As longtime Daily Show viewers know, Jon Stewart is a man of many talents. He can engage in deep debates with politicans, yuk it up with celebrities, and lead the national conversation on hot-button issues. But there’s another skill he has we didn’t know about: saving Bill Clinton from awkwardness, as he did backstage during the ex-president’s 2006 visit to the show.
Former Daily Show correspondent (and current Mindy Project and Veep actor) Dan Bakkedahl remembers the story well, and he told EW all about it.
“Probably my very favorite moment that ever happened on the show was when Bill Clinton came to be a guest,” Bakkedahl recalls. “He walked around the entire office shaking hands, introducing himself to every single person there. While Clinton was making the rounds, one of the executive assistants was standing there. She’s a young, attractive girl, and she had a bare midriff with a big belt buckle on. Clinton just stopped when he got to her and went, ‘I like your belt buckle,’ in front of 20 people. And we all went, ‘Uh, yeeeeeah.'”
“Jon was there too,” Bakkedahl adds. “And I mean, this is the mastery of Jon: He was able to like, ‘Hi, Bill, so let’s …’ as in, let’s move on, let’s not talk to the girl anymore in front of everybody.”
So now you can add “Clinton Whisperer” to Jon Stewart’s already impressive résumé.
A version of this story appeared in Entertainment Weekly issue #1375, available for immediate purchase here. For much, much more from Stewart’s former correspondents on his legacy, see below.