Friday night, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert gave a candid talk to a crowd in Montclair, NJ at a fundraiser for the Montclair Film Festival. Sharilyn Johnson of Third Beat reports that Stewart admitted that after taking over “The Daily Show” from previous host Craig Kilborn in 1999, Stewart wanted to bail on the job.
“What I did not realize is, a lot of the people who worked there were assholes,” Stewart said. He ultimately decided to stick around for the job although he said that it took him about two and a half years to get comfortable. But his decision to stay came after much resistance from Kilborn’s previous staff, many of whom Stewart inherited.
One of those staffers was a young actor named Stephen Colbert, whose first interaction with Stewart was marked by the type of friendly competition the two men would see throughout their careers. When Stewart was first hired as the “Daily Show” host, Comedy Central held a press conference to make the announcement, and Colbert, as a mock reporter for “The Daily Show,” covered the event. He deadpanned to Stewart: “Does this announcement have any effect on the prospects of me getting the hosting job?”
At the Montclair event, Colbert fleshed out the relationship that he and Stewart have developed over the years. Kristin Wald of Baristanet, who also covered the event, wrote that Colbert compared his and Stewart’s relationship to that of musicians Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen. Early in his career, Costello tried desperately to emulate Springsteen, but in failing to mimic the New Jersey rocker, Costello developed his own personal style.
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