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Elizabeth Warren: Jon Stewart and The Daily Show changed my life

Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

If you ask Elizabeth Warren, Jon Stewart changes lives.

On Thursday, August 6, as Stewart retires as host of The Daily Show, Senator Warren reminded us about the visit to the show that changed her life.

Back in 2009, when she was a little-known Harvard law professor and chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel on TARP, Warren absolutely choked in the first two minutes of her interview with Stewart. She wrote on Facebook today:

The first time Jon Stewart invited me onto The Daily Show six years ago, I threw up backstage. I had gut-wrenching, stomach-turning stage fright. I was a no-name college professor there in 2009 to talk about oversight of the Wall Street bailout.

The first couple of minutes seemed so terrible, I thought I would have to resign from my new position on the TARP Congressional Oversight Panel.

Warren isn't kidding. I can't even watch that interview because of secondhand embarrassment. She stutters, pauses, and forgets names. It's nightmare fuel for anyone who fears public speaking. She was falling into a hole, but thankfully, Stewart helped her out of it. During the commercial break, he told her he was giving her another chance. Warren writes:

He took my arm, told me to stay in my seat — and then he let me deliver this message. That moment changed my life.

I'm grateful for every single time someone has come up to me and asked: "Hey, aren't you that lady I saw on Jon Stewart?" Because almost every time I've told someone, "Yup, that's me," they've followed it up with: "Keep fighting!"

That's what Jon has done for 16 years: with passion and humor, he skewered the people who needed skewering, called out the big guys who rig the system, and prodded us all to fight back.