Apr 5, 2014

Review: Jon Stewart: Beyond the Moments of Zen by Bruce Watson (Kindle Edition)

As a fan of Jon Stewart and his satirical comedy, admittedly, I've been an on again off again viewer of his late-night fake news show on Comedy Central for several years. That said, in the last few years, I've become a regular by recording The Daily Show with Jon Stewart every weeknight that it airs (Monday - Thursday).  When I saw this book featured as a Kindle Monthly Deal recently, I had to have it, even though it isn't an "authorized" biography, meaning Stewart, himself, did not contribute directly to the book. His quotes are taken from other interviews and sources and are clearly noted throughout.

Its obvious that Bruce Watson is a huge fan of Stewart, but he does a good job of trying to be non-biased about the comedian and his work. If you are a die-hard fan and you already are familiar with Stewart and his path to late-night stardom, you probably already know a lot of what's in this book. But for people like me, who really like Stewart and his humor but don't know a lot about his back-story, you may find this book as informative and entertaining as I did.

There are many things I didn't realize about Jon Stewart: How smart he is; how funny he is; and how influential he is. Some people may not appreciate his sarcastic humor, also known as satire, but I love it. I have been accused of being a smart-a** myself so I'm not offended by his sharp, sometimes painful jabs at the ridiculousness of certain people.  The thing that makes Jon Stewart different than other comedians is that he not only makes fun of his targets, he takes it a step further and explains why, in great detail, said target is being made fun of, all the while keeping the laughs going but making absolute perfect sense as he does this. That is the art form of Jon Stewart, in my opinion. You may or may not agree with him, but you're still going to laugh about it, if you allow yourself.

The book reveals how private a person Stewart is when not on air and I was a little surprised by that. He is probably one of the most private celebrity's out there and that is really saying something in this age of social media overload. I was also surprised to find out that even though he is a comic hosting a fake news show, he is extremely influential. He's very passionate and knows what he's talking about and that, I believe, is why he is so good at what he does. Bruce Watson takes the reader through the ups and the downs of The Daily Show and how Stewart's love of politics lead to the growth of the show since he took it over from Craig Kilborn in 1999. He emphasizes that Stewart does his very best to remain non-partisan and calls out 'real' news shows that are so blatantly partisan that they skew the issues for their own benefit while pushing their opinions on its viewers.  

I have to be critical for a moment and say that there were some editorial issues I noticed throughout the book, such as spelling and a few sentences that were jumbled. Though noticeable, it wasn't a huge distraction. On the plus side, its a quick read that highlights many of Stewart's milestones both on and off the show. I read this book in two sittings and I feel like it was time well spent. I now have a broader understanding of this unique satirist, not to mention a whole new respect for his knowledge, passion and commitment to his job.

The bottom line is I really enjoyed this book and learning more about Jon Stewart and how he is perceived by the very people he uses as targets. Watson did a great job of showing that the host of a fake news show on a comedy channel is taken seriously and has earned the respect of people on both sides of the aisle.

JON STEWART: Beyond the Moments of Zen
Author: Bruce Watson
Publisher: New Word City, Inc.
Published: January 2014
Length: 150 pp
Source: Purchased

1 comment:

  1. I like his humor in doses - sometimes it gets to be too much for me. I'm not surprised to see that he's so smart.


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