Angry Optimist by Lisa Rogak


This review is based on the reading of the advanced reader’s edition of this novel provided by the publisher via NetGalley. The review, in its entirety, is of my own opinion of the novel.

Since his arrival at The Daily Show in 1999, Jon Stewart has become one of the major players in comedy as well as one of the most significant liberal voices in the media. In Angry Optimist, biographer Lisa Rogak charts his unlikely rise to stardom. She follows him from his early days growing up in New Jersey, through his years as a struggling standup comic in New York, and on to the short-lived but acclaimed The Jon Stewart Show. And she charts his humbling string of near-misses—passed over as a replacement for shows hosted by Conan O’Brien, Tom Snyder, and even the fictional Larry Sanders—before landing on a half-hour comedy show that at the time was still finding its footing amidst roiling internal drama.

Once there, Stewart transformed The Daily Show into one of the most influential news programs on television today. Drawing on interviews with current and former colleagues, Rogak reveals how things work—and sometimes don’t work—behind the scenes at The Daily Show, led by Jon Stewart, a comedian who has come to wield incredible power in American politics.

I must admit that I have been a fan of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart for a long time, however, I haven’t watched this show on a regular basis for a few years. I was excited to have the chance to read this biography of Jon Stewart. Besides watching Jon on the show, I haven’t seen many interviews or read much about him aside from watching some clips of him on YouTube.

The book is not as in depth as I would have expected, but I did learn a lot of new things about Jon Stewart-and isn’t that the point of a biography? I would have liked to have seen more input from those closest to Stewart. Also, there were parts of the book where the author seemed to unnecessarily jump back and forth to different points in Jon’s life, which made for a less fluid flow of the book.

There were some facts about Jon in the book that I found to be especially interesting, including the fact that he doesn’t attend many black tie affairs, and that he used to be a pretty good soccer player-I never would have guessed it.

This book goes over Jon’s life from his childhood through his days in college and ends with him hosting The Daily Show, where he adds his own humorous slant to the news.

I give this book a 3 out of 5. It certainly wasn’t the best biography that I’ve ever read, but I think it was good.

To whom would you recommend to read this novel:
I recommend this book to those who like Jon Stewart or The Daily Show.

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