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Sturgeon proves Daily Show success

Published 09/06/2015

Nicola Sturgeon is due to be interviewed on the late night chat show hosted by comedian Jon Stewart
Nicola Sturgeon is due to be interviewed on the late night chat show hosted by comedian Jon Stewart

Nicola Sturgeon touched on topics as diverse as US foreign policy, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the taste of haggis in a laughter-filled appearance on one of America's most popular satirical news shows.

Scotland's First Minister went on The Daily Show during her four-day trip to the United States.

But having been mistakenly billed as a comedian, she set the record straight seconds after sitting down to be interviewed.

Provoking laughter from the audience, she told host Jon Stewart: "You billed me on your website as a comedian - so you've raised all these expectations that I'm going to be funny. And I'm a politician, and as you know politicians are rarely very funny."

The SNP leader was interviewed on the second day of her visit, in which she is undertaking a series of engagements in New York and Washington DC.

Ms Sturgeon followed in the footsteps of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown by making an appearance on the late-night chat show, although the former Labour leaders were interviewed after they left office.

Stewart reassured Ms Sturgeon that she would be fine, joking: "You need not worry. They thought I was going to be funny for 17 years."

During the informal chat, the First Minister also discussed the SNP's general election victory last month and her party's ambition for Scotland to become an independent country.

Ms Sturgeon, speaking on the show nine months after the referendum on Scottish independence, said: "Scotland almost invented the modern world - television, telephone, penicillin - all of these things were invented in Scotland. Yes, of course we can stand on our own two feet if we choose to."

She went on to joke about the US's military record after Stewart questioned her about Scottish oil reserves, asking: "How much are we talking about here? May we invade you?"

To laughter and cheers from the audience, Ms Sturgeon retorted: "Not worth your while, don't worry about it.

"I think this is progress because you just heard there Jon, presumably on behalf of the United States, ask permission to invade an oil-producing country. It doesn't usually work that way."

The SNP leader was also questioned on why anyone would choose to eat the Scottish delicacy haggis.

She told Stewart: "Haggis is delicious, have you tasted haggis? It is wonderful. It's spicy, it's tasty, it's absolutely delicious and you get vegetarian haggis as well, so it's another reason for you to come to Edinburgh.

"Scotland has so much to offer. We've got Scotch whisky, we've got haggis, we've got great scenery, we've got wonderful cities, we've got some great comedians of our own - but we can always have another one in the Edinburgh Fringe."

Following her appearance, Ms Sturgeon was roundly praised by viewers.

US journalist Skylar Baker-Jordan, who covers UK politics, said: ''Sturgeon is on top of her game as usual. Insightful, delightful and charming.''

Minnestota-based Ashley Follmer tweeted: ''I wish America had more delightful politicians such as Scotland's Nicola Sturgeon.''

Another viewer joked that she was so impressed with Ms Sturgeon that she might even try the Scottish speciality haggis, provided it was the non-meat version.

Rachel Bee wrote: ''Crushing a little on @NicolaSturgeon on @TheDailyShow. I'd even eat haggis for her---if someone made a #vegan version.''

Today, Ms Sturgeon is hosting a reception to kick off Glasgow School of Art's fundraising appeal in the US before heading to Washington.

There, she will address an audience at the World Bank, attend a meeting at the International Monetary Fund, visit the US Holocaust Museum and make a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Kate Pennell from New York was another viewer who was full of praise for the First Minister's appearance on the show, describing her as "fantastic".

She said: "I couldn't have told you too much about her before - I knew what she looked like and I knew she was pro-independence but I couldn't have told you if she had a sense of humour or not, if she was dour or if she was articulate.

"I thought she was really bubbly and very funny. She was extremely positive and a great ambassador - she did a great job."

The 52-year-old researcher added: "I had no expectation that she would be funny.

"I'm a huge fan of the show but politicians don't tend to be funny. However, she was wonderful - she was upbeat, wearing a great purple suit, and the audience ate her up with a spoon."

A Scot living in New York thought Ms Sturgeon came across well on the programme.

Restaurant owner Angus McIndoe said: "It's a very popular show, even if you don't catch it live there are many repeats and lots of clips online so it's a big one to get on.

"Nicola Sturgeon came off well and definitely has a sense of humour and the Americans ate it up, they thought it was funny.

"Most people don't pay too much attention to what goes on outside the States, no UK politician really has a big profile over here so a visit like this and an appearance on the show is not going to hurt her one bit."

Mr McIndoe, originally from Glasgow, was less impressed by the host's obvious Scottish jokes.

He said: "I think Jon Stewart was a bit of a pushover compared to some other interviews he's done.

"He was a bit shticky I thought, I mean 30 seconds in he made a haggis joke. The audience were laughing, but come on."

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