Stephen Colbert Wrote an Email That’s Become a Playbook For Daily Show Staffers

When it comes to Daily Show field pieces, most everyone can agree that Stephen Colbert was the master.

So when the master creates a ten point list for how to create a successful field piece, you better believe other Daily Show correspondents pay attention.

In fact, according to current TDS staffers Desi Lydic and Troy Iwata, Colbert’s tips have become required reading for all new Daily Show news team members.

In Monday’s episode of The Daily Show: Ears Edition podcast, Lydic described how an email Colbert once wrote to Rob Riggle has been passed down from one generation of Daily Show correspondents to another.

“Rob passed it along to Al Madrigal, and Al passed it along to Jordan [Klepper], who passed it to us,” Lydic explained to Iwata. “And then we passed it to you.”

Iwata revealed that he’d actually received the email from three different people: Lydic, Ronny Chieng and Roy Wood Jr. “See, that tells you something,” replied Lydic.

So what’s in Colbert’s ten-point plan? “They’re really great pointers,” explained Lydic. “Like, know the three things that you really want to get from the [interview] subject, and don’t leave until you get them.”

A word of caution, though, for any future Daily Show correspondents banking on Colbert’s magic email being the ticket to field piece success.

“I like that Colbert was like, ‘It’s just ten simple steps,’ Iwata joked in the podcast. “Yeah,” agreed Lydic, before pointing out that Colbert had the advantage of “being brilliant at everything [he does].”

Colbert joined the cast of The Daily Show in 1997 during the show’s second season. He remained a correspondent on the show until 2005 when he left to host the spin-off series, The Colbert Report.

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