The Daily Show
Multiple Emmy Award-winning American comedian, actor, writer and producer Jon Stewart is widely regarded by many for his political satire and as the host of “The Daily Show” (1999 - present) on Comedy Central. He is also a writer and a co-producer of the popular show. For his outstanding effort, he picked up a total of 10 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 and for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. He also has won two Television Critics Association awards for Individual Achievement in Comedy (2003 and 2005).
Stewart, who started his career as a stand-up comedian, is also a 2005 Grammy winner thanks to “America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction,” the audio book version of his bestseller book of the same name. He hosted the “78th Academy Awards” in 2006 and was lately chosen to return to host the 80th Academy Awards. As an actor, Stewart has acted in several TV shows and films, including “Mixed Nuts” (1994), “The Faculty” and “Playing by Heart” (both 1998), “Big Daddy” (1999), “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” (2001), “Death to Smoochy” (2002) and the upcoming “Telstar” (2008).
Outside of the limelight, the graduate of The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg gave a speech at the commencement ceremonies (2004) at his alma mater and was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Art degree. The same year, he was also the Class Day topic speaker at Princeton University. A lover of soccer since college, Stewart is also known for his affection for baseball and mentions the New York Mets as his favorite team. In 2006, he was handed an Honorary All-America award from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. As for music, Stewart is a fan of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, and Buffalo Tom.
On a more personal note, 5-foot-7-inch Stewart has been happily married to his beautiful wife Tracey McShane since 2000. Together, they have two young children, Nathan and Maggie.
Childhood and Family:
Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, who legally changed his name to Jon Stewart in 2001, was born on November 28, 1962, in New York City, to Donald Leibowitz, a physicist at The College of New Jersey, and Marian, an educational consultant. He was raised in Lawrence Township, in New Jersey, and after his parents divorced in 1971, he and his older brother Larry lived with their mother. Jon was educated at Lawrence High School where he joined the school's band as a French horn player and was often harassed from some of his classmates because he was the only Jewish student. He left home at age 17 to attend The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and got his B.S. in psychology in 1984. While attending college, he played on the men's soccer team and coached soccer at Gloucester High School in Gloucester. He also became a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity but quit after six months. After college, he returned to New Jersey and worked various jobs such as bartending, construction, bussing tables, caterer, and research lab assistant. During part of this period, he roomed with upcoming congressman Anthony Weiner. He moved to N.Y.C. in 1986 to work on the comedy club circuit.
In November 2000, Jon married his long-time girlfriend, Tracey McShane, a veterinary technician. They welcomed their first child, son Nathan Thomas Stewart, on July 3, 2004. Their second child, a daughter named Maggie Rose Stewart, was born on February 4, 2006. The family has a cat named Stanley and two bull terriers, Monkey and Shamsky. Jon has several nicknames like “Lefty,” “Soupy,” “Poochy” and “Susceptible Boy.”
After toiling with a number of odd jobs, Jon Stewart left New Jersey at age 23 for New York City with the intention of becoming a stand-up comedian. It took a year for Stewart to gather his courage to get on stage. In 1987, he made his first stand-up performance at The Bitter End in Greenwich Village, a place where his comedic idol, Woody Allen, also began. After his first performance, he started using the stage name “Jon Stewart” and progressed to a more regular gig at the Comedy Cellar in which he became the last performer every night for a couple of years. In 1989, Stewart broke into television when he landed a writing job for “Caroline’s Comedy Hour,” but he did not experience his first break until he was hired as a host of Comedy Central’s “Short Attention Span Theatre” in 1991. The following year, he hosted the short-lived “You Wrote It, You Watch It” on MTV, which called for audiences to send in their stories to be performed by the comedy troupe The State. In 1993, he entered a competition for an open post left by David Letterman on NBC's “Late Night,” but the more experienced comic and writer Conan O'Brien came out the winner.
Later that same year, Stewart headlined his own talk show on MTV. The first talk show on the network, “The Jon Stewart Show” soon became a hit and the second highest-rated MTV show after “Beavis and Butt-head.” After suffering a ratings decline, the show was eventually canceled in June 1995. Despite its quick demise, the show did win a strong following, including Letterman, who was the final guest of the show. Letterman invited Stewart to his company, Worldwide Pants, and Stewart became a frequent guest host for Tom Snyder on the Letterman-produced “The Late Late Show,” which aired on CBS. As a result, many speculated that Stewart would quickly replace Snyder permanently, but Stewart was instead offered the time slot after Snyder, which he rejected.
Stewart next made a number of unmemorable appearances in episodes of “The Nanny” (1997), “Newsradio” (also 1997) and “Spin City” (1999). He also branched out to feature films and made his debut in the Steve Martin vehicle “Mixed Nuts” (1994), He then landed a part as Goldie Hawn's young lover in “The First Wives Club” (1996), but it ended on the cutting room floor. He next appeared in “Wishful Thinking” (1997), “Half-Baked,” “The Faculty” and “Playing by Heart” (all 1998).
Thanks to Craig Kilborn who left “The Daily Show” to replace Tom Snyder in “The Late Night Show,” Stewart was hired to replace Kilborn in late 1998 and made his debut performance on Comedy Central's “The Daily Show” in January 1999. After a rocky start, his work eventually paid off when in 2001 the show won its first Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program. Also serving as a writer and co-executive producer, Stewart collected nine more Emmy Awards, including the 2007 Emmy for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series. Massively popular and widely successful on cable television, “The Daily Show” also won two Peabody Awards in 2000 and 2004 for covering the presidential elections. Stewart will stay with the show until 2008.
Several months after he began his high-profile gig on “The Daily Show,” Stewart revisited the big screen by playing the best friend of Adam Sandler in the comedy “Big Daddy” (1999). In between his busy schedule on the show, he managed to be seen playing Pizza Guy in “The Office Party” (2000), Reg Hartner in Kevin Smith's “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” (2001) and Marion Frank Stokes in the Danny DeVito-helmed “Death to Smoochy” (2002). He also did several voice-overs and worked in “The Magic Roundabout” (2005) and “Doogal” (2006). In addition to his acting job, Stewart hosted the annual telecast of the Grammy Awards in 2001 and reprised his role in 2002. He also enjoyed success as a book author with “America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction” (2004), which was a national best seller. Co-edited with “Daily Show” writers, the book also received “Book of the Year” praise from Publishers Weekly and netted a 2005 Grammy for Best Comedy Album for the audio book version. His popularity gained another boost when in 2006 Stewart was recruited to host the 78th Academy Awards. On being picked to host the prestigious event, he said, “As a performer, I'm truly honored to be hosting the show. Although as an avid watcher of the Oscars, I can't help but be a little disappointed with the choice. It appears to be another sad attempt to smoke out Billy Crystal. Despite mixed criticism he earned in his first performance, he was asked to host the ‘80th Annual Academy Awards’ in 2008. I'm thrilled to be asked to host the Academy Awards for the second time because, as they say, the third time's a charm,” Stewart
In 2007, Steward was reported by the New York Post to have met with NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker in an effort to lure the comic to replace Jay Leno as host of “The Tonight Show” in 2009. Longtime rival, Conan O'Brien, had formerly been declared Leno's successor.
As an actor, Stewart is set to star with Kevin Spacey in the upcoming biopic film “Telstar” (2008), about Joe Meek (played by Con O'Neill), the songwriter-producer behind the 1960s hits like “Have I the Right,” “Just Like Eddie,” “Johnny, Remember Me” and “Telstar.”
Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series, “The Daily Show,” 2007
Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series, “The Daily Show,” 2006
Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program, “The Daily Show,” 2006
Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series, “The Daily Show,” 2005
Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program, “The Daily Show,” 2005
Television Critics Association: Individual Achievement in Comedy, “The Daily Show,” 2005
Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series, “The Daily Show,” 2004
Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program, “The Daily Show,” 2004
Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series, “The Daily Show,” 2003
Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program, “The Daily Show,” 2003
Television Critics Association: Individual Achievement in Comedy, “The Daily Show,” 2003
Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program, “The Daily Show,” 2001