50 of the Greatest Jon Stewart Quotes

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Everyone’s favorite silver fox with the rapier wit and passion for political puns turns 50 today. Happy birthday, Jon Stewart! The Daily Show satirist has brilliantly conquered “bullsh*t mountain” with his insightful and hilarious commentary on the media, American pop culture, politicians, and more. The boy from New Jersey — who later studied chemistry and psychology at William & Mary, rose through the ranks in New York City’s comedy clubs, and found a home as a writer and host for Comedy Central — has delivered some of the best, no-holds-barred commentary of our generation. We’ve gathered 50 of his greatest quotes after the break. Feel free to celebrate along with us by adding your favorites, below.

“I have not found this generation to be cynical or apathetic or selfish. They are as strong and as decent as any people that I have met. And I will say this, on my way down here I stopped at Bethesda Naval, and when you talk to the young kids that are there that have just been back from Iraq and Afghanistan, you don’t have the worry about the future that you hear from so many that are not a part of this generation, but judging it from above.”

“Love what you do. Get good at it. Competence is a rare commodity in this day and age. And let the chips fall where they may.”

“Everybody talks about the entitlement generation. There is no time I would rather live in than now… There’s a tendency to live in a nostalgic state in this country, and think that other generations possessed an integrity and a tenacity better than the generation that is now. I wholeheartedly disagree with that, and I believe this is a group that will rise up to any challenge that comes before them, as well as any other generation in America would have done. My advice to them would be to please don’t think of me as an entitled moocher when I’m collecting my government benefits.”

“Insomnia is my greatest inspiration.”

“You can use your idealism to further your aims, if you realize that nothing is Nirvana, nothing is perfect.”

“Fatherhood is great because you can ruin someone from scratch.”

“You just have to keep trying to do good work, and hope that it leads to more good work. I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work, and be proud that I tried everything. Yes, I want to look back and know that I was terrible at a variety of things.”

“Give me back the $800 billion for the Iraq war and children’s television [PBS] is on the house.”

“I have complete faith in the continued absurdity of whatever’s going on.”

“Divorce isn’t caused because 50% of marriages end in gayness.”

“The Internet is just a world passing notes around a classroom.”

“You wonder sometimes how our government puts on its pants in the morning.”

“I’m not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance.”

“We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is — on the brink of catastrophe — torn by polarizing hate, and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day!”

“I visit Fox News every now and again, and it’s nice, because the Eye of Mordor is above the building.”

“My life [is] a series of Hollywood orgies and Kabbalah center brunches with the cast of Friends. At least that’s what my handlers tell me. I’m actually too valuable to live my own life and spend most of my days in a vegetable crisper to remain fake news anchor fresh.”

“Originally we were going to title it The Daily Show With Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays Off, but it was too long.”

“The bias of the mainstream media is toward sensationalism, conflict, and laziness.”

“If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.”

“Liberal and conservative have lost their meaning in America. I represent the distracted center.”

“Religion is far more of a choice than homosexuality.”

“What is the fear of the ‘gay agenda’ that has so upset people? Do people think that if gay people are given a place at the table, they’ll be so convincing we’ll all end up blowing them? What is the issue? ‘You know, I’m straight, but you’ve made such a convincing argument… ’”

“The Westboro Baptist Church is no more a church than Church’s Fried Chicken is a church.”

“I don’t care about wealth. What seems to be upsetting is institutionalizing the advantages that wealth gives you.”

“If there’s anyone out there involved in illegal movie piracy… don’t do it. Take a good look at these people. These are the people you’re stealing from. Look at them! Face what you’ve done! There are women here who can barely afford enough gown to cover their breasts.”

“The seven marvels that best represent man’s achievements over the last 2,000 years will be determined by Internet vote… so look for Howard Stern’s Private Parts to come in No. 1.”

“It’s funny. When we were alive we spent much of our time staring up at the cosmos and wondering what was out there. We were obsessed with the moon and whether we could one day visit it. The day we finally walked on it was celebrated worldwide as perhaps man’s greatest achievement. But it was while we were there, gathering rocks from the moon’s desolate landscape, that we looked up and caught a glimpse of just how incredible our own planet was. Its singular, astonishing beauty. We called her Mother Earth, because she gave birth to us, and then we sucked her dry.”

“If I was to really get at the burr in my saddle, it’s not politics — and this is, I think, probably a horrible analogy — but I look at politicians as, they are doing what inherently they need to do to retain power. Their job is to consolidate power. When you go to the zoo and you see a monkey throwing poop, you go, ‘That’s what monkeys do, what are you gonna do?’ But what I wish the media would do more frequently is say, ‘Bad monkey.'”

“If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.”

“I reject the idea there are just two sides. I think that with the amount of ideas and thoughts there are, it’s not even going to be consistent with the same person. People can hold liberal and conservative dogma points at the same time. They’re not living their lives via platforms. They’re living their lives. The whole thing is an awfully tired construct.”

“To the people who are upset about their hard-earned tax money going to things they don’t like: welcome to the f*cking club. Reimburse me for the Iraq war and oil subsidies, and diaphragms are on me!”

“Yes, reason has been a part of organized religion, ever since two nudists took dietary advice from a talking snake.”

“The only time a politico will try to avoid playing the blame game is when they or theirs are to blame.”

“Religion: it’s given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.”

“Maybe we should always show pictures. Bin Laden, pictures of our wounded service people, pictures of maimed innocent civilians. We can only make decisions about war if we see what war actually is — and not as a video game where bodies quickly disappear leaving behind a shiny gold coin.”

“People always talk to me about, ‘Who are your influences? What makes you do what you do?’ I can say, I draw a line — I do what I do because of Bruce Springsteen, and I’ll tell you why: You introduced me to the concept of The Other Side. You introduced me to the concept of: you go through the tunnel and you take a chance, and you can work to get away from your circumstance. And by working to get away from your circumstance you can make something better of yourself, but there’s no guarantee. […] But you know what? The joy of it is chasing that dream, and that was my inspiration for leaving New Jersey and goin’ to New York. And bless you, my friend. You’re the man. So I just wanted to thank you personally from the bottom of my heart for giving me something to put into the dashboard as I drove a U-Haul van through the Holland Tunnel.”

“As an adolescent, Vonnegut made my life bearable.”

“I think of myself as a comedian who has the pleasure of writing jokes about things that I actually care about. And that’s really it. You know, if I really wanted to enact social change I have great respect for people who are in the front lines and the trenches of trying to enact social change. I am far lazier than that.”

“I am a tiny, neurotic man, standing in the back of the room throwing tomatoes at the chalk board. And that’s really it.”

“If you try to hit a grand slam, you’re going to strike out.”

“I always knew I shouldn’t have said that.”

“We all know what happens to celebrities when their time is up — rehab and then a stint on VH1.”

“I feel your scorn, and I accept it.”

“You have to remember one thing about the will of the people: it wasn’t that long ago that we were swept away by the Macarena.”

“Alright guys, I want to get out there and vote tomorrow. And not because it’s cool, because it’s not. You know what is cool? Smoking. Smoke while you vote.”

“The reason I don’t worry about society is, nineteen people knocked down two buildings and killed thousands. Hundreds of people ran into those buildings to save them. I’ll take those odds every f*cking day.”

“Any fool can blow something up. Any fool can destroy. But to see these guys, these firefighters and these policemen and people from all over the country, literally with buckets, rebuilding… that’s extraordinary. And that’s why we have already won… they can’t… it’s light. It’s democracy. They can’t shut that down.”

“He had a passion and a depth of belief, and an optimism, and a tenacity that I very much admired. He was one of the first people I remember learning about, and maybe his death left an indelible mark. I felt that Robert Kennedy was a man of political integrity.”

“We are not warriors in anyone’s army. And that is not trying to be self-deprecating. I’m proud of what we do. I really like these two shows. I like making ’em. I like watching them. I’m really proud of them. But I understand their place. I don’t view us as people who lead social movements.”

“Every generation has their challenge. And things change rapidly, and life gets better in an instant.”