As evidenced by yesterday’s subtle bombshell, every 17 year era must come to an end. At some point during the year The Daily Show (with Jon Stewart) throne will be abdicated and who knows the identity of his worthy/unworthy/who the hell are you successor. Right now, NBC’s Brian Williams is looking like a sweet candidate but all of that is truly unimportant because this was only round one of Stewart’s eventual riding off into the television sunset.
Stewart and his incarnation of The Daily Show – the comedy show that often dispensed more news and clarity than the network news shows and anchors it skewered – will be remembered for an abundance of reasons, many of them off the wall funny (Indecision 2000, taking on Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly) as he bridged a cavernous information gap between disconnected Millennials and…well, everyone else.
Other reasons were brilliantly insightful and painfully honest (Guantanamo Baywatch) as he also had the emotional heft to be that much-needed voice of comfort during the worst of times. Remember his post-9/11 show? Yeah we wish we didn’t have to, either. He gave us John Oliver, Larry Wilmore and Stephen Colbert and did a better job at breaking through the bullshit than traditional news media did. Politics, religion, foreign affairs, social issues, economics, that unfortunate definition of “Santorum” (ew)…nothing was off limits or unworthy of satire or examination. Anti-journalism at it’s finest and absolute respect must be given to his reasoning that The Daily Show “didn’t deserve an even slightly restless host.” While he gave us many gifts to be thankful for, this may be one of Stewart’s most important contributions to our nation’s well-being and, for it, we are eternally grateful: the cancellation of CNN’s Crossfire.
If anyone has earned the right to stand on the deck of a warship smoking a fat Cuban with a neon pink “Mission Accomplished” banner waving overhead in the background while Beyoncé sings “Drunk In Love” it’s Jon Stewart.
Thanks for coming, Jon. You have served us well and it’s been a pleasure.