The Joke Jon Stewart Played On Ed Helms During The Daily Show

Ed Helms is now seen as a huge movie and TV actor, popping up in such high-profile projects as The Hangover series and the Vacation sequel. But more than a decade ago, Helms was a lesser-known TV personality working on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. And now that Stewart is ending his run on the Comedy Central series, Ed Helms has shared a hilarious story about one of his first days on set.

I remember doing my second segment. I was still so green and nervous. The bit was that I had a little mole removed from my nose, but we treated it as this big, heavy medical segment. Katie Couric's on-air colonoscopy was the inspiration. I had this jar with a huge sausage floating in it that was supposed to be the mole. It was a dumb bit, but I could not keep it together. I was laughing really hard during rehearsal, and I was terrified because I didn't want to laugh during the taping. So, at the end of rehearsal, Jon looks me in the eye and goes, totally deadpan, 'If you laugh during the taping, you're fired.' My heart just dropped. Then he burst out laughing.

At a first glance, getting laughed at when you are terrified about something may not really seem like the best medicine, but when Helms looks back on that one Daily Show moment so many years later, he tells THR that it was actually exactly what he needed in the moment. In fact, he’ll always remember how “gracious” Stewart could be.

By making a joke that played on my biggest fear, he knew how to make me relaxed and comfortable. It was a very gracious move.

The segment ended up going totally fine, and thanks to the perfection that is Comedy Central’s site, we’ve included the amusing “Touched by a Scalpel” mole clip from way back in 2002, below.

There were a lot of people who touched and shaped The Daily Show over the years it was on the air, and it’s nice that Jon Stewart was able to return the favor. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart will end its run on August 6, 2015. Trevor Noah will take over for the veteran host, and his tenure will begin on Monday, September 28 at 11 p.m. ET. Here’s a look at what else is coming up this fall.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.