Jon Stewart: Meeting With Obama Wasn’t a Secret

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

10 of Jon Stewart’s Highlights From ‘The Daily Show’.

NEW YORK (AP) — After more than 16 years and nearly 2,600 telecasts, Jon Stewart can feel proud of his scads of Emmys and his pair of Peabody Awards, his cultural gravitas (he hung with the Prez, both on and off the air!), even his reprobate status at Fox News. “I took this guy to Comedy Cellar tonight and he couldn’t resist the mic,” said former ‘Daily Show’ executive producer Rory Albanese. “The Cellar is where it all began for Jon.NEW YORK — When he leaves Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” on Aug. 6 after hosting nearly 2,600 episodes, Jon Stewart will have logged too many great moments to count.

If you were wondering about those secret White House meetings Jon Stewart had with President Barack Obama, the comedian hates to break it to you, but they weren’t that exciting—or that secret.Jon Stewart has made hit back at media speculation over his two ‘secret’ visits to the White House, joking President Obama told him he was an ‘a**hole’ on the trips.

Being interviewed by Larry Wilmore on The Nightly Show, Stewart finally copped to what he and the President did at those meetings in 2011 and 2014. “Hang out,” he said. “Eat nachos, watch King Ralph.” (King Ralph is a move from the 1990s where John Goodman becomes the King of England.) Wilmore asked Stewart if he thinks the President was trying t0 influence his show or his jokes by calling the meetings, to which Stewart replied, “No, I think that was what he was trying to do, because I have a television show and sometimes we say super sh*tty things about him and his policies, so I’m pretty sure I was there because he’s run out of people to watch King Ralph with.” This was an awesome moment.” The exiting Comedy Central late-night host made a rare onstage appearance at the famed Comedy Cellar in New York City on Wednesday night, according to Mediaite. Stewart called out the story for containing a couple of inaccuracies, including the claim that these meetings were held in secret when, in fact, they were documented in the White House’s visitors log. By June, when Donald Trump jumped into the presidential race, a giddy Stewart framed this jest-alluring candidacy as Trump’s going-away gift to him, “putting me in some sort of comedy hospice where all I’m getting is straight morphine.” When he took over “The Daily Show” in January 1999, Stewart’s simple mission was to host a program that would lampoon “real” newscasts and newsmakers they enabled. “I like keeping up with the news,” he told The Associated Press at the time, “even though I think it’s gotten so out of control. As for the what the pair discussed, Fox News speculated that a crack about a shirtless Vladimir Putin, made not long after Obama warned Russian about further military intervention in Ukraine, was proof the president and host were in cahoots.

When asked whether Trump might show up on another episode in the final week, Flanz said emphatically, “I can tell you that Donald Trump is not coming on the show. On Wednesday’s edition of the show, he told viewers the media portrayal of the meetings as clandestine ‘basically sounds so much more awesome than what happened’. But that’s what I like about ‘The Daily Show’: It’s like checks and balances.” Always questioning authority — whether politicians, corporate titans, media barons or, of course, puffed-up journalists — Stewart did what satirists have done for centuries: He seized on the absurdity embedded in accepted truth. In actuality, the meeting went more like this, according to Stewart: Obama scolded him for turning young Americans cynical, Stewart explained he was actually “skeptically idealistic,” then they argued about fixing the VA and I confidentially feel like it’s okay for us to say that.” Trump aside, Flanz and Greenberg also had a lot to say about the emotions on the set, their plans to celebrate Stewart’s final sign-off, and some advice that they gave incoming host Trevor Noah.

The only difference was that food was involved. “I have been summoned by a surprisingly wide variety of individuals over the years, from tech giants to financial captains to Billy Joel,” Stewart said. “The general thrust of all those meetings or phone conversations are the same. What it’s become, I don’t know.” (October 2004) Stewart appeared as a guest on CNN’s quarrelsome “Crossfire,” where he startled its hosts by criticizing them for their “partisan hackery” and “doing theater when you should be doing debate.” He implored them to “stop hurting America,” and when Tucker Carlson, the show’s conservative host, invited him to drop the serious act and be funny, Stewart shot back, “No, I’m not going to be your monkey!” (March 2006) Stewart hosted the Oscars twice — in 2008 and two years before, when in his monologue he noted that two of the nominated films, “Good Night and Good Luck” and “Capote,” were about “determined journalists defying obstacles in a relentless pursuit of the truth. Needless to say,” he added pointedly, “both are period pieces.” (March 2009) Stewart took on CNBC, unreeling video of the financial news network’s personalities making howlingly wrong forecasts for market behavior.

Stewart cracked he was summoned to Ailes’ office by a raven, and illustrated their chat with a clip from Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal in which a character confronts the Grim Reaper. “Was the President of the United States trying to influence or intimidate or flatter me?” Stewart asked. “My guess is, uhh-huh. In 2010, he and fellow Comedy Central fake-news host Stephen Colbert even organized a rollicking “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” that drew tens of thousands to Washington’s National Mall. Americans, said Stewart in one of the telecast’s more serious moments, do “impossible things every day that are only made possible through the little, reasonable compromises we all make.” But reasonable compromises are what elected officials are loath to make in the present day; what news media dismiss in favor of spotlighting the more watchable bad behavior and conflict. “Wouldn’t it be nice if people who jumped to conclusions and peddled a false, divisive, anger-stoking narrative had to apologize for misleading America?” mused Stewart last March in reference to a certain cable-news network. On one show in July, he recalled Trump having said he “assumes” that not everyone illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico is a rapist. “By the law of averages,” Stewart explained, deadpan, a few of those immigrants are “unable to rape for medical reasons,” or maybe are “all raped out.” From 2005 to 2011, he starred in the NBC comedy “The Office,” then left to continue a thriving film career, including his Oscar-nominated performance in the 2014 drama “The Foxcatcher.” — Ed Helms (2002-2006).

And, after all, how much crazy can one man comb through night after night, searching for laughs, and retain his own sanity? “I honestly have nothing, other than sadness,” he said before sadly predicting that, even now, after yet another American atrocity, “we still won’t do jack—-” to join together for a solution. In fact, in my entire tenure here of being yelled at by some very influential and powerful people — and Billy Joel — only with one of those people has a phone call ever ended with, quote, ‘This conversation never happened. If that’s the case, his fans can thank Stewart for his abiding and soon-to-be-missed role in bringing us the crazy with insight, clarity and, of course, loads of laughs.

And if you say it did, I’ll deny it.'” 2015 may not bring everything that Back to the Future II promised it would: flying cars, self-lacing shoes, we don’t see ’em happening over the next 12 months. (Then again, don’t bet against Nike.) But this year will definitely pack plenty of punch when it comes to cultural happenings. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again.

FLANZ: I would say if there are people you think you want to see say goodbye to Jon, they might be coming… We don’t want to give anything away, but it’ll be exciting! Along with comic TV appearances, he has been a regular on the dramas “The Bedford Diaries” and “Jericho,” as well as on the current HBO comedy “The Brink.” FILE – In this April 27, 2015 file photo, Aasif Mandvi arrives at the LA Premiere of “The D Train” in Los Angeles. GREENBERG: We still do have a show to put on everyday, so we’re burying ourselves in our work and try not to be sad about this place that love with Jon ending. GREENBERG: One thing about Jon that’s always impressed me more than anything – and I’ve thought this long before I thought anyone would ask me to comment on Jon in light of his leaving – is not just that he’s funny or smart or all those things that you always say when you’re asked “What’s Jon like?” at a cocktail party. The effort that he puts in to making this a good place to work day in and day out, I think that’s where a lot of his genius lies – and certainly a lot of his effort.

After 15, 16 years, how are you still putting that amount of effort into not only making the show good but also making people feel good and making everybody work together well. I was like, all we need to make sure we keep… well, no matter what happens with how we cover the news and stuff like that, the vibe of the office and the way that we all work together is the thing that we need to keep above all else.

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