The Daily Show posted footage on Monday taken from some of host Jon Stewart’s pre-show question-and-answer audience sessions, including a story about how an Adolf Hitler-related bit nearly led to his eponymous MTV talk show getting pulled off the air.
The sketch, Stewart explained, involved bringing out one of his writers, Dave Atell, dressed as the Nazi leader, and announced as recently returned from being “in hiding.”
“I just said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, unbelievable guest tonight — I can’t believe it, Adolf Hitler,'” Stewart recalled. “You can imagine, the crowd is like, ‘Boo, boo Hitler. We don’t like Hitler.’ So we throw to commercial. Two seconds later, the stage manager goes, ‘There’s a phone call for you.’ Paramount executives in Los Angeles had been watching, and said, ‘We will literally cancel you tonight if you don’t pull that.'”
Stewart also took a question on what he felt was the “least fun aspect” of his job, which segued into a riff on how much he tries to disconnect from it when he takes time off.
“The least fun?” he asked. “The worst part about any job — they make you go there. You know what I mean? People say to me sometimes, ‘When you’re on vacation, does a story ever happen and you think to yourself, I wish I was at work?’ And I was like, ‘Never.'”
Besides reassuring the crowd, “Let me make something clear, I’m not dying,” Stewart also predicted that he would return to stand-up comedy at some point after his Daily Show tenure ends, and explained how his appreciation for Bruce Springsteen has shifted with age; when he was younger, he said, Blinded By The Light was his favorite Springsteen album.
“I was pretty sure that was about j*rking off, and I was really into that at the time,” he said. “Now I’m old, and so now I basically stand in front of a mirror naked and sing, ‘My city in ruins …'”
Watch Stewart take questions from the audience, as posted on Monday, below.