"Daily Show" classics: Jon Stewart reveals why he got into comedy in the first place

In 2009, Stewart told Springsteen that his lyrics had inspired him to "go through the tunnel" and follow his dreams

Published August 6, 2015 11:00AM (EDT)

  (Comedy Central)
(Comedy Central)

It feels like just yesterday the fresh-faced stand-up comedian from New Jersey — then described as “sharp” by The New York Times and “overeager” by The Chicago Tribune — was sitting down for his first-ever “Daily Show” interview. He fidgeted with the buttons on his oversized suit like a nervous bar mitzvah boy and, in refreshing contrast to comedy frat-boy predecessor Craig Kilborn, charmed viewers with a particular Woody Allen-ish brand of self-deprecating humor.

Now, after nearly two decades on the satirical-news program, Jon Stewart prepares to sign off one last time.

For the next three weeks, leading up to “The Daily Show” host’s August 6 departure, Salon will be taking a look back at some of Stewart’s most memorable moments spanning his 16 years and five months.

Today, we look back at Bruce Springsteen’s appearance on “The Daily Show” from March 2009: 

With only a few hours remaining before Jon Stewart signs off from the "Daily Show," it feels like an appropriate time to revisit an interview with the man who inspired the host of 16 years to follow his dreams and become a comedian: Bruce Springsteen.

The fellow Jersey dude and American rock icon who is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a "comedian," visited the program back in 2009 and was thanked profusely by Stewart for his songs that apparently propelled the aspiring comic into his line of work.

At the 6-minute mark in the interview, Stewart departed from the back-and-forth small talk to speak on a "truly personal basis."

"People always ask me 'who are your influences?' [...] I can say, 'I do what I do because of Bruce Springsteen,'" Stewart said.

"You introduced me to the concept of the other side," he said. "You introduced me to the concept of, you go through the tunnel and you can work to get away from your circumstance. And by working to get away from your circumstance, you can make something better of yourself. But there's no guarantee."

Stewart gushed some more, telling the visibly shocked Springsteen sitting opposite him how much he admired the honesty in his work.

"The joy of it ... is chasing that dream," Stewart said.

Watch the clip courtesy of Comedy Central below:

By Colin Gorenstein

Colin Gorenstein is Salon's assistant editor of internet and viral content. Follow @colingorenstein or email cgorenstein@salon.com.

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Bruce Springsteen Jon Stewart The Daily Show