Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Walshian Jon Stewart

The first episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was kind of boring. Stewart had taken over for Craig Kilborn and basically just did Kilborn's show, complete with the "Five questions" that Kilborn would ask each guest. Since then, Stewart has made that show his own, to where he, and the show, are both household names.

How many of you actually knew that The Daily Show was not originally Stewart's?

I'm guessing not many.

Kilborn stunk.

Is anyone surprised that he was let go from his CBS late night show, replaced by the boss from the Drew Carey Show?

I'm not.

His wikipedia page says that Kilborn decided not to re-up with CBS, but I think we all know better.

Kilborn should have stuck with Sportscenter, at least people knew him there as the "Jumanji" guy.

Back to the original point though, Jon Stewart has now become the Bill Walsh of comedians. For those who don't know, Walsh was a Hall of Fame Coach for the San Francisco 49ers, and his coaching family tree extends to many, many coaches on many, many teams. These current head coaches all have ties to Walsh: Tony Dungy, Indianapolis...Andy Reid, Philadelphia...Mike Holmgren, Seattle...Herm Edwards, Kansas City...Jeff Fisher, Tennessee...Jon Gruden, Tampa Bay...Mike Shanahan, Denver...Brian Billick, Baltimore...Mike McCarthy, Green Bay...Gary Kubiak, Houston...Lovie Smith, Chicago...Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh...Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville...and Brad Childress, Minnesota.

Needless to say, a lot of coaches. Bill Callahan (Nebraska) and Pete Carroll (USC) also have ties to Walsh.

So how does Stewart's name get mentioned in the same breath as Walsh? Look at the list of correspondents who have come through TDS. When Stewart began, he had Steve Carrell, Steven Colbert, Nancy Walls, Vance Degeneres, Frank DeCaro, and Mo Rocca. Carell starred in more than a few movies, including The 40-Year Old Virgin and Little Miss Sunshine, and now has his own show on NBC, The Office. Colbert has his own show on Comedy Central, The Colbert Report, which follows TDS. Nancy Walls follwed her husband Carell, she has a recurring role on The Office. Degeneres is traveling with his band Cowboy Mouth (he also just finished writing for sister Ellen's gig on the Oscars). Frank DeCaro has a show on Sirius Satellite Radio, as does Mo Rocca who I think has 18 other jobs, including working for The Tonight Show, writing for USA Today, and working on VH1's I Love the (enter decade here).

So then the next wave of correspondents come in: Dave Attell, Ed Helms, Rob Corddry, Nate Corddry, Lewis Black, and Matt Walsh. Attell got his own show on Comedy Central, he's now more of a household name. Ed Helms followed Steve Carell, he's now on The Office. Rob Corddry has his own show on FOX called The Winner. Nate Corddry was one of the stars of the now-canceled Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Lewis Black still comes on TDS, but he is now a household name, he's had his own HBO specials, and has also been seen in such films as Man of the Year, Accepted, and Unaccompanied Minors. Matt Walsh has been in shows like Dog Bites Man, and films such as Old School, Christmas with the Kranks, and School for Scoundrels. You've probably also seen him in a ton of commercials, even if you weren't aware that the guy who looked familiar was him.

So The Daily Show has become somewhat of a funnel to bigger and better things (although what is bigger or better that The Daily Show?!). Correspondents have come and go, and sometimes come again. The one constant has been Jon Stewart. He tried movies earlier in his career (he was great in Playing by Heart, fantastic movie), but his film career seems to have stalled (I believe Death to Smoochy was his last movie), and he seems content to give us the news, for the most part un-biased.

So I guess what I'm saying is, please Jon, don't ever leave.

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