cover image Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart

Angry Optimist: The Life and Times of Jon Stewart

Lisa Rogak. St. Martin's/Thomas Dunne, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-125-0-01444-3

In this pseudo-biography of Jon Stewart (n%C3%A9 Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz), Rogak (Hillary Clinton in Her Own Words) packages a canned chronology of a figure's life and career. Starting from the very beginning, she tracks Stewart's childhood a short, Jewish kid in the WASPy neighborhood of Lawrenceville, N.J.; his adolescence as a class clown and talented soccer player; his first attempts at stand-up at the Bitter End and other New York haunts; his early stints on TV; his landing on The Daily Show in 1999; all 15 years of his tenure there up to the present; and all the various projects he has taken on in the meantime (including three books, several movies, award shows, and much more). While the thought-provoking questions surrounding Stewart's tenuous, and often contradictory, relationship to his work as both a fake-news-show host and an influential political pundit hang in the air, Rogak does little to shed new light on the topic. Instead, she borrows from other journalists to create an uninspired collection of repurposed quotes, which are interspersed with her own repetitive prose. (Sept.)