You can thank The Daily Show with Jon Stewart for these 10 comedy stars


Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show. "[My contract is] up in September. Might be then. Might be December. Might be July. We're still working out details," he announced last night. Even now, it's hard to imagine Stewart not sitting behind that desk — I somewhat seriously expected his dying breath would happen decades from now during a taping and that Comedy Central executives would broadcast that episode anyway out of respect.

But Stewart’s influence will live on — and not just through The Daily Show itself, which Comedy Central promised last night would "endure for years to come." Even more so than its biting satire and deft media criticism, The Daily Show under Jon Stewart was known for its ability to find, attract, and nurture incredibly talented people. Many of the biggest names in comedy today started at The Daily Show and have spread throughout movies and television.

There are far too many to name, but here's a sampling of some of our favorites over the years:

  1. Stephen Colbert

    Stewart's brother-in-arms, the longtime faux conservative character (and the human who portrayed him) was a correspondent for almost nine years — the second longest tenure in The Daily Show's history, behind only Samantha Bee. In fact, Colbert actually started before Stewart, when Craig Kilborn was The Daily Show's host. Colbert would move on to host The Colbert Report, which ended last year. Colbert's next gig is host of CBS' The Late Show, replacing corporeal institution David Letterman.

  2. Steve Carell

    The longtime correspondent other half of "Even Stevphens" left the same year as Colbert (2005). Carrell focused on winning prestigious awards for his acting, spending more than seven years on NBC's The Office as Michael Scott. He would later star in films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine, and Anchorman. Now, he's got a Best Actor Oscar nomination this year for Foxcatcher.

  3. John Oliver

    When Stewart took an extended break — his first ever — to direct Rosewater, Senior British Correspondent John Oliver took over The Daily Show as guest host for eight weeks. That would lead him to a deal with HBO for his own show, Last Week Tonight, which has been wildly successful. (Sidenote: Oliver’s goodbye segment on The Daily Show will always, always make me tear up.)

  4. Larry Wilmore

    The Senior Black Correspondent, whose non-TDS work includes In Living Color and The Bernie Mac Show, was handpicked by Stewart to take over Colbert's coveted 11:30 slot. The Nightly Show — one part TDS, one part Politically Incorrect — debuted earlier this year to strong reviews.

  5. Kristen Schaal

    This one’s kind of cheating. Schaal had already appeared on Mad Men and Flight of the Conchords before appearing as The Daily Show’s Senior Women’s Issue Correspondent. Since then she’s been an indispensable comedic utility player across some of our very favorite shows. She can be heard now on Bob’s Burgers and will be appearing next with Will Forte in Last Man on Earth. Credit to Stewart’s eye for talent and the lure of TDS to attract rising talent.

  6. Ed Helms

    The guy from The Office and The Hangover movies, sure — but more importantly, Helms reviewed a camera phone in 2004.

  7. Rob Corddry

    Corddry's resume before The Daily Show was fairly minimal at best — he had a few guest bits on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Upright Citizens Brigade TV show, as well as the uncredited "Man at Party" in 1995's The Nanny. Since TDS, however, Corddry has been showing up in as many as half a dozen new movies every year, including a starring role in Hot Tub Time Machine. Corddry also created the Adult Swim show Children's Hospital, which is expected to return for a sixth season this year.

  8. John Hodgman

    Hodgman first appeared on The Daily Show as a guest, promoting his book The Areas of My Expertise. That kicked off his frequent contributor status, and Hodgman’s been playing a never-ending game of "Where’s Waldo" with audiences since. From the Emmys to Battlestar Galactica to a certain long-running Apple ad campaign alongside Justin Long, you can expect Hodgman to show up just about anywhere.

  9. Michael Che

    He was only on a correspondent for a brief 58 days, having been poached from his writing gig at Saturday Night Live. It’s clear Stewart thought his tenure would last longer — Che returned to SNL as cohost of Weekend Update — and gave Che a proper sendoff anyway.

  10. Jessica Williams

    Aside from a guest role on HBO's Girls, Jessica Williams' career has pretty much centered around The Daily Show at which she's still a correspondent. But she's been an exceptionally powerful voice since joining in 2012, and if her appearance on the cover of last December's Wired is any indication, it's a safe bet she'll be one of the next standouts.

  11. Patrick Stewart

    While covering the 2012 NFL labor dispute, John Oliver (briefly) decided to go on strike himself. In his place we have Senior Replacement Correspondent Patrick Stewart in a John Oliver wig. Ok, so maybe we shouldn't give Jon Stewart credit for Patrick Stewart — for example, Star Trek: The Next Generation ended its seven-season run years before The Daily Show even premiered — but since Stewart's about to need to a new job, we figured it'd be nice to help pad his resume.


  • Developer Yuri Victor