Friday, September 15, 2017

The Daily Show - Chris Smith

The Daily Show
Title: The Daily Show: An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests
Author: Chris Smith
Publication Date: 11/22/16
Pages: 461
Genre: Political / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I'm a fan of the show.
Date Completed: 8/14/17

Summary: Told through the words of the people who were there, this book goes through nearly two decades of history of The Daily Show and how it changed our news consumption.

What I Thought: Let me start from a place of transparency: I really like The Daily Show. It's not as good now as when Stewart was at its helm, but I still am a loyal viewer. I like to watch the episode from the previous night in the mornings while I get ready for the day. I especially appreciate that the show brings in such a diverse range of guests and exposes to me to books, movies, and personalities that I may never know about otherwise. 

And, of course, it makes me laugh. 

I didn't start watching the show regularly until some time after college. So, going back to its genesis and reading through the whole history of the show was fascinating for me. I really loved the format of having all sorts of people involved in the show share the story in their own words. Smith really acts more as a guide to the reader than an author. He fills it details here and there and keep the reader in tune with what was happening in the bigger picture of show and country and world at any particular moment in the history. 

There were a lot of times that I went hunting for a particular clip of the show while reading, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. I really would have loved if there was a website with the clips mentioned. Some of the ones I was most interested in seeing were nowhere to be found on YouTube. Reading about the Steve Carrell and Stephen Colbert era was particularly entertaining and I did go searching for a lot of their clips. 

The book also is reflective about the role the show has played in the media and political landscape. It even got a few high profile interviews to include. I have to say, of all of those, I really came away from this book with a strengthened respect for John McCain. Granted, I read this concurrent to the health care drama in late summer, but still. 

It was just an all around very interesting read, particularly for someone who is interested in both politics and how it is covered. And, man, will it make you miss Jon Stewart's sensible voice. 

Quote I Loved: "If your world does not include enough access to different people, and their world does not include enough access to you, you are speaking from ignorance." -Jon Stewart

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Probably not
If You Liked This, Try: The News Sorority / My Holiday in North Korea

A Reduced Review: A thorough, fascinating look back at two decades of The Daily Show history. 

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