Today, the Newseum unveiled its newest exhibit, “Seriously Funny: From the Desk of ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.'” This furiously funny exhibit explores the impact Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” had on American politics and the press through four presidential campaigns, two wars and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. More than 50 artifacts will be on display, highlighting the power of political satire — a form of free speech protected under the First Amendment — and comedy’s influence on the news. The exhibit also features an original Newseum-produced film that goes behind the scenes at “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”
The centerpiece of the exhibit is Stewart’s iconic desk from “The Daily Show,” donated to the Newseum after Stewart’s final appearance on the late-night series after 16 years hosting the popular program. “Seriously Funny” will also explore Stewart’s lasting influence on political satire through the comedians he mentored, including Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Samantha Bee, Hasan Minhaj and Trevor Noah, current host of “The Daily Show.”
Engaging artifacts showcased in the exhibit include: Gitmo, a puppet Stewart dubbed “senior imprisoned correspondent” who voiced the controversies that arose surrounding accused terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; a script from Stewart’s farewell show; a script from Colbert’s late-night series “The Colbert Report;” a framed tweet from “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Presents: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library;” and the suit Noah wore on his first show as host in 2015.
“This exhibit powerfully — and hilariously — illustrates a First Amendment freedom that many Americans take for granted: the power of speech to challenge the powerful,” said Patty Rhule, vice president of exhibit development and content at the Newseum. “Under Jon Stewart and now Trevor Noah, ‘The Daily Show’ uses humor and satire to address serious topics, making viewers savvier consumers of the news in the process.”
The exhibit will be displayed at the Newseum through Dec. 31, 2019.