Jon Stewart Explains Apple Had “A Different Agenda” For His Canceled ‘The Problem With Jon Stewart’ Show: They “Don’t Want That Smoke”

Jon Stewart Explains Apple Had “A Different Agenda” For His Canceled ‘The Problem With Jon Stewart’ Show: They “Don’t Want That Smoke”

Jon Stewart is opening up about the problem with Apple.

After his current affairs show The Problem with Jon Stewart was canceled in October following two seasons, the Emmy Award winner explained that he “knew we were in trouble.”

“They didn’t censor me, it wasn’t free speech,” said Stewart on The Town podcast. “When you work for a corporate entity, that’s part of the deal, even at Comedy Central. The deal is I get to do what I want until it’s going to hurt their beer sales or whatever it is they want to sell. And that’s the deal we all make.”

He recalled an interview with economist Larry Summers, who asked him if he thought “Apple was somehow gouging, or doing something wrong.” At the time, Stewart responded with an immediate “Yes, of course!”

“We play the interview for the audience, they explode like we just hit a three-pointer at the buzzer,” Stewart recounted on the podcast. “The show ends, we go downstairs in full Rudy mode. The Apple executives walk into the dressing room afterwards with a look on their face and I was like, ‘Oh my God, did the factory explode, what happened?’”

The Problem with Jon Stewart


Stewart added, “It was then that I realized, ‘Oh, our aims don’t align in any way.’ We’re trying to make the best most insightful execution of the intention that we can make, but they’re protecting a different agenda. And that’s when I knew we were in trouble.”

The comedian doesn’t hold any hard feelings against Apple, explaining: “There’s a mantra we all have to remember: Corporations are pussies.”

“They are now, and they always have been. They’re not looking to cause problems,” Stewart continued. “I worked on Comedy Central, their lawyers were constantly under the threat of advertiser boycotts. Comedy Central’s brand was provocation, to some extent. And so that was for the most part positive for them. Most content companies don’t want that smoke.”

In October, The New York Times reported that Apple canceled the comedy show ahead of its third season due to creative differences and execs’ concerns over Stewart’s coverage of topics such as China and AI.

Jon Stewart, winner of Outstanding Variety Talk Series and Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in the press room for 67th Primetime Emmy Awards on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles. (Elizabeth Goodenough / Everett Collection)

Stewart has since temporarily returned to his former post on The Daily Show, where he had Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan as a guest in April after Apple allegedly “asked us not” to have her appear on The Problem‘s accompanying podcast.

“They literally said, ‘Please don’t talk to her,’” he told Khan a month after the U.S. Justice Department and more than a dozen state attorneys general sued Apple, claiming the tech giant holds an illegal monopoly over the smartphone market, which could extend to the entertainment industry and other parts of the economy.

The Problem with Jon Stewart, which earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Programming in 2022, is available to stream on Apple TV+.

The Daily Show airs weeknights at 11/10c on Comedy Central, with Stewart on Mondays.