Revival Number: "I guess what I'm sayin' is this..." "GO..." "If 'Fair and Balanced' is how you want to sell yourself..." "FUCK..." "Guess what I'm sayin' is this..." "YOURSELVES!"
  • Guest Host: The correspondents, when necessary.
    • "Welcome to the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Ironically enough, I'm Stephen Colbert."
    • Jon Stewart is perhaps one of the most dedicated news anchors on TV. In one instance, despite losing his voice for three days, he refused to not appear on the show, even though he had to speak up (and therefore lengthened his recovery by abusing his already abused vocal cords).
  • Here We Go Again: Jon Stewart cut his hand by breaking a glass object AGAIN!
  • High-Class Glass: Toppington Von Monocle, the show's "biggest fan", who appeared in a segment in response to Bernie Goldberg accusing Jon of playing to an "incredibly unsophisticated audience" (see Sophisticated As Hell below).
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Frequently left in. For instance, Jon Stewart stumbling all over the camera placement while talking with Gitmo.
  • Homage: Jon riffed on Churchill while talking about his Crossfire appearance: "Tomorrow, I will go back to being funny, and your show will still blow."
  • Hostile Show Takeover: On Election Night 2008, Stewart and Colbert co-hosted a live show reporting on the results (in between humorous bits and interviews, of course). After Ohio went to Obama, it became obvious he was going to win the election. The Daily Show's two black correspondents, Larry Wilmore and Wyatt Cenac, took this as a sign that they could do "whatever they want", and tried to host The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, respectively. It was over by the commercial break.
    • Kristen and Samantha also once tried to take over the show when Jon went to the toilet, because they felt it was time for a female host.
  • Hypocritical Humor: "Yes, it's cathartic - it can be so therapeutic to publicly ridicule those whose views you find repugnant when they are in no way able to respond."
    • The end of his Special Comment about Keith Olbermann, accusing him of name-calling: "And as we both know, Sir, that's my thing!"
    • The episode on SOPA absolutely runs on this trope, with Jon faux-seriously lecturing on the evils of using copyrighted material and the background consisting entirely of clips taken from other shows.

I - J

Jon: You can't be a dick to (Newt) Gingrich. He's a master of dick fu. He will use his opponents' dickishness against... Newt studied it in the mountains of Tibet with the Dicky Lama.

  • I Love Nuclear Power: Alluded to during the Alexander Litvinenko poisoning.
  • Implausible Deniability: They get sitting heads of state, major government officials, Hollywood stars, scientists at the top of their field, and actual news anchors as guests. They've earned Emmys and Peabody Awards(!), and can get celebrities to drop by unannounced for a cameo and good joke. Their news is at least as insightful as the regular stuff put out by the networks and the 24-hour news channels (though people like Fareed Zakaria and Christiane Amanpour are probably better). But as he said when it was still true (and people were even treating the show as serious news), "The show leading into mine is puppets making crank phone calls."
  • In-Joke/Noodle Incident: Jon comes out to chat with the studio audience for a bit before the show starts, and then during the show he will often make a Call Back to something that one of the audience members said, leaving the home audience scratching their heads at the seeming Non Sequitur.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: He warned the audience after they laughed at this that, because it was positive reinforcement, he would use more of these in the future.

Jon Stewart: I'm sorry Kristen, I... why, why, why is that?
Kristen: Well Jon, you might just say... I'm "bear-en".

    • Jon criticized the news media's habit of using lame puns in a segment called You're Not Punny.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Jon begins his interview with Mike Huckabee about abortion by pouring them both shots.
  • Informed Judaism: Part of Jon Stewart's material since his stand-up career, with a combination of pride in his Jewishness and Self-Deprecation at being not very good at it.
    • So, basically, he's Reform.
    • But for the most part Jon subverts that trope. He clearly knows his Judaic lore and customs, but chooses to make part of his act about his choice to live as an ultra-assimilated, intermarried New York Jew.
  • In My Language, That Sounds Like...
  • Innocent Innuendo: An open-shirted Jason Jones was on Chat Roulette looking very relaxed while his arms were making jerking motions. He turns out to be playing Wii Craps while masturbating.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Played brilliantly straight in the manner of Glenn Beck. Watch it on video here. Comes complete with spoofing Hitler Ate Sugar.
    • Topped on the March 18, 2010 episode by taking it even further in a fifteen minute segment that concludes that Bert from Sesame Street is actually Hitler. Perhaps he is in cahoots with his colleague, Gitmo.
    • On June 27, 2011, the Moment of Zen showed a clip from Fox News:

"I'm going to say it right now, Jon Stewart is a racist. I don't believe that to be true, but I'm saying it."

Jon Stewart: Uh, Aasif, how did you do that?
Aasif: I'm Asian, Jon. I'm a ninja!

  • Interspecies Romance: John Oliver/Orangutan OTP!
  • Irishman and a Jew: The Daily Show is headed up by Jon Stewart (born Jonathan Liebowitz--and no, you're not allowed to call him that); its sister show, The Colbert Report, stars Stephen Colbert, who self-identifies as Irish-American, despite the French-sounding name. Like many other instances of such pairings, the Jewish half is sarcastic and exasperated with a world gone mad, while the Irish half is blustering and self-assured, but oblivious to the problems around him.
    • Also happens during the many times Jon's good friend Denis Leary is on the show.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: A staple of the show is Jon recapping the basics of a story and assuming a result, then cutting to a clip of a reporter or speaker saying the exact opposite.
    • Somewhat departing from this formula is this gem:

      Stewart: I stopped by the old Fox News Sunday. Said "hi" to my friend Chris Wallace. We, I thought, had a provocative discussion about the media. I suggested that the true bias of the mainstream news is not particularly liberal, but towards sensationalism and conflict, or as the Huffington Post put it: "YOU'RE INSANE!!!!!!!!"

  • It Got Worse: A parody of the "It Gets Better" campaign (aimed at preventing suicides among gay teens), in pointing out that John McCain has placed himself in the "George Wallace role" in the military's gay policy debate, actually uses the line "It Gets Worse" repeatedly.
  • It's Been Done: After Jon's recap of the Bipartisan Health Care Summit of 2010, Stewart and John Oliver proceeded to explain in great detail a hypothetical system where legislators could come together, sit down, and talk about relevant issues. OH WAIT, THAT'S CONGRESS.

"What if both of those bodies are fucking idiots?"

K - L

  • Kent Brockman News: Most of the correspondents.
  • Kill the Poor: During the banter segment with Jon Stewart at the end of The Daily Show's 10th Anniversary episode, Stephen Colbert remarked about how Stewart's show is all about supporting "the underdog" and Colbert can't believe how he ever backed that "losing horse". That's why Colbert on his own show now supports "the overdog" (specifically, big business). When concluding his point, Colbert quotes the Trope Namer!

Like mis hermanos, the Dead Kennedys say, "Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill the poor!"

  • Kung Fu Jesus: Weight class 155-170 lbs! Extreme Ministries ftw!
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: In October 7, 2008, while analyzing the "stupid" vote, John Oliver broke it down into twelve sections: paste eaters, numbskulls, nitwits, fucktards, people whose hands get stuck in pickle jars when they eat pickles, people who lose arguments to babies, douchenozzles, tiger petters, people who jump up and down on frozen lakes, shaved gorillas who've somehow managed to acquire a driver's license, the voluntarily lobotomized, and Cubs fans.
    • In their commentaries on the television news media, they'll often show the news media's hive-mind collective latches onto a particular key-word or -phrase and repeats it incessantly by means of a montage. They'll show sometimes upward of a dozen clips of different news anchors, reporters, and pundits repeating the same catch-phrase about an item, then end it with one of the talking heads (usually a Fox News pundit) saying something... really bizarre, though still on-topic.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Invades CNN's 2012 Super Tuesday coverage.
  • Left It In: Commonly Played for Laughs.
  • Leno Device: The Daily Show popped up in the middle of Evan Almighty. Bonus points on that one, since the star of that movie, Steve Carell, started out as a Daily Show correspondent.
  • Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: If news reports trot out questionable statistics, the show will call them out on this, like the time(s) Fox's statistics totaled over 100%.
  • Logical Fallacies: Thoughtfully provided by the "Large Hadron Collider will destroy the world" pundit/high school science teacher.

Teacher: I'd say there is a 50/50 chance. It will either destroy us or it won't.
John Oliver: I'm not sure statistics work that way.
John: After the apocalypse, we should try breeding. (the teacher is male)
Teacher: I don't think that will work.
John: It either could happen or it won't.

    • They had a field day with people claiming that snowstorms proved global warming wasn't real. Apparently global warming=negation of seasonal weather trends.
    • A homophobe who didn't want open gays in American military claimed that Nazis were gay and persecuted gays to hide their own sexuality...wait.
    • John used the fallacy-ridden manner of thinking Glenn Beck uses to prove things to prove him wrong and evil.
  • Logic Bomb: Jon drops one on the Reagan US 9/11 by pointing out that Obama was conceived in Hawaii. Thus either Obama was created and became a person in the US which should count for more than where he emerged from his mother's womb... or fetuses aren't people. Unable to cope with having to abandon either its Birther or Pro-life stance, the machine promptly crashes.

M - N

"Real" Michael Steele: Take a hike, Dick van Dyke.
Puppet Steele: ...I can take that he's better looking than me, but rhyming's my thing, Gordon Sumner - also known as Sting!

    • Or when he was trying to pronounce the name of the island "Mah Na Mah Na"...
      • Don't forget Gitmo! Never thought that Elmo's cousin (or whatever) was a member of Al-Qaeda, but it's a small world, I suppose.
      • Also, don't forget that Elmo himself is a neo-Nazi...
    • When then-Prime Minister Tony Blair was "Harumphed" (heckled) by Parliament, Stewart noted that "The act of harumphing dates back to the Earl of Statler and the Duke of Waldorf."
    • And don't forget when he interviewed Kermit the Frog:

Jon: Isn't that the whole thing, if you lick a frog you get crazy thoughts?
Kermit: If you lick a frog, you're crazy before you started!
Jon: I can't believe it, the frog's running circles around me!

O - P

  • Obfuscating Stupidity: A charge leveled at Gretchen Carlson of "Fox and Friends" for her having to look up the words "czar" and "ignoramus", despite being a Stanford honors graduate in Sociology, having studied at Oxford and being a talented violinist, and so probably being familiar with those words.
    • And done again, lampshade included and vocally invoked by Wyatt Cenac when discussing how Fox and Friends had connected the "Ground-Zero Mosque" with the leader of The Kingdom Foundation, Prince Al-waleed bin Talal... who happens to be a 7% shareholder with NewsCorp, parent company of Fox News (this makes him the largest shareholder outside of the Murdoch family).

Wyatt Cenac: Bum-bum-bum! That's some evil shit! It's a level of knowing obfuscation that can only come with having a heart filled with pure evil!


  • One-Man Army: Former correspondent and all-around Badass Lt. Col. Rob Riggle, USMCR.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. In addition to Jon Stewart, the show has John Oliver, and occasional You're Welcome host John Hodgman. And of course, there were also Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert before they left the show (complete with the segment "Even Stephven" where they "debated" a topic by hurling insults at each other).
  • Only in Florida: During a segment about Florida demanding that welfare recipients take drug urinalysis tests, Aasif Maandvi manages to crash an actual press conference with Gov. Rick Scott and requests that he take a test himself. The other reporters even help to pass him the cup.
  • Only Sane Man: Jon Stewart, with the insanity provided either by correspondents, or clips of real life politics.
  • Orgasmically Delicious: Anything prepared by Mario Batalli.
  • Overly Long Gag:
    • Jon will occasionally do something random (like vigorously scratch the back of his head) while waiting for the audience to stop applauding or laughing, then when they quiet down, he'll continue to do it until they laugh again.
    • Full clip. When MSNBC named a New York police officer "Anthony Bologna" (pronounced like the Italian city), Jon insisted on calling him "Tony Bologna" (pronounced like the sausage) and proceeded with a rap:

Guy's name is Tony Bologna
Favorite pasta, rigatoni
Favorite island, Coney
Favorite Italian prime minister, Berlusconi
Favorite southern buffet restaurant, Shoney's
Favorite dessert, fresh mixed berries


You thought I'd say spumoni or tortoni

No, he's lactose intoleroni

The theme music to that done by Tony! Toni! Toné!
Sponsored by Rice-A-Roni
The lead-in program: My Little Pony

In the bedroom you'll find a box marked porn... it's not porn, Jon, it's erotica! It's my legacy! That has to go to a library!

  • Prayer of Malice: Back when Stephen and Steven were still on The Daily Show, an "Even Stephven" segment had them debating whether Islam or Christianity was the one true religion. Needless to say, prayers of "Smite mine enemy" were evoked on both sides.
  • Precision F-Strike: Done with beauty while commenting on CNBC's having had a guest - Sir Allen Stanford - on the show who was being investigated on allegations of running a Ponzi scheme (arrested one month later) and they get to the final question... Cut to 7:50.
    • Another example, in the unsubtly-subtle vein, occurred on 11-18-09 segment about Sarah Palin's surge in popularity (accompanied by book-signing). Bernie Goldberg stated that "[Sarah has a son who] has Down's Syndrome. Liberals certainly don't - don't allow that to happen!" Cue a pause from Jon, who shuffles around some papers on the desk prior to holding them in front of his mouth and coughing "Go fuck yourself!"
      • Done in the same vein on 02-07-2008 with perverse deliberation.
    • Used against Fox News on April 15th, 2010 (making it worse, the timing was RIGHT after one of them making a remark that having 5 kids with one of them having Down Syndrome was something that liberals "certainly don't allow to happen"). Fox's response was then analyzed, line-by-line, on the 20th, culminating in a cluster-GoFuckYourself-bomb set to music.

"I've said this before, and I'll say it again... Go fuck yourself!"

    • Done several times by John Oliver when discussing the 2010 World Cup.
  • Preppy Name: Stewart likes to make up names for the 2012 Republican presidential nominee that sound even more preppy than Willard "Mitt" Romney.

R - S

  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Dog on Fire" by Bob Mould, as covered by They Might Be Giants.
  • Red Scare: Teaching Mandarin in middleschool will taint the next generation with COMMUNISM!
  • Refuge in Audacity: Many of the segment titles can fall under this, including goodies such a kid-friendly piece titled, "Jon Stewart Touches Children", to a piece about Cheney's poor memory titled, "Is Our Dick Going Soft?".
  • Resistance Is Futile: After Jon Stewart laid the smack-down on Fox News with a Cluster go f*ck yourself (backed by a Gospel Choir) one MSNBC pundit came to the conclusion: "Do not pick a fight with Jon Stewart. Do not do it, you can not win."
  • Retroactive Wish: Jon after Crossfire got canceled: "According to Jim is hurting America." It took a while, but his wish was finally granted in May of 2009.
  • Ridiculously Loud Commercial: The full episodes online have faint audio relative to most YouTube and other online videos, requiring viewers to turn up their speaker volume. The ads, however, are so loud you have to turn your volume down almost all the way to keep them from blaring.
    • The episodes posted on Hulu avert this, either because Hulu turns up the volume of the videos before posting them or because they just have quieter commercials. The ones posted on the show's official site are still too quiet with too-loud commercials, though.
  • Rousing Speech: John Oliver's rousing defense of moats during the 2009 British MP expenses scandal (during which one MP was found to have used public funds to preserve the moat on his property) comes complete with Lampshade Hanging:

Jon Stewart: You're going Richard II on us?
John Oliver: F--k yeah, strap in!

  • Rule 34: The Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation on a Betsy Ross carpet with the Magna Carta stroking its wax seal.
  • Running Gag: The unfortunate subtitles given to certain segments. At one point it was "Jon Stewart Touches Kids", and on the June 21, 2009 broadcast, a segment was entitled "Jon Stewart Jizz-ams in Front of Children". Both of these gags fit well with the NAMBLA running gag.
    • Jimmy Dean Blueberry Pancake and Sausage on a Stick.
      • Baconnaise (and Lite Baconnaise)!
    • Also, Jon Stewart unsuccessfully attempting to fist-bump Larry Wilmore at the end of Wilmore's segments, which they apparently resolved with a high-five.
    • Jon plays a clip of some pop culture figure insulting someone, and then goes "Oh, snap!" and launches into a sequence of not especially funny "your mama" jokes.
      • Alternately, the thuggish-Italian-New-Yorker-picking-a-fight voice (always adding "No disrespect" and "How you doin'?").
    • The latest version of the one mentioned at the top: it goes from "Jon Stewart looks at children's things", over "Uncle Jon wants to show you something" to "Jon Stewart's Windowless News Van For Kids".
    • Jon Stewart's Story Hole!
    • And now we have Jon Stewart's Complicated Gay Issues.
    • Whenever the audience boos someone Jon is talking about, he tries to claim that they weren't booing, they were saying [something that wouldn't even remotely sound like "BOO!".]
    • "Keep fucking that chicken!"
    • It used to be a running gag that Jon still had to night-manage a Bennigan's to supplement his income from the show.
    • Lampshading the use of Chroma Key in the correspondents' "live reports".
    • Jon really loves Goodfellas.
    • Roll 212!
    • "(insert name here) is right!", after a clip of a pundit or politician making some sort of hyperbolic statement. This usually prompts a sarcastic agreement from Jon.
      • A variation of this is when the name is switched with some outrageously long description like: "That twit who's nearly run out of 24 hour networks to appear on is right!" when talking about Tucker Carlson or "That old man who's been in Washington for nearly forever is right!" when talking about John McCain.
    • Whenever Jon does an impression of either a famous person or a famous movie character, he claims that he's doing it to promote his "new one-man show" of that exact same impression.
    • The 2010 World Cup coverage with John Oliver. Usually ending with Stewart making a humiliating observation - such as USA tying England in the group round due to an own-goal - and driving Oliver to respond "FUCK YOU JON! FUCK YOU SO VERY MUCH!"
      • Which has carried over a bit further since then.
    • The *Insert T-Shirt logo here* shirt exchanges between Aasif Mandvi and Wyatt Cenac for the first time, then John Oliver and Wyatt Cenac for the final pair, which has (so far) only been done for 3 shows in a row. First it was "Team Mohammed" versus "Team Jesus" to settle the "coming religious war". Then "Team Stupid" versus "Team Evil" when discussing "Fox and Friends" blatantly avoiding naming, or even picturing, the founder of The Kingdom Foundation, despite tying him to the "Ground-Zero Mosque" due to his 7% share in Fox's parent company NewsCorp. Finally "Team N-Word" versus "Team Retard" regarding which epithet was worse... apparently the word "retard" is trading for 11 N-words, and "kike" was up 3 1/4... not to mention a "nicer" way to say Jew.
      • They brought it back for the revolutions in the Middle East and who gets the credit for Egypt and Tunisia opting for a democracy: Team Bush (Jon Oliver), Team Obama (Olivia Munn), and Team Local Conditions (Aasif Mandvi).
    • Mispronouncing the US president's name Bearick Obemuh.
    • Another popular Running Gag is Jon throwing his coat and tie into the audience. *puts finger up to ear* I'm sorry, I'm being told that Jon putting his finger up to his head as if receiving a correction message on a headset is the actual gag.
    • On the November 10, 2011 episode, whenever Jon got stuck on a list of something, he finished with a government agency, usually the EPA (the main highlight of the episode was Rick Perry's gaffe at the CNBC GOP Debate, where Perry stumbled on the 3rd government agency he would do away with as president).
    • He has started doing variants of spit-takes, saying he will watch the clip while doing various things, including, at one point, holding a kitten. Coal turns to diamonds, the kitten to glass, food is destroyed, pencils are broken...
    • John making up names for Mitt Romney in the 2012 election, ranging from 'Willard Mittnerd Romnerd" to "Willington Mittfor Romnefeller the Third."
    • ...two things.
      • Go oooon. :3
  • Sarcasm Failure:
    • Stewart's reaction to a repeal of a bill to provide treatment to firefighters who obtained respiratory problems from working in the WTC ruins rescuing survivors (because it was funded by closing a tax loophole used to keep corporations from paying income taxes) is a particular example. Appropriately, it was even named "I give up".
    • On March 26, 2012, Stewart opened the show with two news items: Dick Cheney's heart transplant, and the Treyvon Martin shooting. Every time he'd try to lighten the mood with a heart transplant joke, he would fall flat over the seriousness of the shooting, until he finally gave up.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Happens quite frequently, but particularly in the entirety of this where Jon and John throw out completely hypothetical ideas of two government bodies discussing and voting on ideas inside buildings. ...then again, what if both of those bodies are fucking idiots?
  • Schmuck Bait: Jon's Take That segments. Don't try to answer back unless you're really sure you can win (you can't). This fact is so well known by now that Keith Olbermann played with it a bit, teasing a typical Large Ham response for a whole episode before meekly agreeing with Jon's main point and apologizing.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: In one skit, Stewart was mocking a (defeated) bill that would've said, "Life begins at conception". He then monologues to himself about a screenplay idea involving the killer being a woman's unborn baby. The camera then pulls away like they're going to commercial, leaving Stewart confused and Corpsing, and quoting the trope by name (mostly):

Stewart: You known it's bad when the camera guy goes, "Fuck this! I'm outta here!"

Stephen: Yeah, you know what "z" stands for, Jon: zrevenge!

Jon: See you in a minute, Stephen!

Stephen: I will have my zvengeance!

  • Short Title: Long Elaborate Subtitle: Many of the guests' books.
  • Sound in a Jar: John Stewart swore into a veterans affairs swear jar; in a later episode, original airdate 5/19/2014, he opened the jar and (censored) profanity came out.
  • Shout-Out: A truly hilarious one. Five words: John Oliver as a Na'vi.
  • The Show Must Go On: Jon cuts his hand against glass, causing notable bleeding? No reason to stop the sketch!
  • Shown Their Work: Jon's interviews. Especially the authors - Jon reads every book plugged on his show cover-to-cover, and it shows.
  • Skyward Scream: A failed attempt can be seen here.
  • Sophisticated As Hell: John Oliver. A nod must be given to Toppington Von Monocle, who quoted Catullus 16 to disprove the notion that the Daily Show audience is uncouth.
    • This is also the effect of those times when they forgo the elaborate joke and just insult someone, such as the long campaign of describing Robert Novak as a "douchebag" (culminating in an attempt to "bury the hatchet" wherein Jon earnestly explained, "I only ever said those things to you because I sincerely believe... that you are a terrible person") or "In Dick Morris's defense, he is a lying sack of shit." And of course the "go fuck yourself" choir.
  • Spit Take: Both used straight and spoofed regularly. Here's an example.
    • Subverted here (about 3:05 in) when Jon obviously sets himself up for a spit-take... and then nonchalantly keeps on drinking from his mug.
    • Didn't they do one where it seemed like he was going to do one and instead he bit into the cup?
      • Basically, he's played this straight, deconstructed it, reconstructed it, and exploited it for all its worth. And it's still kind of hilarious.
  • Squee: After showing President Obama having a candid talk at a GOP conference, and President Obama completely blowing away every one of their talking points, Jon squeed.

(In high pitched voice) "...Holy S**t! They're gonna air this!? This is gonna be awesome!"

  • Squick: Invoked with Ed Helms getting a mole on his nose removed. You can hear the audience groaning as it happens. [2].
  • Stacy's Mom: Made fun of in their sketch about "cougars".
  • The Stoic: Of all the possible people, Colbert had a moment of this during the 2008 elections. When Obama locked up California and, thus, the elections, the entire crew started freaking out and wondering what the post-Bush world must be like. So, they head outside and start gushing over the fact that the sun is shining, children are at play, etc. Meanwhile, Colbert just stands there, and firmly reminds them that Bush is still president for two more months, killing the mood of the others.
  • Stop Helping Me!: In the midst of an uphill battle to retain his Senate seat, John McCain had Sarah Palin speak for him to garner some much-needed publicity for his campaign. This proved to be a very bad idea.
  • Straight Man: Stewart to the correspondents.
  • Straw Man Has a Point: Invoked intentionally during one of Stewart's Glenn Beck impersonations.

"Strawman slippery slope dumb guy may have a point."

T - V

  • Take That: Several times over, typically directed at various news networks for failing in the investigative portion of "investigative reporting." Among them are Fox News Channel (typical fodder for the show), followed by CNBC (over bad financial advice), and CNN, for "Leaving it there".

And no, this teleprompter is not stuck!

  • Tempting Fate: A favorite of the show during the first segment. Usually used to show the hypocrisy of news programs (most often FOX News), where Jon will show a video, then say something along the lines of "next thing you know, they'll say..." and sure enough, another video rolls showing them saying that.
    • A Memorable Take That was aimed towards the inventors and the people behind the SOPA/PIPA (ACTA) bill. The day when all the rebellion and internet shut downs happened he went wild, taking down the supporters of the bill, the people who don't support the bill and every other person who's for this ever... and even Wikipedia for taking it's stand against it.
    • Lampshaded on the June 16th episode, when he shows a clip of a FOX News anchor blasting Obama for asking people to pray to God in a speech even though he doesn't regularly go to church. Jon comments along the lines of "wouldn't it be hilarious if they had previously begged him to show his religious side and tell people to pray?". Immediately afterwards he says, completely deadpan "cue FOX News clip from the day before the speech" showing just what he wanted.
    • Anyone notice that every time the show goes on hiatus, even CRAZIER crap happens? When Jon and the crew come back from vacation, they've got twelve different scandals or disasters to cover. It's as though, "hey let's take a break here while nobody's doing anything! So here we are in sunny Hawaii and... what's that on CNN?... OMG the Vice President shot someone in the face!"
      • Some might even think that those in the scandals do it on purpose, knowing that Jon and his crew would be more damaging to them then the "actual" journalists.
      • And again, during the Egyptian uprising of February 2011 the show was on hiatus again. By the time Jon and crew made it back, the protesters had gotten the military to throw out Mubarak. And left Aasif Mandvi complaining about missing out on all the love reporters were getting from the protesters after the overthrow.
      • During a week-long hiatus in March 2011 Japan got hit by the earthquake and the tsunami, Middle Eastern leaders opened fire on their own people, Knut the polar bear died and the US militarily enforced the no fly zone in Libya.

Jon: When we left the world's two biggest trouble spots were Wisconsin and the set of Two and A Half Men. And then suddenly ALL HOLY HELL BREAKS LOOSE! I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO LOOK AT!

  • Tontine: In one segment, John Hodgman suggests fixing the national debt by making Social Security into a tontine. And making murder legal.
  • Totally Radical: Spoofed in a segment about the rush by politicians and the media to embrace Twitter, Samantha Bee gave a report which included the following exchange:

Samantha Bee: Man, this stuff is wizard!
Jon Stewart: Is that a new word for "good"?
Samantha Bee: Probably.

W - X

Stephen Colbert: ...did you set fire to Dick Gephardt?
Jon Stewart: That's right, Stephen, we lit former Majority Leader of the House Dick Gephardt on fire... and then we blew him up.
Stephen Colbert: ...kudos.

Jon Stewart: In a segment we like to call "Jon Stewart's Story Hole". Remember, it's our little secr-who wrote this?

    • Jon's also a good enough sport to admit this about himself.

Jon: *chuckles* I'm a bad writer.

Y - Z

Stewart: What's with the Yiddish tonight? What's with the -- "shmaltzy", and the "just gave me a little schpilkis, but" -- "I took my punim over there", bing bang boom --
Williams: Joey Bishop, ladies and gentlemen.

Dana Perino: I don't know all the particulars of the bill, *stammers* the point of it... I have no idea what Anthony Weiner's even talking about! He's just screaming and it is such a turn-off.
Jon Stewart: Is it? Is it a turn-off? Is that from your Playboy profile? "My turn-offs include Weiner screaming, and in any way justifying my being treated as an expert"?!

  • You Keep Using That Word: Jason Jones asks if the (bigoted) local leader of and Americans Against Hate chapter knew what "against" meant. Said leader had passed out pamphlets to not officially allow a Muslim-American into the party.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: In 2029, of the Those Wacky Nazis variety. It's at about 7:30 here.

Waldorf: Hey, do you think we could get on this show?
Statler: Hm. They only let Muppets on if they're in Guantatamo Bay... or Republicans!
Waldorf: Uh... well, I best start packing for Cuba then!
Both: Doh-ho-ho-ho-ho!

  1. i.e. the limited government oversight on hired contractors in the Middle East.
  2. Al-Jazeera means "The Peninsula" in Arabic, in reference to the Arabian Peninsula.
  3. Because Jon, the manager of the building (Adriane Truex), and much of the staff, share a love of dogs.