Monday, May 8, 2017

What I've Heard- The Daily Show (The Book)

I am a huge Jon Stewart fan and I was thrilled when I learned that a book describing the construction of The Daily Show would be published. I quickly put my name on the library reserve list, but when it was my turn to read The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History by Chris Smith, I wasn't thrilled. The book is written as an oral history with each speaker's words preceded by his or her name. This made for a very choppy reading experience. In addition, the book was very large and this choppiness make for slow progress. Normally, I don't listen to audio versions of books I haven't read, but in this case I thought it might be better.

It was better, though not as much as I had hoped it would be. There are transcripts of episodes included within the text that I had hoped would be the actual audio from the show. I'm sure there were all sorts of legal reasons the show clips could not be included, but it would have been so nice to have it.

On the other hand, I learned so much about The Daily Show, Jon Stewart, and about how a show like TDS makes its way through production. The show did not always run smoothly, there were upsets and there were controversies, and the book gives a good sense of the people involved in the creation and running of the show.

I still watch The Daily Show, and I still like it, but I do still always hear the announcer say ..."with Jon Stewart" in the introduction. This is a show that has had a profound effect on the political involvement of so many people. It activated young people in system in which they previously felt unheard. It also changed the way the media approaches politicians and brought so many new voices to the conversation: most visibly Stephen Colbert and Samantha Bee, but also writers and producers that are influential outside of the spotlight.

If you're a fan of Jon Stewart, I highly recommend this book. Read it or listen to it, either way I think you'll learn a lot.

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