The Political Science of The Daily Show

Post Date: 23 May 2011

Listen now:

Season 2, Episode 20

Millions of people know Jon Stewart as the brilliant and hilarious host of Comedy Central’s, The Daily Show. Along with the show’s comedian correspondents, his ironic insight into the political issues of our time has made The Daily Show one of the most-watched news programs on TV. Now meet Jon Stewart, science geek.

Neil talks with Jon about his love for science and technology, the difference between having scientists and politicians as guests on The Daily Show, the importance of scientific literacy, the intersection of science and public policy, and the cosmic connections that unite us all… because even New Jersey is made of star stuff. Charles Liu provides a scientist’s perspective on how the interaction of science and society has affected technological innovation and inquiry from the past to the present, from the Earth to the Moon.

Leighann Lord, Comedian

Jon Stewart, Host of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central
Charles Liu, Professor of astrophysics at CUNY

“The Daily Show Theme”
The Times They Are a Changin’” – Bob Dylan
American Idiot” – Green Day
Imagine” – John Lennon
Waiting for the World To Change” – John Mayer
Won’t Get Fooled Again” – The Who
The Rising” – Bruce Springsteen

  • http://n/a wil ferguson

    Whenever Neil and John get together it reminds me of when Dr. Sagan would go on Johnny Carson. Learning while laughing…

  • CattyChatty

    Please, Dr. Tyson, wish the comedians and comediennes well and bid them adieu. Your science-based and charm-imbued conversations are a breath of fresh clarity to cordial intellectuals everywhere, needing no “comic relief” at all. The relief is knowing that you, and countless true scientists everywhere, are passionately and undauntedly carrying on the invaluable work of unearthing (and then proving beyond doubt) the truths of our world(s) and our existence sans ideological, political, societal, dogmatical influences! Thank You!

    • Mike Posey

      Yes, because science must be dry and methodical or it’s not science. You are aware that part of the reason that Dr. Tyson has become a science rock star is because he brings science to people with a funny bent. He is a fantastic teacher because those listening to him can relate, thus, he can impart complex ideas to laymen in ways they can understand.

      Please keep bringing us knowledge clothed in comedy.

  • peter Lionet faxholm

    make this a tv show pleeeeeeease :-)

  • Jim Reeve

    The scientific method is a series of steps. There is no step that says “stop now a consider the ethics of what you are doing.” Therefor, ethics must be imposed on science from outside.

  • Jim Reeve

    On science literacy I say that the average north American adult has a net negative knowledge of science.
    That is, most of the science they think they know is false. Warning: Saying this will make a person unpopular.

  • Rafael

    What was it that Stewart said about people in the airports? I couldn’t understand it. It’s roughly at 17mins, 30 sec, something lile”And yet, what do you see in the airports? Nothing but […]”?

    • Jeff

      Rafael, Jon says: “And yet, what do you see at airports? Nothing but frustration. Where is this plane?…”

  • Steven Doyle

    I love the interplay between scientists and intelligent comedians. Would love to hear Patton Oswalt on this podcast.

  • Roger Prouse

    Great talk. Love the mix of science and comedy. Please keep them both coming equally.

  • Brendan

    Jim Reeve

    Except you though, of course?

  • Sandi

    Don’t listen to those that say you should leave people like Jon Stewart behind. They draw new listeners, listeners of…higher than average intelligence, that will be back whether Jon is on or not. Apparently some would rather not share you, and that is both foolish and unkind.

  • Jeff

    Love the show, usually listen to it before I go to bed. Can you make sure the music is never louder that the talking? It’s pretty distracting, and while I understand many of your musical references and even laugh at them, the dramatically louder music means I have to adjust my volume multiple times (from my bed) for an optimal experience.

  • clinton Barnett

    Thanks again for yet another enjoyable break from my nursing studies as I’m going to bed.

  • Trev

    I don’t like it… whenever he is on Jon just acts really stupid like he cant even understand the most basic concepts of astronomy and he wont let Neil explain anything in dept at all… and Neil just keeps saying the same things over and over again in the most basic and watered downed terms… I’m really starting to question if he is even a real scientist or just an actor playing an astrophysicist…
    specifically what I mean… is that it really is not that hard to understand the difference between an asteroid and a meteor and why smaller meteors air-burst from friction and larger meteors can ground impact…. also, Jon doesn’t need to pretend that he doesn’t understand how a gravity tractor works and why it is the best option for asteroid deflection vs nuclear bombs… why does Jon have to act like such a retard? seriously its annoying….

  • Trev

    by the way… I’m talking about Neil’s latest appearance on the Daily Show…. about a week ago…

  • Judith

    The technology is there which should have replaced the internal combustion and fossil fuels so Stewart is correct is saying there are companies wanting to keep them from production. I have often wondered why those same companies didn’t have the vision to produce this technology themselves. J.P. Morgan put Tesla out of business when he could provide free energy for everyone forever because he wanted to make money off the energy. This is the mentality our populace forgets reigns, not common sense, much less a vision of a better future. The issue is how do we change this control over us, our lives and our futures. It is the responsibility of each person to be educated and aware of the circumstances controlling their lives, but they speak on rumor, not informed facts, as Dr. Tyson referred to. I love what he said that Science is true whether you believe it or not.

  • Clancy

    In response to Jon’s take on airplanes and technology: If passenger airplane tech would have followed Moore’s Law as other technology has, we wouldn’t have to wait as long as we do.

    Aeronautics is a fantastic industry that lots of money is spent on, but very little of it goes to commercial airliners as the profit lies within war planes and government contracts.

  • KidsMD

    23:00 (NDT): “So, yeah, I don’t want to be the one that runs, I want to be the one who figures out how to tap the volcano.”

  • Threeyees

    Is anybody else irritated about a repeat being in place of Alan Rickman’s interview?

  • Ken

    People will switch to new technology if it’s cheaper. Guarantee me 300 miles per charge for an electric 3/4 Ton 4WD pickup truck for a price comparable to a 5.4 liter V8 & I’ll buy it today.

  • Cole

    Do all astrophysicists have amazing voices?

    • Hannah Barbarian Murphy

      LOL yes.

  • MizzouCogNeuro

    Hey, my field can’t be bought either…granted their is nothing to buy. As a colleague recently said, “We are privileged to work in academia in a field [Cognition & Neuroscience] that is almost perfectly economically useless.”