Last week on a thread about celebrity encounters I posted about working at The Daily Show and making Jon laugh, link Someone asked me to do an AMA, so here I am.

If you don't want to read the OP, here's the short version. I was an intern in the spring of 2003, back when Colbert, Carell, Helms, and Corddry were there. Sam Bee was just getting hired as my internship was ending.

Because of my time there, and my interactions with, and at the insistence of, my co-workers, and because I made Jon and the audience laugh(that story's in the OP), I decided to become a stand up comic. If there is interest I'll post some of my stuff, but I figured you guys would be more interested in talking about the show.

Don't know if this is significant enough proof, but on my first day there I was asked to be in a story called Puck Buddies I'm Wayne Gretzky.

EDIT : Proof of that this is me.

EDIT 2: As requested here is a demo tape of me from a few years back. I'm working on a newer one now, but, as any stand up knows, it's really hard to get a good demo tape off a set. I also helped write and started in a web series called Blood Light

EDIT 3: This is cliché but, holy shit, front page! Guys, seriously, thank you so much. The only thing I have planned today is seeing Avengers at midnight so you've got me for the rest of the day :)

EDIT 4: A lot of people are asking how I got the internship, so I figured i post the answer here. I went to The Daily Show's website and found the address and when they were accepting applications. I wrote a cover letter and resume and sent it to them. It's as easy as that. All shows have interns, if you're interested in an internship with TDS, or any show, you should be able to find out the address and submission dates on their website.

FINAL EDIT: Seems like things are winding down, so I just wanted to say thanks again, the past almost 7 hours have been great. I hope I answered most of your questions throughly enough, and that you learned something, and, hopefully, laughed. This whole experience means a lot to me gang, and I hope someday that I'll be able to preform for all of you and you can go, 'Oh hey, I remember that guy from Reddit.' Thanks again guys!

Comments: 1345 • Responses: 38  • Date: 

m1garand30064337 karma

What was Jon Stewart like off camera?

DarnJester99786 karma

He's the same as he is on camera. Just the nicest guy. The first day there, when they were showing the interns around, Jon popped out of his office. We all froze, cause it was Jon Freaking Stewart standing in front of us, and he just goes 'Hey guys, thanks for working for us for free.' Then he went about his business.

In fact, the day after the story that I was in aired I was working reception, and Jon comes in, sees me there stops by and said 'Hey DarnJester, good job last night.'

doctorhuh673 karma

Explains why you chose the user name you did. I'd cherish a nickname from Jon Stewart above all.

DarnJester99248 karma

HA! Nice.

sawzall298 karma

How much writing does Jon and the other on-air hosts do?

DarnJester99375 karma

A lot actually. He's in on the meetings, and obviously during the run through.

Sir_Knight_of_Lights20 karma

I've never understood it when people joke on people like Jon, Colbert and Conan about how they'd be nothing without their writers. It's completely uncalled for. Yes, the writers are important. But the hosts aren't mindless loudspeakers. They're intelligent. They have to be.

DarnJester9930 karma

I think what the guys went through during the writers strike, legal or not(however they did it), proved that they could handle it on their own if they needed to.

Jolu-281 karma

Could you describe the writing process? like when does it take place and how? Who selects the topics and how much influence does Jon have on it?

I hope my questions make sense since i really don't know how stuff like that works...

DarnJester99620 karma

This is actually pretty cool, and one of the first things I learned when I got there. I'll try not to make it too long.

The first thing that happens in the morning is there is a huge meeting with everyone, and I mean everyone. The EP (executive producer) goes over what will be happening today, what stories they will be covering. So then everyone gets their marching orders and go about there business. Writers to start writing, PA to start gathering necessary clips or props, and interns get the food and fill in the holes.

The writers got a few hours, say if the meeting was at 10am, they got about until 2ish to get scripts and jokes to the head writer. Then they start putting the pieces together. Which jokes make it in, which don't. Then they have to match stuff up with video footage. Then Jon takes a look at it. It's about 4:30 now.

Around 5ish they have a full run through of the show. Just Jon at the desk and any correspondents that are needed, and the writers, who are sitting in the audience seats. It takes about 25 minutes to go through stuff.

Then Jon and the EP and a few writers put there heads together to see what worked and what didn't. And make any final revisions to the script.

Meanwhile the audience is being loaded in to the studio. The script is being loaded in to the prompter, Jon gets last minute hair and makeup. The warm up guy goes out to entertain the crowd for a few minutes. And then it's show time.

Niallriver212 karma

How exactly did you become an Intern, what was the process like?

DarnJester99702 karma

It was actually really easy. I found out they had interns from their website, submitted a cover letter telling them about all the work I'd done in college, I worked at the student run TV station and had a show called 'The Weekly Show' (get it?), and how much it would mean to work at the show that inspired me. They called me up to NYC for an interview and it consisted of one question 'Do you want to be an intern here?' To which I emphatically said yes. And then the hired me. It was pretty simple.

Turns out, and I found out about this just as my internship was ending, that they floated my cover letter around the office. There was a contest to see if I was a stalker or not. Apparently my cover letter came off, to some, as a little intense and I-want-to-wear-jon's-skin-as-a-coat-ish.

PoetryTycoon187 karma

What does John Stewart do during commercial breaks? I've always wondered about that...

DarnJester99423 karma

Oh, well actually when they cut to commercial they actually cut to commercial. Meaning that the DJ, yeah there's a DJ, puts on music and plays it real loud, and they go for how ever long the commercial break is.

While that is happening, a script guy will come up and hand Jon the next segment's script. A producer will come up and talk to Jon about something, they're always tinkering with stuff. Then the stage manager will call 10 seconds, everyone walks off stage and here we go in 5, 4, 3,.... (They never say 2 or 1)

anexanhume184 karma

Link to your standup please. Also, come on over to if you aren't there already.

DarnJester99177 karma

Was not aware of r/standup. I'll be there shortly.

DocShadeball420176 karma

Did you meet any of the "correspondents" or guests, and if so...were any of them a jerk?

DarnJester99325 karma

I met all the correspondents, at the time. And they were all great. Ed Helms even pulled me aside a few times to give me pointers on stand up. He was super nice. I don't remember any guest being jerks, or if they were I wasn't around them when it was happening. I did meet Joshua Jackson and Sir Patrick Stewart, Josh is tall, like 6'2" and Sir Patrick, well he wasn't a Sir at the time, I think, but it was just awesome to be around him.

Cash5YR124 karma

Is Jon Stewart really as short as he seems on camera? I always feel like it is Frodo talking with Gandolf whenever he is interviewing someone over 6 feet tall.

DarnJester99147 karma

He's not Seacrest short, but he's short. But you really don't notice it when you're around him.

FKRMunkiBoi117 karma

Did you ever get used to the daily beatings?

DarnJester99263 karma

Yes. I used to say 'Thank you sir, may I have another!'

stil1084 karma

When they do the segments where they go out and interview people, are those people always real, or are they sometimes actors? Do the real people know what's going on and are playing along, or do they actually think it's a real news show? If the former, why do people agree to be on the show when they know they'll be ridiculed?

DarnJester99126 karma

Real. I know. Back when I was there I couldn't believe it either. But people still haven't seen the show, or understand what's going on. So for the most part it's real. Though most politicians have gotten wise to it. But at the same time I think the correspondents have also gotten better at being subtler with the questions.

[deleted]82 karma

How long did you intern?
What was the educational objective of interning at The Daily Show?

DarnJester99145 karma

I was an intern for 5 months. Jan to May. It was the best 5 months of my life.

As for education...well I learned what it was like to create a comedy show daily. There are dozens of people working there butts off every day to make the show. Someone is always working on the next thing. Editors are always editing for tomorrow's show. There's a bunch of stuff that's required that you wouldn't necessarily think they'd need. I learned a whole bunch, and I loved every minute of it.

supersharma72 karma

Were you involved in the writing?

DarnJester99138 karma

I wish. The only thing I got to do by the end was help in pitch meetings and the some of the producers asked for my help on research for there pitches. But honestly, I wasn't that good of a comedy writer back then. Now though....

chops8870 karma

How many people do they have working there who's sole job is just to watch the news channels? Also, The Daily Show seems so good at pulling up random news clips from years ago, how do they keep track of everything? I've always guessed they have some an enormous database.

DarnJester99153 karma

You're right, they have a giant database. When I was there the video library was a bunch of book shelves, maybe 8 or so. And they have a system that logs what's on every tape. So, lets say that we need to pull up a sound bit of Romney flip flopping, you go to the computer type in Romney healthcare and a list of videos with clips of Romney talking about healthcare pop up. Then they just pull the tapes, find the clips and edit away.

I've been to the new building a few times, the tape library is now enormous!

takevasiveaction64 karma

What was your best experience working at The Daily Show?

DarnJester99159 karma

Making Jon laugh. Check out the link in the OP, for my OP. By far one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.

In fact, I hope that I do 'make it' in my career, just so one day I can be interviewed by Jon and tell him the story. Jon is like my Carson. Carson was responsible for a lot of comics first big breaks, and they owe Carson for their careers and they've been able to tell him so. I'd like to be able to tell Jon the same.

vswizzle51 karma

How many takes does Jon or any of the correspondents need on average? Do you have any stories of goofs that made it on air? Thanks!

DarnJester99136 karma

One. Seriously, these guys are good. And honestly, I wish I did have a story of them messing up, but even if they do, they cover it well. You've seen the show, they laugh at themselves sometimes when they slip up but they keep on going. I like it better than way, it humanizes the comedy.

Limin8tor48 karma

Who's funnier off-camera -- Stewart or Colbert?

DarnJester99169 karma

Hard question. Stewart is a stand up at heart while Colbert is sketch and improv. So two different disciplines at work.

That's my way of being a pansy and not picking a side :)

trauma_queen48 karma

How does Jon Stewart take his coffee?

DarnJester9956 karma

Honestly, I have no idea. In my five months there I never once got anyone coffee. I bought the supplies to make coffee, but actually made it.

Tard__Muffin44 karma

when it goes to the correspondents, they're in front of green screens right?

DarnJester9988 karma

Yup. They are literally 10 feet away from Jon.

HighViscosity43 karma

Why have you failed at getting Jon to run for President?

DarnJester9944 karma

I'm so sorry that I worked there in a non election year :(

FirstLongTimeTime41 karma

How do we know your not really Wayne Gretzky?

DarnJester99131 karma

If I were the real Gretzky I wouldn't let my daughter post pics like she's been doing of late.

Speaking of which, have you seen Gretzky's daughter...damn!

metal_falsetto34 karma

Jon Stewart is great, no doubt, but I think the real heroes of that show are the folks who dig through all the media archives to find video from a few months/years prior in which the jackass du jour contradicts something s/he said recently. Can you give us a little insight on who these Daily Show employees are and how they keep ALL THAT MEDIA archived and catalogued, in order to pull it up within a day or so of current events?

DarnJester9946 karma

You're right, it does take a team to get the show on the air every day. I answered part of this question somewhere on here, but to go into it a little more: the library is huge, so they have a few PA's, probably, maybe a intern or two, helping catalogue new video and updating the database. And digging through said database when needed.

After they find it, it's up to the editors and the segment producers to put it all together. It's a big undertaking and one that doesn't usually get done until very close to show time.

CNN732 karma

Guys, there's a ton of questions asking what Jon and Colbert were like off camera. OP has answered that(possibly multiple times). Thanks for doing the AMA, OP. Jon Stewart is awesome.

DarnJester9935 karma

Thank you for thanking me. I appreciate it.

skyreddit830 karma

Does Jon delegate the reading of all those books? Because there's no other show on all of television that does book reviews, and reading all those damn books must be a task for 10 people.

DarnJester9953 karma

I think so. They also had a lot of book give aways. At one point they had one hall just lined with books and a sign begging people to take them.

kamins8930 karma

Who is the coolest or rather friendliest correspondent that works there? Where you able to have extended conversations with Stewart or maybe Colbert? How are they in person?

Also, what did you actually have to do when you worked there?

Finally, the obvious question, did you get paid? :D

DarnJester9957 karma

Helms. He wasn't as busy as the other guys, cause he was still newish to the show. We'd talk about stand up, and how he got started. He's really awesome.

theshinepolicy30 karma

Sometimes Stewart seems to use his comedy to cover up a deep anger about the world we live in and political squabbling, did he ever off camera just get really angry at politics?

DarnJester9941 karma

Not that I ever saw. But I was there during the run up to Iraq, so the frustration was only really starting then.

senor_queso24 karma

Who was your favourite former co-worker?

DarnJester9949 karma

Most of them are still there, but, honestly, if I had to pick one, it was/is Rory Albanese. He was a segment producer (he's now the EP) when I was working there, but he was the one that really pushed me to do stand up. He went so far as to tell me 'If you don't get on stage in the next two weeks, we're no longer talking to you.' And so I did, and ten years later I'm still doing it.

But everyone there was great.

opiate4623 karma

Since you were there with some of the greats (Colbert, Helms, Carrell) which one did you think was the best?

Also, any funny stories about these guys? I always imagined hilarity ensues wherever these guys go.

DarnJester9976 karma

Thats like picking your favorite child. They were all great in there own way. Helms was closer in age to me so we got along great. Colbert was a rock star, just the nicest guy you could ever meet. And Carell, well Carell, and this is the about the time he was leaving, he was being pulled between both coasts, so I didn't see him as much as the others. But he is the nicest, humblest guy. But when he's on, god lord don't make eye contact because your face will melt, he's that funny. He doesn't have to say anything and you're already cracking up.

They were/are all awesome. And yes when they get together it is hilarity.

terwilliger23 karma

Can you use your inside connections to get them to fix the direction of the earth's rotation in the opening?

DarnJester9941 karma

If the great Neil DeGrasse Tyson can't do it, after repeatedly tell Jon, on air mind you, then I doubt an old intern from long ago has much pull. But if I could make it happen, I would.

humankirk22 karma

I read in a Colbert biography that interns at the Daily Show were responsible for supplying the writers with Lucky Charms every day. What were your daily tasks like?

I hope to intern with Jon or Stephen next summer. I applied too late this time =/

DarnJester9945 karma

You are correct. Everyday I was there I had to make a run to the store to resupply the kitchen. There was a list of all the stuff that was needed, and Lucky Charms was the number one cereal on the list. Which was good because I ate a lot of it too :)

ServerGeek22 karma

Did they give you any cool Daily Show schwag.. or books/videos/etc that guests gave to them?

DarnJester9946 karma

I have a picture of me sitting behind the old desk. It's on my parents fridge and there isn't a digital copy or I would post it.

Speaking of, I need my parents to make a digital copy of that photo.

clippyclippyclopclop18 karma

How long was your average work day? Was it a standard 40 hours or did they get as many free hours out of you as they could?

Also, what was an average work day?

DarnJester9933 karma

I was there 3 days a week. I had to get there about 9am and I left after the show was done taping, which could be anywhere from 6:30-8. But usually I stayed later working on stuff. Like I mentioned before, I loved that place and the people there so it was never really 'work' to me.

bmxkeeler18 karma

Did any of the guests get upset after an interview or just act like a prick all around?

DarnJester9930 karma

Not that I saw. Everyone seemed to have a great time.

griesuschrist15 karma

How many hours/week would you say Stewert works?

DarnJester9922 karma

He's there everyday working on the show and other things that I wasn't privy too. But he's a hands on guy, he's right in the thick of things. He has a lot of demands on his time but I never heard him complain about it.

j3k16b9414 karma

Sorry if it's already been asked, but where did you go to college?

DarnJester9939 karma

I went to Virginia Tech. Go Hokies!

junitrecords14 karma

yeahhhhh! I go to Tech, we have exams right now. Party in the empo right now, shots of knowledge.

DarnJester9913 karma

Blah, I know what that's like. But good luck. I'm trying to get down there to preform for my fellow Hokies sometime this year.

scrotumnalequinox14 karma

How were you qualified for the position or what were you told was your defining quality that made you the obvious choice?

DarnJester9934 karma

Well an intern is really just a person who does the crap jobs; answering phones, making calls, getting food, transcribing video (that was the worst). I think it was really a desire to work there. There were other interns that were there that, for them, from my perspective, it was just an internship. For me though, it was the chance of a lifetime. I think that's what they saw in me. Or, at least, that's the story I tell myself.