As we prepare for Jon Stewart's final episode of The Daily Show, I wanted to take a moment to examine the show's guest interview segment. The bit was the site of some great political debates and ideological standoffs. It is also where Marlon Wayans went in 2000 to promote his appearance in the smash hit Dungeons & Dragons film.
I scraped the episode listings of The Daily Show off Wikipedia into a spreadsheet and then went through and tagged each of the 2,612 guests with a different category. The categories are not hard science or statistics, just my best judgment for what the guest was best known for at time of their appearance.
Despite those fuzzy situations, I think I captured the general feel of the show's guest list in the chart below.
Despite Stewart's reputation for tackling political issues, the bulk of his interviews were with Hollywood celebrities, many of whom were plugging movies. That is most apparent in 1999, Stewart's first year on the show, where almost all his interviews are off the late night talk show circuit. The first political interview didn't happen until a two-part talk with former Republican Senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole 11 months into the first season.
Despite that first year, the large number of authors and journalists in later seasons shows Stewart wanted to be more than the cable version of The Tonight Show. And he gave almost equal amounts of time to politicians from both sides of the aisle, despite vehemently disagreeing with some of them.
A handful of Stewart guests racked up lots of overtime in the studio. Here are the top ten Stewart friends and frenemies who stopped by the show most often.
Edit: Because his name was accidentally spelled two different ways, the original version of this list did not include Neil deGrasse Tyson, who has been on the show 16 times.
Amidst a bevy of comedians, Sen. John McCain also used to be a frequent guest, although the Republican lawmaker has not appeared on the show since 2008, the year of his last presidential run. He is scheduled to make a cameo in tonight's final episode.
It remains to be seen what guests Trevor Noah will be booking for his tenure. I hope he learns from Stewart's first season and takes a pass on celebrities plugging a new film. Lip Sync Battle can have them instead.