Jon Stewart Reflects on His Ill-Fated ‘90s Show

He’s now a late-night force to be reckoned with, but before his acclaimed sixteen  year run at The Daily Show (and his triumphant return this year), there was The Jon Stewart Show–a mostly forgotten two season late-night talk show that began on MTV before it went into syndication in 1994.

In a new Daily Show behind the scenes clip from a recent audience Q&A, Stewart is asked by what he would have done differently on his first talk show..

“On the MTV program? You watched that show?” Stewart asked with mock surprise.

“My first guest was Howard Stern… He came on and he said, ‘You suck. The set looks ridiculous.  You’ll be cancelled in six weeks.’”

“It was such a different kind of show,” Stewart continued. “The two guests on that first show were Howard Stern [and] a boy that ate cheese into the shape of states — who was referred to in all the production documents as “Cheese Boy.”

Stewart hosted The Jon Stewart Show from 1993-1995. Originally created as a 30-minute program for MTV, The Jon Stewart Show was eventually revamped into a 60-minute syndicated program to fill the void left by Arsenio Hall’s departure. It was cancelled less than a year later.

Stewart touched on the show’s demise. “We had so much fun, but it was such a different ethos. And then I was hired to replace Arsenio, which makes total sense,” he says sarcastically. “So you can imagine how that went.”

Stewart then described  the “chaos” that ensued on air after The Jon Stewart Show’s second iteration was cancelled: a fire set by Marilyn Manson, an actor cutting his hand on a smashed mug, and a condor with a 12-foot wingspan attacking audience members. “It’s good that they took us off the air, because someone was gonna die.”

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Returning to the audience member’s original question about what he’d do differently, Stewart concluded, “I guess I would’ve made sure the condors were leashed.”

The Jon Stewart Show aired its last episode in June 1995.

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