The same year we have to say good-bye to David Letterman, the last of the great talk show hosts, we’ll also be losing Jon Stewart. Last night on The Daily Show, Stewart announced that he would be stepping down from the position he’s held for 17 years.
Taking over for Craig Kilborn (whatever happened to him?), Stewart turned The Daily Show into one of the most powerful political and social debate platforms in the world. Using his impressive political knowledge and acumen, Stewart would routinely stir the pot and create controversy through humor. That sparks dialogue and as an ironic result, The Daily Show, to me, has been the most reliable source of news for over a decade (this announcement coming on the same day that NBC announced it would be suspending Nightly News anchorman Brian Williams for fabricating a story about is time in Iraq).
I knew it couldn’t last forever, but I hate to see it go. It’s been such a staple of reliable, relevant and hilarious lampooning since I was in high school. Stewart didn’t announce a retirement date and said the details were still being worked out. His contract with Comedy Central is up in September. Stewart took a sabbitical from the show last year to direct a feature film, so perhaps he’s headed that way, or maybe, like he said in his announcement he just wants to eat dinner with his family. As far as a successor, I would say Stephen Colbert if he wasn’t already set to take over for Letterman. Jon Oliver hosted the show during Stewart’s break in 2014, so I’d consider him a strong possibility.
At any rate, one of the comedic giants is ending a spectacular run. When he took over, The Daily Show was a fun little show that had a small, cult following. Now Presidential candidates know they have to appear on the show to make their case. Stewart, his writers, his “reporters” (many of which have gone on to fame themselves, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carrell went from Daily Show correspondents to superstardom) had the his guts to consistently highlight the absurdity that advertises itself as news or government.
The show will go on, but Jon Stewart’s run on it will never be equaled. Comedy Central needs to put out some “Best of the Daily Show” Blu Rays so we can revisit the best bits that have made us laugh over the years. Jon’s made me smile on many a day when I thought that was impossible and for that I have to thank him and I wish him all the luck in the world with whatever direction he decides to take.