After an eight year stint as head writer and executive producer of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart", Emmy award winner Ben Karlin has amassed an impressive collection of behind-the-scenes stories. He made national news last December when he left "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report", which he helped create, at the peak of their popularity. He has kept a low profile since then, but luckily, cameras were on hand when Karlin made a rare public appearance at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City. Karlin sat down with "Inside Joke" host Carl Arnheiter for a frank discussion about his "Daily Show" experiences.
In the clip below, Karlin reflects on the worst part of his "Daily Show" experiences — interacting with actual journalists. He blasts the on-camera media types who praised the work of "The Daily Show" while still regurgitating mindless news, calling their choices "a prison of their own construction". Karlin also dismisses the assertion that some viewers only get their news from "The Daily Show", saying viewers would be very confused if they tuned in with no background of the show's topics. Instead, Karlin insists that "The Daily Show" "lives as a reaction to something", and shouldn't be used as a primary news source.
In the following clip Karlin offers his perspective from behind the scenes of Jon Stewart's infamous CNN "Crossfire" appearance. Later in the show, Karlin was asked if he looked back at the debacle days later and enjoyed the outcome. "No! No! No! We weren't trying to make any kind of statement or anything. It was just to try to do something a little differently, rather than go on a show and play this game that people always play. Like you have this set of rules where you're like, 'Oh Tucker, you're incorrigible'... We thought it was to have an honest conversation... It was kind of a cute idea that just didn't go down well."
In case you haven't seen it, here is Jon Stewart's legendary "CNN Crossfire" appearance that many claim is the reason CNN dropped the show from its lineup: