No Joke: Jon Stewart’s Rock Band Is Working on an Album

Although he’s back to hosting The Daily Show, Jon Stewart only mans the desk one night a week, and that leaves plenty of time to pursue other interests. One of them, it turns out, is rock drumming.

On Saturday, June 15, Stewart unveiled his new band, Church and State, with a performance at Asbury Park Brewery in New Jersey. The show was part of Asbury Underground, a showcase for local music and art that’s associated with the larger North to Shore Festival.

“You are witnessing the premiere performance,” Stewart told the audience, according to “We have never played in public. I certainly have never played music in public. We are called Church and State and we are delighted to be here and please, lower your expectations.”

In addition to Stewart, Church and State features singer Rick Barry (check out his solo stuff on streaming platforms), guitarist Andy Bova, and bassist Jim Bova. The foursome were also joined by Emily Bornemann and Justin Bornemann of the band Dentist.

“We’d been working on the songs for some time now and preparing to do a pop-up show eventually,” Barry tells LateNighter. “Since that’s kind of the whole vibe of Asbury Underground anyway, we thought it would be the perfect event for us to show up and play somewhere unannounced in a nontraditional venue. The folks at Asbury Park Brewery were extremely accommodating.”

And the show was no one-off. Barry says there’s a recorded project on the way.

“It felt great to get the first gig under our belt,” Barry says. “Now it’s back to the studio at Simple Sound Studios… where we are writing and tracking our debut record, so hopefully everyone keeps an eye out for that.”

In a 2020 interview with Howard Stern, Stewart explained that he’d taken up the drums after leaving The Daily Show in 2015. The famously self-deprecating comic knew he needed to keep himself busy, lest he start feeling like he had “failed everyone.”

“I wanted to interact with music, but I’m not musical,” Stewart told Stern. “I don’t know how to play an instrument. It looked like if you wanted to learn guitar, until you were able to interact with real music, it was going to be a long slog … But I know definitely how to bang on sh*t.”

Note: This story has been updated to include quotes from Rick Barry.

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