"The Daily Show" isn't as influential as you think

** Around 2.5 million Americans per night watch The Daily Show. More than nine million tune in to NBC Nightly News. The influence of the people who watch the show is greater than the show’s influence itself.

** Thanks to The Daily Show, CNN’s Crossfire died, and then the network simply integrated the he-said/she-said political formula elsewhere. The format lives. Jim Cramer, maligned by Stewart for his boorish financial boosterism, still has a show.

** The Colbert Report was consistently sharper, occasionally the mallet to Stewart’s sledgehammer. Where Stewart and his writers squeezed all the possibly laughs by making fun of the dumb things that cable news anchors and politicians say, Stephen Colbert’s character, “Stephen Colbert,” was a sustained assault on the right’s institutionalized anti-elitism and resentment-trigger politics.

** Stewart was a stand-up comic who became a satirist; with some exceptions, the third block of the show, dedicated to interviewing a guest, is always the weakest, even when the guest was a ripe target.