I'd like to say it was all part of a big plan, but basically it was dumb luck and a horseshoe up my butt. I was working late the law firm and over the course of a couple years I had been there I had been writing these jokes... One of the other associates was going to this open house of a big corporate client and goes, "Do you want to go?" I went, and as I was leaving I printed out my jokes. Literally my coat was on and I said, "What the fuck?" and I just hit the button. After the performance, I went up to Leno and said, "Look, I don't know if you buy jokes, but I did some jokes." I was really sheepish. A couple days later he called me and said, "I like your stuff, it has the right tone. Start sending me stuff." About a week later, he called me and said he was going to do one of my jokes on The Tonight Show.
Lizz Winstead, who is one of the creators of The Daily Show, I had known her from doing standup. I had made some short films and she was in one as an actress, so we just got to know each other. I always tended to talk about social and political issues in my act, and she asked me if I wanted to get involved in the show. I was like, "Yeah, I guess." I figured it would last a couple of months and I'd make a few bucks. And that's it. I didn't know I would win an Emmy Award and Peabody Award for it.
Yeah. I was there when Jon got there, and I think it really changed when he came in. I think it's always evolving, but I think even at the core of it from the beginning, the show is still the show. The core of it is about taking a look at the news and the media coverage of the news. But we started in '96 and we used to do a lot of celebrity stories, and Jon took us away from that and focused on the national political stuff. So I think it's changed that way, for good, and I also think it's great that he was able to bring on political minds as guests and they had to be really interesting and entertaining. That was really quite an accomplishment when you think about it—it's an entertainment show on comedy network. I can only imagine what the network brass thought when he wanted to do that. I think he was a real innovator in that way. Bob Dole, ironically, was the first one to come on and open the doors, because his young staffers were telling him, "Hey, this is a hip show, you should go on there." And he was great. He was a correspondent for us in the 2000 election at the Republican National Convention in Philly, and he was great. It was like, "Why couldn't he be like that in his campaign?"