Jon Stewart is approaching the end of his iconic Daily Show run, and he’s already planned his next move – with Willie Nelson. “When I’m done with this damn thing, I’m gonna come and…ride around on [your] bus,” Stewart told the country legend during an interview from Tuesday’s episode. The singer dropped by to promote his new memoir, It’s a Long Story: My Life – much to the delight of the host, a longtime fan, who asked questions about Nelson’s early songwriting, the Outlaw Country movement, his trusted guitar and his love of marijuana.
“You’ve been writing songs like crazy since the Fifties, touring relentlessly, putting out the most prolific music [in] different styles,” Stewart says in the above clip, before a well-timed pause. “How does someone who smokes so much pot get this much done?”
“I don’t know, what are we drinking?” Nelson cracks. The musician says he started writing around age seven, pairing poetry with melodies and guitar parts. “I never had a problem writing songs,” he notes. “Whether they’re good or not, I don’t know. But writing a song wasn’t hard work.”
Despite Nelson’s reputation as a hard-partying country outlaw, he’s built a career that stretches back over a half-century. “When you look back at all the guys you played with, [do] you think to yourself, ‘Yep, me and Merle [Haggard], we’ll live the longest’?” Stewart jokes. “I didn’t know that was going to happen,” Nelson says with a hearty laugh. “That surprised both of us. We looked around and said, ‘There ain’t nobody left but me and you, bubba! You be careful.'”
Stewart also asks about Trigger, Nelson’s Martin brand nylon-string classical guitar, which he’s used since 1969. “Is this not really Trigger?” Stewart asks. “Is this like [a] Lassie [situation]?” The instrument is still kicking decades later, following a series of rebuilds and the survival of the instrument in a fire. “My house burned, and Trigger was in the house,” Nelson says. “So I went in the house and got Trigger.”
“I’m sure your family and your animals were like, ‘What the fuck? He’s leaving with a guitar!'” Stewart jokes.