Jennifer Burns: Top 3 Differences between The Colbert Report and The Daily Show

Roundup: Talking About History

Jennifer Burns is Assistant Professor of History at Stanford University and the author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right. A nationally recognized authority on Rand and conservative thought, she has discussed her work on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Book TV, and has been interviewed on numerous radio programs

How does being a guest on The Colbert Report compare to being a guest on The Daily Show? Here’s a breakdown!...

The Host: The biggest difference, of course, is Jon vs. Stephen, but I had an unexpected reaction. Where most people seem to think Stephen Colbert would be a more difficult interview, I actually found him to be personally warmer and easier to talk to than Jon Stewart. Some of this was because I felt more confident the second time around. But the interview itself was also less serious and more of a performance, whereas on The Daily Show I felt I was being grilled by a formidable intellect. Before The Daily Show interview, the producer told me it would be extemporaneous, and that Jon didn’t have notes. But as I was waiting for my interview with Colbert to start, I was told he was finalizing his jokes. When I was seated on the set, I could see a detailed note card on Stephen’s side of the table. I’m pretty sure we veered off the script, but that level of planning was reassuring. The Colbert producer also did a great job of helping me understand what would create a good interview. Her top piece of advice (which I also heard at The Daily Show): “Don’t be funny!”...

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