In the 15 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the public has gotten used to the number of 9/11 tributes that happen every anniversary.
In the last several years, a viral clip from an old episode of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” inevitably pops up to be dissected and consumed along with anniversary content.
In a new book about the history of the show, former host Jon Stewart reflects on coming back to the airwaves after the attack and the opening monologue that has since become part of TV history.
“I knew that for me, personally, I would have to express…I would have to use the process that I’ve used to process pain, and discontent, and happiness, and everything else, but in a way that was somewhat anathema to how I would normally approach it,” Stewart explains in “The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests.” “It just had to be direct and I was going to have to do it without my crutches.”
During the show’s monologue, which was filmed more than a week after the attacks, a visibly shaken Stewart describes his experiences on 9/11 and speaks to the collective mourning that happened across the country.
“We all knew people who had been down there and had lost people,” Stewart explained. “It was just the act of getting it out, but it’s not like that was the healing, that was just the…it honestly felt like that was, ‘Great, I’ve now vomited it up, but I’m still nauseous, and exhausted.’ That first show was not a statement of what we were going to do. It was a necessary draining of an abscess to even become ambulatory.”