Born November 28, 1962, in New York City, Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz is a psychology graduate from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. After taking several jobs after graduation, he moved back to New York in 1986 to try his hand at comedy, having had a reputation for being a funny man in school. It was only a year later when he finally took the stage, at legendary comedy club The Bitter End, where he eventually adopted the stage name Jon Stewart.
He then became a regular at the Comedy Cellar, where he honed his comedic style. He got his first television job in 1989, as a writer for Caroline’s Comedy Hour; two years later, he hosted Comedy Central’s Short Attention Span Theater. In 1993, he hosted MTV’s first talk show, The Jon Stewart Show, which later became the network’s second most popular show, after Beavis and Butt-head. David Letterman, who was a fan of Stewart’s work, later offered him a talk show which would run after Tom Snyder’s The Late Late Show, but he turned it down.
Stewart is most popular, though, for his work on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. He took over hosting duties from Craig Kilborn, who replaced Tom Snyder on The Late Late Show, in 1999. He then transformed the show to what it is known today: a blend of humor about the day’s news, newsmakers, and the news media itself. He has won ten Emmy awards, either as writer or producer for The Daily Show; it also won two Peabody Awards under his watch.
Stewart has also dabbled in acting for film and television. His film debut was for The First Wives Club, although his scenes were deleted during post-production. He also played romantic roles in Playing by Heart and Wishful Thinking, and supporting roles in films like Since You’ve Been Gone. He also had a recurring role on The Larry Sanders Show, playing the occasional substitute host. He has recently made a cameo appearance on Evan Almighty, with The Daily Show alumni Steve Carell.