Thursday, August 6, 2015


The Flaming Nose is happy to welcome guest blogger Elaine with a terrific article on the end of the Jon Stewart era at The Daily Show:

Like most of his fans, I'm not happy about Jon Stewart leaving The Daily Show. But since he’s decided not to grant any interviews before the end of the show, most of what I've been reading about his departure has been coming from his now former colleagues. They’ve said the obvious things about him being smart, funny, and working his ass off. But what I'm also observing is his former employees’ admiration of him and his ability to create a high performing team in a continuously healthy work environment.

This formula isn’t new, but having worked in broadcasting AND corporate America myself, I can tell you that this formula isn’t as simple to pull off as it looks. It takes effort and the right person to pull it off.

Here's what some of his correspondents have said to Entertainment Weekly recently about what it was like to work with him:

"The show won a lot of Emmys, but the correspondents at that time weren’t credited as writers. So we never got an Emmy, which is fine—we understood the deal. But he called Sam Bee, Ed Helms, and me into his office one day, and on his desk were three Emmy statues. And he said, “You guys can each take one thing off my desk.” It was such a nice gesture."

"I always felt like he farmed out the funny. You know, if there was a chance for me to be funny, he was like, “Great, you say that.” He just allowed people to flourish...I got the impression he wanted me to succeed, and then I wanted to succeed for him. That’s good leadership."


So it wasn't just Stewart's timing, delivery, writing, and intelligence that made The Daily Show so controversial, successful, envied, and great. He was an exceptional leader. Not only did he find the right talent, he helped guide them to be the best they could be. He made people feel valued so their hard work wasn’t in vain. Those are the keys to building any happy team. And a happy team is a successful team.

What a concept.

Elaine (aka VirgoBlue) is a former television and radio producer turned Silicon Valley communications pro. You can find her at and on Twitter @virgoblue .