Before 9/11, the tagline of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was, sarcastically, “the most important television news show…ever!” After the planes hit the towers, and we all went through a strange period of not knowing whether it was okay to be funny or not, they got rid of that tagline. The ironic thing is that after 9/11, when the rest of the news media turned into the “Believe Everything The White House Says About Everything Club,” The Daily Show with Jon Stewart may actually have become, well, the most important television news show…ever.
Point is, according to Machinist, The Daily Show has launched it’s official web archive, where you can watch clips going back to 1999, and you can see the transition first hand from “news show with jokes” to “pointed political satire.”
Here’s one of my favorite moments from the show as of late, where he takes down Chris Matthews and his silly little self-help book. And just for kicks, here’s a clip from Indecision 2000, seven years and a dollop of hair product ago. Note the subtle difference in delivery and execution – in the first clip, the gloves are definitely off, and you can tell that Jon’s angry because this matters. In the second clip, the joke is that the political process doesn’t matter, and the delivery is a lot more laid back.