Critical writing instructor Gail Shister took her TV Criticism writing seminar to a taping of Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" in NYC on December 1, 2009. After the taping, Stewart did a Q&A with the class, posed for pictures, and let them take pictures on the set (which he never does, according to his publicist). Moreover, he did a shout-out to Penn and a comic bit on the Quakers--both improv--at the beginning of the show. To see the show, go to For just the clip on Penn, visit

Behind the scenes with Jon Stewart

Students in writing class meet with Jon Stewart, tour N.Y. set of Daily Show

The Daily Pennsylvanian
December 3, 2009

When asked how she got her writing class VIP access to a taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, writing professor and 25-year Philadelphia Inquirer TV columnist Gail Shister had one thing to say: "Shister, can't resist her."

Shister took her class to The Daily Show in New York City on Tuesday as a part of her "Television Criticism" writing seminar.

The trip, which Shister has been taking with her class for the last four semesters, fits right into her syllabus, she said. As part of the class, which fulfills the writing requirement, students recently read a book on late-night TV comedians' influence on politics, in which Stewart was prominently featured.

"It was really cool to go see him in action, because I've been writing about him for a whole semester now," said College sophomore and Melissa Schall.

College sophomore Sara Ehsani-Nia, also in Shister's class, agreed.

"Everything that we studied came to life," she said, pointing to Stewart's studio and his interactions with the audience as examples.

The class met Stewart during a question-and-answer session before the show, and even secured a "Go Quakers!" shout-out from him on the program.

"We all roared with applause," said Ehsani-Nia.

The episode aired Wednesday on Comedy Central.

College senior Andrew Karter, another of Shister's students, said the Penn reference was completely unexpected.

"My advice to our president [Amy Gutmann] is that she get a hold of that clip and use it as a recruiting tool," Shister said.

After the show was over, students got to talk to Stewart, the show's producers and some of the show's correspondents.

"He was actually a pretty real guy," said College sophomore Mark Kim.

After a talk and a photo op with Stewart, students went on a tour of the studio.

"We were treated like royalty," Shister said.

She added that she chooses to focus on Jon Stewart in the course because he is "doing some of the best work on television, period" and is "one of the most astute political observers in the country."

To college students, Stewart is "practically a god," Shister added. "You say the name Jon Stewart to a Penn student, and he'll follow you home."