Stewart singled out the actor as The Daily Show’s worst guest, criticising his behaviour towards the programme’s staff and banned him from making further appearances.
“And we’ve had dictators on the show,” noted Stewart, who criticised Grant’s attitude when the Four Weddings and a Funeral actor appeared on the show in 2009 to promote a romantic comedy, Did You Hear About the Morgans?
Giving an on-stage interview at the Montclair Film Festival in New Jersey, Stewart said of Grant: “He’s giving everyone s*** the whole time, and he’s a big pain in the ass”.
According to Stewart, Grant complained during his time in the studio that he had other places to be. The actor was apparently upset with the Daily Show’s choice of clip from his film, which was provided by the movie’s own studio.
The actor complained: “What is that clip? It’s a terrible clip.” “Well, then make a better f****** movie,” Stewart replied. The film was poorly received by critics. The presenter said he would “never” let Grant back on the show.
When the Daily Show covered the hacking scandal last year, the programme mocked Grant’s leading role in the Hacked Off campaign, which is calling for a new press regulatory regime underpinned by statute.
“The guy who got car head from an LA road prostitute is now the moral compass of my nation,” John Oliver, the programme’s Senior British Correspondent, told Stewart.
If Grant really is the worst chat-show guest ever he could displace Meg Ryan from the top of the list. During a frosty encounter with Michael Parkinson in 2003, the actress restricted herself to one-word answers and advised the interviewer to “wrap it up”.
Grace Jones slapping a stunned Russell Harty in 1981 was voted the most shocking television chat show moment of all time in a viewers’ poll, followed by former BBC presenter David Icke telling Terry Wogan he was “a son of the Godhead.”
During his on-stage interview, Stewart revealed that he almost quit the Daily Show, shortly after he took over the programme from Craig Kilborn in 1999.
“I walk in the door, into a room with the writers and producers, and the first thing they say is, ‘This isn't some MTV bull****.’ And then I was told not to change the jokes or improvise.”
Stewart told his agent, “get me the f*** out of this. These people are insane. I had to be talked down from a moderately high cliff. What I did not realise is, a lot of the people who worked there were assholes.” It took two-and-a-half-years for Stewart to get the supportive production team he needed, he said.