8 TV Actors Who Turned Out Just Like Their Characters

Jon Stewart / Fictional Jon Stewart

In 1997, Jon Stewart guest hosted “The Larry Sanders Show,” the show-within-a-show on The Larry Sanders Show, normally hosted by Larry Sanders (Garry Shandling). The ambitious young comedian was a network favorite on the fictional “Larry Sanders Show,” and at the end of the series (the real one), he replaced Sanders as the host of his own talk show. No flipping.

Fictional Jon Stewart wanted to turn the program into a more edgy, social commentary-driven late night talk show, and that’s just what he ended up doing.

The Real Jon Stewart

It can be hard to believe how long our modern-day comedic heroes have been around (see also: Jeffrey Tambor, above).

For two years in the ’80s, Jon Stewart held the 2 a.m. drunk audience slot at Manhattan’s Comedy Cellar, and he spent most of the ’90s popping up on MTV and Comedy Central shows like “Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist” when I was supposed to be doing homework. Though the official version of history says that Craig Kilborn left “The Daily Show” in 1998 to host “The Late Late Show,” insiders say that friction between Kilborn and some of his staff (particularly the ladies) was a major factor in his departure.

Enter Stewart in 1999, and the modern version of “The Daily Show” was born. Now it’s what you watch when you’re supposed to be doing homework.

Just like the guy he played on “Larry Sanders” years back, Stewart replaced a host who was getting tired of the job and brought a younger, more commentary-filled voice to a show that ultimately appealed to a younger audience.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
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