It’s always fun to hear the might-have-beens when it comes to “The Daily Show.”
Everyone from Louis C.K. to Amy Schumer were reportedly offered Jon Stewart’s hosting chair following his announcement that he was leaving the show. The choice went to up-and-coming comedian Trevor Noah.
But one of the most outside-the-box hosting choices has now been revealed. Mike Rowe was almost made “The Daily Show” host on two separate occasions.
The wise-cracking blue-collar everyman from “Dirty Jobs” and now CNN’s “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” stated his missed opportunities on his website Thursday after being asked how he deals with rejection.
Rowe posted a picture of himself crying while holding up a reaction letter from “The Daily Show.” He called it “one of the nicest rejection letters I’ve ever received, but it was nevertheless devastating, because I knew then with certainty that this was my ‘dream job.'”
According to Rowe’s post, he was also considered 17 years ago as the first-ever host of “The Daily Show” leading up to its premiere.
“Comedy Central spent a year looking for the right host. The audition process was extensive, and when the dust settled, it came down to two — Craig Kilborn and me. The job went to Craig, and I was crushed.”
Kilborn was a popular anchor on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” before becoming “The Daily Show” host. He left “The Daily Show” in 1999 and went to CBS to host “The Late Late Show.”
When looking for Kilborn’s replacement, Comedy Central came calling again to Rowe.
“Craig split, and the network called me back,” Rowe wrote in his post. “I went in for another audition. This time, I wasn’t going to let it get away. I did the very best job I could, and all modesty aside, I killed it. Afterwards, I was told by the producers and writers that I was about to become the new host of The Daily Show, unless — by some miracle — Comedy Central were to suddenly cough up the kind of money that could entice a proven entity like Dennis Miller or Jon Stewart. Of course, we all now which way the mop flopped, and I was once again, devastated.”
Rowe wrote the second rejection was “a critical step in a long series of failures that got me to the sewer,” referring to getting the “Dirty Jobs” show, which turned him into a star host.
But just imagine how “The Daily Show” would have turned out with Rowe at the helm.
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