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Jon Stewart continues ‘Daily Show’ comeback with a major dig at his former employer

Christi Carras – Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Late-night TV host Jon Stewart continued his headline-making streak this week by calling out his former employer, Apple, on his latest episode of “The Daily Show.”

While interviewing the chair of the Federal Trade Commission, Lina Khan, on Monday, Stewart accused Apple of deterring him from inviting Khan onto his podcast while he was working for the Cupertino-based tech and entertainment giant.

Last month, the United States Justice Department and 16 state attorneys general — including California’s — sued Apple for attempting to monopolize the smartphone market.

“I wanted to have you on a podcast,” Stewart told Khan on Monday’s “Daily Show” program. “Apple asked us not to do it. … They literally said, ‘Please don’t talk to her.'”

Stewart was referring to the short-lived podcast “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” an extension of the Apple TV+ series of the same name that lasted two seasons. Shortly after “The Problem” concluded in April 2023, Stewart returned to lead Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” for the first time in nearly a decade.

The comedian hosts the show on Monday nights and is expected to stay through the 2024 election cycle. He is also set to serve as an executive producer on the program through 2025. The rest of the week is moderated by other members of the “Daily Show” news team.

“What is that sensitivity?” Stewart said Monday after calling Apple out. “Why are they so afraid to even have these conversations out in the public sphere?”

Apple did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

It’s no secret that Stewart and Apple clashed creatively during his stint at the streamer. The TV personality told “CBS Mornings” in February that he had initially planned to cover the 2024 election cycle on “The Problem with Jon Stewart” — until Apple “decided that they didn’t want me to say things that might get them in trouble.”

Stewart and Apple also reportedly disagreed over issues related to China, where lots of Apple products are made.

Stewart also dedicated a segment of Monday’s “Daily Show” episode to the perils of artificial intelligence — another subject the host accused the tech overlords at Apple of objecting to. (As hundreds of coders and other IT specialists have been let go by Apple, Google, Meta and others in recent months, anxieties about AI displacing jobshave intensified.)

“They wouldn’t let us do even the dumb thing we just did in the first act on AI,” Stewart said.

Since announcing his “Daily Show” comeback, Stewart has quickly recaptured audiences’ attention with his trademark zeal and wit, L.A. Times news and culture critic Lorraine Ali observed in February. Comedy Central previously reported that “Daily Show” viewership jumped 48% (from 1.65 million to 2.44 million) a week after Stewart’s return.

In recent months, Stewart’s “Daily Show” episodes have spurred a number of headlines, mining Stewart’s takes on various political issues and his criticisms of powerful figures.

Stewart reclaimed the “Daily Show” reins about a year after Trevor Noah hosted his last episode of the Comedy Central series, capping his seven-year tenure.


(L.A. Times staff writers Samantha Masunaga and Don Lee contributed to this report.)


©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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