Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor

Deborah Whitehead

Second Advisor

Loriliai Biernacki

Third Advisor

Stewart Hoover


Jon Stewart, host of the Comedy Central television show The Daily Show, uses several techniques that are notable with regards to religious studies. Most notably, Stewart uses humor as a way to diffuse tension and reveal hidden or obfuscated truths about current events. He also uses jokes and observations about religion to comment on the news, while using the techniques of conversation (as described by Jeffrey Stout) and sympathy (as explained by Richard Rorty) to be an effective public journalist and activist. In this paper, I examine these aspects of Stewart’s show and demonstrate that, because of these techniques, Stewart is able to generate concrete results in the realms of religion and ethics.