"Daily Show" host Jon Stewart sat for an interview
with "60 Minutes" Steve Kroft. Some excerpts:
Kroft, on Stewart: "In the world of comedy,
the saying goes, 'satire is something that closes on Saturday
night.' But not this year, at least not when it comes to poking
fun at politics and the media. The endless election, the continuing
Clinton scandals, and the travails of the new Administration have
provided lots of material for Letterman, Leno and 'Saturday Night
Live.' But nobody has benefited more than Jon Stewart."
Kroft, on The Daily Show: "It is television
news' evil, demented twin -- so full of itself, it almost looks
real. In a time when more and more news broadcasts are produced
as entertainment, Jon Stewart anchors a comedy show disguised
Stewart, on the success of The Daily Show:
"I think why this works is there is a real frustration out there
with the aggregate, assaultive effect of television news. If you
were to watch television news, you would think that we are not
only in a deep economic recession, but in the middle of a rampant
crime wave. And not only that: your children are not safe from
bacteria that may or may not be growing in your bathroom."
Kroft, to Stewart: "What do you think of George
W. Bush? Do you think he's funny?"
Stewart: "I think he might be funny privately.
When I see him on television, he's acting. Is he a good actor?
Not really. When he got through the inauguration speech, people
were kvelling, 'He read it so beautifully!' They literally said,
'I thought at that inauguration he looked presidential.' He was
being sworn in as President! What did people expect?!"
Stewart, on how "Daily Show" gets its news:
"We keep our TV probably mostly tuned to CNN. If we want fair
reporting, then FOX. Because they report, we decide. ... You check
facts. We would never think to do that -- to check actual facts.
It's just not something that would ever occur to us. We have no
credibility issue because we have absolutely no credibility."
Stewart, on fame: "William Bennett asked me
for an autograph for his kid. You've seen the show. If you were
William Bennett, would you even talk to me?"
Kroft, to Stewart: "Why do you think so much
has been made of political humor this year?"
Stewart: "Because there are 5 24-hour news channels.
At some point, they have got to turn and go, 'Does anybody have
a joke about this?!'"