Behind The Scenes At The Daily Show
Fans showed up outside Imaginon as early as 8 o’clock Wednesday morning to get a front row seat at that evening’s taping. The people we caught up with in line later in the day could very quickly articulate why they love The Daily Show. And why they love Jon Stewart.
“I started watching it when American politics got so ridiculous that we had material for three or four different comedy shows. It helps you laugh about the terrible situation that we're in.”
“Well because there's so much bad news. Jon has a way of putting the right focus on what's this all about.”
“He speaks truth to power and he cuts everybody down equally, but in a way that makes us laugh and cry. He perfectly articulates our generation - our multi-generation's feelings about life and government.”
And that love becomes a rumbling, buzzing excitement once they are in their seats for the taping of the show. It delivers everything you might expect: Loud music, high energy, belly laughs.
“Welcome to the Daily Show. My name is Jon Stewart. We are in Charlotte, North Carolina. Very excited to be here. Charlotte, North Carolina, the Queen City, so named…for the band that toured here in 1982.”
But for all of the over-the-top camera swoops across the stage, the rapier sharp witty one-liners and biting sarcasm that we as the audience see, there’s a very quiet, bookish, understated producer behind the scenes.
Steve Bodow has a thin angular face, and he’s got curly hair and thick-rimmed glasses. He’s just got that look of a writer. You know? That’s how he got on the show 10 years ago. Writing. Then he worked his way up to being head writer. And now, he’s co-executive producer which means…
“Figuring out what stories to do and shaping them,” he says. “Rewriting them a lot. Sharpening them. And another part of the producer job is making the execution of those scripts happen in the best way that it can.”
At the end of a segment, when the show breaks for commercial, the lights dim and the correspondents scurry off the stage. And there’s a lone, low light on Jon Stewart at his desk. It’s then that Bodow and the executive producer amble calmly out to the host.
“If everything went perfectly smoothly, and we’re not having any timing problems, then we’re just kinda shooting the breeze and talking about how that went well and gossiping about the audience,” he says. “And talking about what we had for dinner.”
TL: “I have to ask. What does that constitute? Gossiping about the audience. What does that actually mean?”
SB: “Talking about here in Charlotte how handsome and well-educated and really on the ball they are. Pretty much is all of it.”
TL: “That’s very complimentary of you, Steve. Thank you.”
SB: “Aw, it’s just honest.”
Bodow is understated. But he’s also funny.