The Daily Show's Jon Stewart to anchor Ted Koppel: You make me want to do better
Nick Langewis and Mike Aivaz
Published: Saturday September 29, 2007

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The Daily Show's Jon Stewart appeared at the podium to pay loving tribute to veteran news anchor Ted Koppel at the 28th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards this week -- but in the process seemed to lampoon the mainstream media.

His shots were not direct. But his compliments of Koppel seemed to be couched in vague criticisms of the rest of the crowd.

"I don't understand how Bob Woodruff went through the terrible things he went through and is still smarter and better looking than I am," Stewart said.

Of Koppel, he said: "You give me nothing. I work tirelessly. I'm a parasite that attacks artifice. I eat at the foundation of false sincerity, and you give me bubkes."

Koppel is "organic," Stewart said. "You are not able to deconstruct him, because his integrity is real... and I don't like that.

In closing, he added, "I really do appreciate the opportunity to be here with you tonight, and to hear the testimonies of all the others; and, just to let you know that, uh...I admire your ability to create the reality that I am unable to fake."

A transcipt appears below.

The following video was broadcast on C-SPAN on September 28, 2007. Transcript is printed below.

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(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. Thank you very much.

I am so tired of following Elie Wiesel at these things. Blah, blah, blah. Love. Respect. Nobel Peace Prize. Blah, blah!

You what we should do? We should drive you over to [Ahmadinejad's] room and show him you exist. That'd get him!

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

See? Look! Talk to this guy! He was there!

First of all, I just want to let everyone know that tonight is "black tie."

(LAUGHTER)

I'm sure that was written somewhere for me but I don't know where.

I'm honored to be here tonight. I'm somewhat baffled; when they first asked me to do this, I said "No." But then, recognizing what a litigious bunch network anchors are, I thought...

(LAUGHTER)

...What? Too soon? You don't know what I'm referring to. I could be referring to anything!

I don't like Ted Koppel...

(LAUGHTER)

...and I don't feel like that's been said enough tonight. And I don't understand how Bob [Woodward] went through the terrible things he went through and is still smarter and better looking than I am.

But, I will say: You give me nothing. I work tirelessly. I'm a parasite that attacks artifice. I eat at the foundation of false sincerity, and you give me bubkes.

He's organic. You are not able to deconstruct him, because his integrity is real... and I don't like that.

When we first met, you were incredibly open to the idea that I could sit and talk with you. I assumed this was going to be, at our first meeting, the Rabbi, and I would sit, and you would say "This is your Haftorah, this is what you have to do," and yet, you asked me questions, you spoke with me as though my opinion mattered to you.

And it did.

And I will never forget that, because here's what I think is so impressive about Ted Koppel--and this, I think, could go for anybody in any field--because I am not in news. I don't know if you people know this, but we don't actually go to the places that we say we go to.

(LAUGHTER)

We have a green screen, and a lot of times we just stand in front of it and say it's Ramadi.

No. We know it's not.

What I love about Ted Koppel is, and I will say this to you: You make me feel small. You make me feel like I want to be better. And to have that effect on people, I think, is the best gift that you can give to those around you. So, I appreciate you having me here tonight. I'm so glad, as I watched all the beautiful and moving work that you've all been doing, that this show tonight is not televised.

(LAUGHTER)

America doesn't need to see this stuff.

But--uh--

(APPLAUSE)

No! Listen! The Entertainment Emmys, that's where it's all...

"Ugly Betty won Whaaat?..."

So, that's why I don't like you. By making me feel small and making me want to do better because, Lord knows, I want to coast.

But I really do appreciate the opportunity to be here with you tonight, and to hear the testimonies of all the others; and, just to let you know that, uh...I admire your ability to create the reality that I am unable to fake.

(APPLAUSE)

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