Talking with Scott Jacobson about the Brilliant Program for The Daily Show’s Ten-Year Anniversary Concert


Four years ago, Scott Jacobson (current Bob’s Burgers’ writer and formerly of the Daily Show) put together a concert honoring ten years of The Daily Show. Sadly, unless you have a time machine, you won’t be able to experience that show. (And even if you did have a time traveling device, the show was probably sold out so you’d have to use the machine to go back to the minute the tickets went on sale and then you’d have to wait a month until the show actually happened, which would be super boring. So don’t do that, just continue reading.) The good news is Jacobson tweeted out the program from the night and it is epic. Thomas Pynchon writes the intro! (Please read that sentence twice, to comprehend its gravity.) The rest is filled with ridiculous and brilliant essays about the show from its writers. It’s incredibly well done, which makes sense, considering they’re all Daily Show writers. Scott Jacobson was generous enough to answer a few questions about putting it together, which you’ll find after the jump along with the entire, wildly ambitious program:

What was the idea behind doing more than a traditional program?

Sam and I took on this project just for the fun of it when we were both writers on the show (Sam now writes for 30 Rock and I write for Bob’s Burgers), and to put it gently, we were naive about the amount of work that goes into planning an event of that size. Basically, we made things harder for ourselves at every turn. We weren’t going to do a simple program that actually told you what you were going to see that night: we were going to make a full-on piece of comedy ephemera that people would take home and treasure (or immediately put on eBay). It was a pain in the ass to pull together.

Were the writers given any instructions whatsoever?

Yup: just about every piece is on the theme of the show and its fake history.

Thomas Pynchon! What? How? Can you tell a little about working with him?

I knew it would be difficult to get the writers to submit pieces for the program – they’re a busy bunch of folks – so I thought I’d improve my odds by getting a foreword from someone so unlikely that it’d capture the staff’s interest. I dug up the email of Thomas Pynchon’s wife, who’s a literary agent, and pitched her the idea. To my surprise and delight, it all worked out. Pynchon actually faxed in that piece. He came into the office one day, too, and stayed for a taping. I had a brief conversation with him about Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers.

Do you have a favorite passage or line from it?

I love Sam’s jokes in the table of contents (“Rumblemintz and speaker wire”).

What made you post it this weekend?

I was getting a book from my bookcase and saw a copy of the program wedged deep in there. I’ve always intended to at some point scan and post it online – today just happened to be the day.