Sun sets on the Daily Show

The Southerner


Imagine that you’re 5 years old in a candy store. Your parents have just told you that you can have all the candy you want. Instead of sprinting off to fill your hands with candy, you stand there, paralyzed by the sheer volume of candy you have available. I’m convinced that’s the reason Jon Stewart announced he was leaving The Daily Show. Now that Donald Trump is running for president, the sheer number of possibilities to cover his campaign must have been overwhelming.

Jon Stewart took over as the host of The Daily Show in January of 1999. In the 16 years between then and now, America has experienced 9/11, the Iraq war, the war in Afghanistan, the Bush presidency, the election and reelection of our first black president, a global financial meltdown, and Donald Trump running for president.

In the same amount of time, The Daily Show has won 18 Emmys and established a unique place in popular culture. No other news show, even a comedy show, has had such a sustained level of popularity for such an extended time. It’s a testament to Stewart and to the writers of the show that the quality remained so high for 16 years. The Daily Show has evolved from a forum for making fun of inept local news anchors to a cultural powerhouse that has hosted a sitting president twice, Vice President Biden   multiple times, and numerous members of the United States Congress.

And now, like all good things, “Stewart’s run has come to an end. Stewart announced that he was leaving The Daily Show in February, and his last episode aired on August 6th. Stewart said he’d like to focus on other projects, such as producing and directing movies, following his 2014 directorial debut, Rosewater, a film about an imprisoned Iranian journalist.

The Daily Show is not being cancelled. It will be taken over by South African comedian Trevor Noah, who will start hosting on September 28th of this year.

Without Jon Stewart to guide me through the landscape of politics, I feel rudderless. I’ve lived my entire life hearing Jon Stewart tear into nearly every newsworthy issue gripping the country, from Hurricane Katrina to the 2012 election. I realize in hindsight that I’ve followed all national elections since 2008 with a high level of interest, mainly because I wanted to hear what Stewart had to say about the candidates. I’m going to vote in the next presidential election, and I don’t want to live through a barrage of campaign ads without The Daily Show to lighten the mood for me.

That’s not to say I think the show’s going to head downhill from here. Trevor Noah is a very funny comedian, by any metric, and I wish him the best. I’ll be tuning in to see him come September 28th. The shoes he has to fill are enormous, and I’m very excited to see him grow over the next few years in the same way Stewart did. The Daily Show will continue, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget Jon Stewart.

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