This week Point of Inquiry discusses satire in politics and American life with J.R. Havlan, eight-time Emmy Award winning writer on The Daily Show. J.R. was previously a stand-up comic, including a stint doing crowd warm-up for Politically Incorrect which led to writing jokes for that show’s monologues. He’s also co-author of the New York Times best-selling books America: The Book, Earth: The Book, and wrote for the 2006 and 2008 Academy Awards. Most recently, J.R. began his own podcast called Writers’ Bloc, on which he interviews other television and film comedy writers about their backgrounds, beginnings and influences with a focus on the process of writing comedy.
Perhaps no other popular television show does more to defend rationality and to fight B.S. than The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. How do the show’s writers think about their role in American culture? Does the show actively seek to oppose Fox News and the religious right? How does it use comedy to defend reason and secularism? As the show’s longest-serving writer, J.R. Havlan has worked on the show longer than even Jon Stewart has. He gives us an exclusive glimpse inside one of the most culturally influential shows in America.