Millions of people watch The Daily Show…..daily. And you might think that Jon Stewart was the show’s creator, but he’s not. Hearken back to 1996, when The Daily Show was hosted by Craig Kilborn and you might recall that Jon Stewart wasn’t the original host. But who created the concept for this politics-changing show on Comedy Central? If you watch closely during the show’s credits, you’ll find that two women conceived and launched The Daily Show in July 1996 – Lizz Winstead and Madeline Smithburg.
These two women didn’t just create the show, and walk away. In fact, they were instrumental in the Jon Stewart change. Evidently, here’s what happened with the Craig Kilborn transition (according to Wikipedia, of course, which my college professors would smack me for citing, but hey…):
There were reports of backstage friction between Kilborn and some of the female staff, particularly the show’s co-creator Lizz Winstead. Winstead had not been involved in the hiring of Kilborn, and disagreed with him over what direction the show should take. “I spent eight months developing and staffing a show and seeking a tone with producers and writers. Somebody else put him in place. There were bound to be problems. I viewed the show as content-driven; he viewed it as host-driven,” she said. In a 1997 Esquire magazine interview, Kilborn made a sexually explicit joke about Winstead. Comedy Central responded by suspending Kilborn without pay for one week, and Winstead quit soon after.
Ms. Magazine recently published an article about one of the creators, Lizz Winstead – “Lizz Winstead Takes Brainy Satire Beyond The Daily Show” – the beyond they’re talking about is Lizz’s new book, “Lizz Free or Die.” Lizz calls her book,
The adventures of how I evolved from a girl who just wanted to explore her dreams to a woman who came to understand that my dream was finding a way to use humor to speak truth to power—and ultimately realized that humor is a most useful tool to help put even the most painful moments of life into perspective.
Lizz proves the old adage that behind every man is a great woman – two women, in fact. Read more about Lizz in the Ms. article linked above and definitely pick up her book to support this “woman behind Jon Stewart.”