Daily Show named dog-friendliest workplace
So given that today is Take Your Dog to Work Day, and given that’s the practice nearly every day in the New York studios of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, it’s not surprising that, for its 15th anniversary special issue, The Bark magazine features the dogs of the show’s staff members on its cover.
Late last year, The Daily Show — it has more than a few fans of the magazine on its staff, and vice versa – invited The Bark to come meet the many dogs that roam its workplace.
Editor-in-Chief, Claudia Kawczynska jumped at the opportunity — and the result is a 10-page exclusive on the dogs of The Daily Show in this month’s issue.
The magazine also proclaimed The Daily Show the nation’s dog-friendliest workplace.
Kawczynska reports that The Daily Show officially turned dog friendly about 15 years ago when production manager Georgia Pappas asked permission to bring her Tibetan Terrier, Cosmo, to work with her.
Given both Jon Stewart and the studio’s building manager, Adriane Truex, are big dog fans, permission was granted, opening the door for other staff members to bring their dogs along to work. Today, dogs are welcomed in Jon Stewart’s office and just about everywhere else, Kawczynska notes:
“These days, the first thing new employees, show guests and visitors notice are the dogs. Free-ranging and ubiquitous, they have become an integral part of the office landscape: roaming, playing or lying about, with toys scattered everywhere. They attend staff meetings, share office chairs, charm the celeb guests –in short, The Daily Show is pretty much dog nirvana.”
About a dozen dogs might be there on any given day — and the regulars include Parker, Kweli and Ally. (You can find a slide show featuring all of them here.)
Co-executive producer Jen Flanz said the inviting atmosphere inspired her to adopt Parker, a Lab mix, from Manhattan Animal Care & Control. The only downside, Flanz noted, is that “our dogs are used to being here, being around people all day, running around and getting attention from a hundred people. So when we have time off, she bounces off the walls. They get so much activity and stimulation here.”
Artistic coordinator, Justin Chabot got his Golden Retriever, Kweli, when he was still a student in Boston. Kweli accompanies him almost everywhere, and has been trained to stick by his side when off-leash, even in Times Square. Kweli has also mastered riding on the back of Chabot’s motorcycle.
Supervising producer Tim Greenberg’s dog, Ally, a rescued Pointer-mix, is a more recent addition. Ally had fear issues and initally he only brought her to the office on slow days. Gradually, he added more time to her “work” schedule. He thinks the office visits have helped build up her self-confidence.
Good training is essential to making the office-dog dynamic work, the article notes, and employees see it as a privilege they don’t want to lose.
“We all feel this responsibility to keep the dogs pretty well-behaved,” Flanz noted. “If someone comes in and thinks this is a free-for-all, they would be mistaken.”
Greenberg noted that ”like the show itself, there really is a strict discipline underlying what looks like a free-form.”
“From my perspective, it seemed that the office camaraderie, conviviality and general bonhomie — laughter can be heard everywhere — inspires and affects both the people and the dogs … Everyone I spoke with agrees that having dogs as co-workers may have something to do with the show’s ongoing success. Not only are they great de-stressors, good for morale, comforting and relaxing, the dogs contribute their own dose of inimitable comic relief to a group that’s focused on creating and showcasing comedy”
Some guests on the show get more excited about the dogs than others. Those who staff members said most seemed to “get-down-with-the-dogs” are Jennifer Aniston, NBC news anchor Brian Williams, designer guy Tim Gunn, Ricky Gervais, Betty White and President Obama, a senator at the time.
The only guest to ever bring a dog on the set has been Ted Koppel, who came with his granddog, a black pup named Pepper.
Kawczynska got to meet Stewart, but his two French Bulldogs, Smudge and Barkley, were not there.
(Photos: Magazine cover, a French bulldog named Zuzu, and group shot of staff and dogs; by KC Bailey, courtesy of The Bark)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, betty white, Claudia Kawczynska, comedy central, daily show, dog, dog friendly, dogs, editor, guests, interviews, jennifer aniston, john oliver, jon stewart, magazine, obama, pets, staff, studio, take your dog to work day, ted koppel, television, the bark, the daily show, tim gunn, visit, work, workplace, wyatt cenac