For many it seemed that Jon Stewart arrived out of nowhere when he took over the desk at The Daily Show. But it’s an open secret in show business that nobody really arrives overnight and succeeds. Before The Daily Show, Stewart bounced around looking for his way in. One of those gigs was the Jon Stewart Show on MTV, which had an excellent run — and great guests — but ultimately got cancelled.
Letterman was a guest on Stewart’s final show in 1995 — a rarity because Letterman rarely appears on shows other than his own. Stewart took time on The Daily Show this week to say what Letterman told him that night 20 years ago that helped the younger comedian persevere and ultimately thrive on television. “Do not confuse cancellation with failure,” Letterman told Stewart, as the the Jon Stewart Show drew its final breath. Stewart has remained decidedly unconfused.