9:44pm PT by Hilary Lewis
Watch Jon Stewart's First 'Daily Show' (Video)
In 1999, Jon Stewart took over for Craig Kilborn as the host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, beginning a long run that is set to end this year when Stewart steps down.
All of the clips from that Jan. 11, 1999 episode are still on Comedy Central's Daily Show website and have been embedded below. Taking over for Kilborn, Stewart made a few jokes about his predecessor, who had left for CBS' Late Late Show, while retaining many elements of the past iteration of the show. The first episode also features bits with Stephen Colbert and Beth Littleford and an interview with Michael J. Fox, then starring in ABC's Spin City.
Stewart began his Daily Show run by acting like he was just filling in for Kilborn, saying, "Craig Kilborn is on assignment in Kuala Lumpur. I'm Jon Stewart." From that, Stewart went into Kilborn's traditional "Headlines" opener, beginning with coverage of President Clinton's impeachment trial, which was set to begin that coming Thursday, introduced by a "The Final Blow" graphic featuring a gavel smashing Clinton's head. And right away Stewart delivers a pretty sharp quip.
"The most important issue facing the United States Senate is how can it take a pointless, tawdry trial whose outcome has already been decided and make it last six hilarious months," he joked.
He next covered the slightly lighter news of Popeye and Olive Oil getting married, complete with an impression of the cartoon sailor man.
Stephen Colbert also reported from Washington, or a backdrop that looked like Washington, on the merchandising and sponsorship surrounding the impeachment trial. Products being sold, Colbert said, included T-shirts, snow globes, "You know those little things you use to hold corn?", a Jesse Helms action figure that comes with a second gay action figure for it to hate and a song, a duet by Bryan Adams and R. Kelly that Puffy will be producing, featuring Lil Kim and Mase.
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In the intro to a "While We Were Out" bit about news missed over the holidays, specifically the NBA lockout, Stewart jokes about the height of the last Daily Show host, explaining, "We were busy over the holidays lowering the desk."
He also addressed what his new job would mean for The Daily Show in "A Hastily Thrown Together Editorial" in which he acted as if he was the new stepfather to the show's viewers. "I'm sure many of you are curious. Is my beloved Daily Show going to change? Well it might, subtly. And I know change can be painful but from change comes growth," Stewart said. "I'm a new member of this family, your family. And I'll be here for you every night."
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Stewart talked about Spin City with his first guest, Michael J. Fox, who joked, "I've been on The Daily Show more than you have." With that, Stewart, who typically favors T-shirts and baseball caps, alluded to how uncomfortable he felt in his suit. "I feel like this is my Bar Mitzvah. I haven't worn something like this…and I have a rash like you would not believe," he said. Fox responded: "The words 'ill fitting' come to mind." Stewart also tried to wean fans off of Kilborn's signature "five questions" but did get in another joke about his predecessor when Fox said in response to one question, "I'm going to have to go with Kilborn." Stewart: "That's what CBS said."
Later segments included a "This Just In" segment with additional news, Beth Littleford's Barbara Walters-like interview with the actors who played munchkins in the Wizard of Oz and, of course, the show's "Moment of Zen."