Jon Stewart explains how to find ‘The Line’ in stand-up comedy

Is there such a thing as “off limits” in stand-up comedy and satire? Roll the clip.

Live Taping of “The Axe Files” with Jon Stewart, hosted by David Axelrod

On May 9, the IOP welcomed Jon Stewart for a special live taping of “The Axe Files” podcast, hosted by IOP Director David Axelrod. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast at to listen to this episode and more!

Jon Stewart dropped some serious wisdom for stand-up comedians in his recent interview on “The Axe Files” podcast with David Axelrod.

During the Q&A portion of the interview taped live at the Chicago University Institute of Politics, a student asked Stewart “Are there certain topics that are off-limits in political satire?” And Jon Stewart’s response was a strong reminder that comedians have a right and responsibility to cover all topics.

“No topic is off-limits—unless you’ve got one that you’d like to toss out there—because no topics are off-limits to life,” he said.

Stewart expanded on those thoughts with this powerful point:

“…and I’m still waiting for someone to ask that question to a politician instead of a comic. Cause all I ever hear is people say, ‘Where’s the line?’ And they always ask comedians ‘Where’s the line?’ But very rarely do they say to presidents and senators, ‘Where’s the line? Which bomb would be the line?'”

Powerful stuff.

You can, and should, watch the interview in its entirety here.

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  • John Mayor

    Noses are red, and violence is too,
    Laughs loves the kids, and Stewart’s a Jew
    Celebrate Red Nose Day, Thursday, May 26, 2016!
    Please!… no emails!
    Dear, wonderful, precious Jon Stewart!… wherever you are!… without whom– and, of course, without Stephen Colbert!– Barack Obama might not have won the US Presidency!… at least!… as easily, as he did! Although… I must say!… Barack didn’t have much in the way of a contender! But!… what he faced… however!… was a confused, and frightened America! Thanks!… for the clarity!… and!… give my best!– our best!– to Stephen! Oh!… and give our my best!– our best!– to all of your FINE writers and production staff, who have made our world, a more joyful place to live! Oh!… and kiss a baby!

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