Jon Stewart: Onward and upward

Richard Lautens/ Getty Images
Richard Lautens/ Getty Images

Today was an emotional day. Evening news lost one of its most intelligent, insightful, entertaining anchors. And I don’t mean Brian Williams, who was suspended today for 6 months without pay.

No, I mean Jon Stewart. He announced today that after 17 years in the trenches, he will be leaving The Daily Show later this year. And I’m heartbroken. He is my mainstay Monday through Thursday nights. He tells me what is important, what I need to be concerned about. He explains complicated issues in ways that are both entertaining and easy to understand. He takes mainstream media to task when they don’t toe the mark. He happily skewers anyone who needs to be taken down a peg, from the president of the US on down, regularly putting pompous politicians in their place. And he is so good at all that that some politicians and most of his fans think of him as a mainstream news source. He is the people’s voice and their champion.

In 2008 the Pew Research Center reported:

When Americans last year were asked to name the journalist they most admired, a comedian showed up at No. 4 on the list. Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central and former master of ceremonies at Academy Award shows, tied in the rankings with anchormen Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather and cable host Anderson Cooper.

The field has narrowed considerably since. And last fall there were even reports that he’d been approached by NBC about possibly hosting Meet the Press after David Gregory’s departure.

Stewart said last year he was getting burned out on The Daily Show, and after 17 years, that’s understandable. He’s mentored a number of young protegés and watched them go on to success elsewhere. It’s his turn now. He directed a movie in 2013. Perhaps he wants to make more. Or maybe he’s thinking about going into politics. The 2016 election season is already heating up, and he could run rings around half the people in Washington. Blindfolded. And backwards. In a way, that’s what he’s been doing for the last 15 years.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time he put his considerable talents into a legitimate news program.

I don’t know what I’ll do without Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, but the world is his oyster. I can’t wait to see what he does with it.


 The announcement:

16 thoughts on “Jon Stewart: Onward and upward

  1. I’ve been expecting this since he came back from directing his movie. Hate to see it happen, but the show was here before he took over, and it’ll be here after he’s gone — at least for a little while. It’s kinda like when Johnny Carson left the Tonight Show. Some people will stop watching, some will start.

    But I’m still going to miss him doing what he does best…

    1. In my mind, he IS the show. I didnt’ watch it before he came along. I watched it because he was on it. I don’t expect to watch it after he leaves. But if he does something else that I can watch, I’ll be there.

    1. I never bothered with the clips. I watched the whole show when it aired. He’s been part of my evening routine for years. Such a rare combination of knowledge, insight, and humor. He can interview people better than anyone else I can think of, ask the most probing questions without letting the guest evade, and lighten it all with enough humor to avoid offense. It’s a gift.

  2. Ah, future shock! Jon Stewart has been my “most trusted man in news” for so long that I actually fear what will become of the “real news” – not to mention politics – without him keeping them in line! O_o

    1. I feel exactly the same way. There’s scarcely any “real” news left. We may get the headlines, but what follows is usually slanted, opinionated, biased, bloviated, exaggerated, sensationalized, narrow-minded, bigoted, inaccurate … Did I miss anything?

      1. I’ve never seen “bloviated” used the way I just used it, but it said what I wanted to say, so I used it anyway. Use “bloviates” to describe what any politician says and you’ll be dead on.

  3. A surprise all right. Only magazine news and “forwarded from other sources news” left now.
    Did you see the tweet going around expressing dismay and refusal to accept his resignation sent from …”literally everyone”?
    Have to admire him not wanting to stay if he felt enthusiasm waning.
    Can’t see where he lands next.

    1. No, I missed the tweet. Rarely look at Twitter. But I’d be joining in with the dismay. And I’d want to “refuse to accept his resignation” but understand his need to do something new.

  4. Yep, I’m going to miss him, too. I love Bill Maher, but his show is a different concept, and only on once a week. He’s bit more acerbic, too. Jon Stewart is my happy, good-natured, comfort host.

    1. I don’t get HBO so rarely see Maher, and he’s a bit too mean-spirited sometimes to suit me. Stewart is just my cup of tea and I’m really going to miss him in his current format. I watch the Daily Show because to me it’s the Jon Stewart show. I’ll be following him, whatever he does next.

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