The brains behind The Daily Show

Maybe everyone knows by now, but a piece in Women’s Wear Daily (I know, I know — but they have good New York media coverage) was the first mention I had come across about Adam Chodikoff, the 37-year-old researcher who provides most of the facts that underpin John Stewart’s barbed witticisms about the news on The Daily Show, and who helps come up with those video clips that refute what guests in the hot seat are saying. What’s particularly interesting is that Chodikoff has little or no interest in Google searches, Wikipedia entries, blog posts or anything like that.

Explaining why he prefers print over the Web, he cites a scene from the movie “Back to School,” when Rodney Dangerfield asks his son why he’s buying used books. “And he says, ‘Because they’re already underlined, see?’ And Rodney says, ‘But that guy could have been a maniac.’ And that’s the problem with the Internet.”

Instead of relying on Web sources, Chodikoff watches C-SPAN, reads the transcripts from White House press conferences and briefings, calls the Joint Committee on Taxation when he has a question and otherwise engages in hard-nosed, reporterly research. He just happens to do it in the service of humour rather than outright journalism — which is a good thing, given how large a proportion of TV viewers say they rely on The Daily Show for their news. The Washington Post had a profile of Chodikoff earlier this year.

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