Monday, August 18, 2008

Distilling the Mash to Get Whiskey for The Daily Show

Stephen Colbert used some wonderful images to describe the process that he and Jon Stewart go through several times a week in preparation for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report:

“We often discuss satire — the sort of thing he does and to a certain extent I do — as distillery,” Mr. Colbert continued. “You have an enormous amount of material, and you have to distill it to a syrup by the end of the day. So much of it is a hewing process, chipping away at things that aren’t the point or aren’t the story or aren’t the intention. Really it’s that last couple of drops you’re distilling that makes all the difference. It isn’t that hard to get a ton of corn into a gallon of sour mash, but to get that gallon of sour mash down to that one shot of pure whiskey takes patience” as well as “discipline and focus.”

This is a good insight into the art of storytelling which focuses on the slow slog of synthesizing one’s material and distilling it before serving the pure shot.

Source: Michiko Kakutani, ‘Is Jon Stewart the Most Trusted Man in America?’ New York Times, 15 August 2008 (the most emailed article on the NY Times at the time of posting). Click on the link and read Kakutani’s entire article.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Jon Stewart (photo courtesy of Michael Nagle of the NY Times)