‘This began with people telling me I sucked’: Jon Stewart talks stand-up + Rosewater on Howard

Political satirist, stand-up comedian, director and all-around perfect human Jon Stewart stopped by on the Howard Stern Show Monday to discuss his recent film Rosewater, which recounts the true story of Maziar Bahari’s Iranian imprisonment back in 2009. Though the movie itself is Stewart’s most dramatic undertaking yet, he did not skimp out on the funny tidbits of getting his project from script to screen.

“Ron Howard came by the [Daily Show], and I’d be the d-ck that would go back into the room and be like, ‘Hey Ron! What’s up?!’ [to try to get his insight on the screenplay],” Stewart said.

Stewart also discussed his first go-around on the New York City comic circuit – and his least favorite job to date. (#twentysomethingproblems.)

“This began in Greenwich Village at the Bitter End at one o’clock in the morning with people telling me I sucked,” Stewart said. “I was a day bartender at a Mexican restaurant, which is the worst f-cking job. You don’t make any money. You spend the whole day cutting limes and lemons and margarita mix for the night guy, so that he can come in and clean the f-ck up. … I always felt like this is what my life’s gonna be. Whether it’s going to be pleasant or not, I don’t know, but this is what it’s gonna be.”

Since then, Stewart has poked fun at icons like Steve Jobs and President Barack Obama on the daily (literally). Though Stewart admits he gets nervous interviewing high profile politicians, he hardly holds back in his interviews. However, he finds that this is not usually the case for his interviewees.

“They are on guard … They’re very cautious, and they’re disingenuous,” Stewart said. “We oftentimes will have people who will come on and in their books will make incredibly strident statements, very didactic, like ‘Liberals will skull f-ck your grandmother.’ And then they’ll come on the show, and you’ll be like, ‘So your book, Liberals Will Skull F-ck Your Grandmother, says that liberals will skull f-ck your grandmother.’ … And they’ll be like, ‘NO, I don’t mean it like THAT!'”

While you recover from how seamlessly Stewart slipped the phrase “liberals will skull f-ck your grandmother” into a live interview with the King of All Media, read over Stewart’s response to not being asked to take over Late Night with David Letterman:

“I think they know better,” Stewart joked. “[The Daily Show] is such a perfect fit for me. I was not as well suited for those other roles, which is why people didn’t watch them … This place has been a gift. I’m incredibly fortunate.”

Stewart certainly has a lot to be proud of with his 15-year stint on The Daily Show. But he’s not at all showy about the (18) Emmy Awards the show has received over the years. In fact, he keeps them all tucked away in a box at home.

“Obviously, when we won the first one it was great and put a whole different type of pressure on the show to try and live up to that, but at a certain point, it’s not as though you believe, ‘Yes, we are, objectively, the greatest show this year,'” Stewart said. “It was always, ‘Listen, it’s better to fly out to Los Angeles and be given something than to fly out there and get nothing.’ … Like, what am I? Earl Campbell? Like what, am I gonna sit in my Heisman Room?”

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