Jon Stewart revealed that he almost quit The Daily Show while speaking in Montclair, New Jersey on Friday night.
Stewart, who hosts The Daily Show, made the revelation while being interviewed by fellow satire news show host Stephen Colbert at the Wellmont Theatre fundraiser event, reports Third-Beat.
Colbert and Stewart have discussed their work on the stage together before, but Friday night’s discussion was their first lengthy public one-on-one, despite their 14-year professional relationship.
Despite their long relationship Stewart’s revelation that he almost quit The Daily Show was surprising to both the audience and Colbert. Stewart spoke about when he took over from Craig Kilborn in 1999, revealing:
“What I did not realize is, a lot of people who worked there were a**holes. I had, before taking [the job], some conversations with the powers that be there about the direction I thought we could move the show.”
But when Stewart walked into the room to meet with the writing staff a month before he took over the show, he “got the impression that that had been discussed.” Unfortunately, their reaction was not positive, notes The Huffington Post. Stewart recalled, “the first thing they say is ‘this isn’t some MTV bulls**t” … And then I was told not to change the jokes or improvise.”
Immediately, Jon Stewart wanted to quit The Daily Show. He phoned his agent, James Dixon, and told him to “get me the f**k out of this. These people are insane.” He ended up being talked down from what he called “a moderately high cliff” and it took two and a half years for the “natural winnowing process” to give him the fully supportive staff he now has.
Along with the revelation from Jon Stewart that he almost quit The Daily Show, he and Colbert revealed that their first interaction was marked by the same kind of friendly competition they currently enjoy in their dueling satire news shows on Comedy Central.
Are you surprised to learn that Jon Stewart almost quit The Daily Show?
Check out a clip from Stewart’s The Daily Show below.