Tonight it ended. 16 years of the finest, most objective American journalism disguised as a comedy show. The greatest political and social satire of our generation. Jon Stewart signed off after his 2599th episode of The Daily Show, the most trusted source of news for Millenials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers alike. Though the show will continue, it will never be the same, and neither will we.
There has been a vast disturbance in the Force…
A stand up comedian from New Jersey, Jon worked the comedy club circuit for years as he tried to climb the show biz ladder. Appearances on MTV led to a short stint hosting his own show in the mid 90’s. But after 16 episodes it was back to guest appearances and one forgettable role as an “enhancement smoker” in the stoner feature film, Half Baked.
Then in 1999 the role of a lifetime showed up. Jon took over as host of a little watched show on a crappy cable channel hosted by Craig Kilborn (remember this guy? No?). He turned The Daily Show into a category all it’s own, put Comedy Central on the map, and collected a Grammy, two Peabody Awards, and 17 Emmys along the way.
Jon, as Stephen Colbert aptly described him, was, “infuriatingly good at his job”. He became a force in American politics and shaped the national discussion on a range of issues. He called out business leaders for corruption, politicians for hypocrisy, and Fox News for lying. He became so influential that President Obama called him to the White House twice to consult on media.
He also discovered and launched the careers of some of the smartest, funniest performers you never heard of before the Daily Show, such as:
- Steve Carell – The Office, Anchorman, Despicable Me
- Stephen Colbert – The Colbert Report, The Late Show
- Rob Cordrey – Hot Tub Time Machine I & II
- Ed Helms – The Office, The Hangover I, II & III
- John Oliver – HBO Last Week Tonight
- Lewis Black – Inside Out
- John Riggle – SNL, SuperBad, 21 & 22 Jump Street
- Jason Jones – Pitch Perfect I & II, Hot Tub Time Machine II
- Samantha Bee – Sesame Street, Bob’s Burgers, Law and Order
- Kristen Schaal – 30 Rock, Bob’s Burgers, Last Man on Earth
In closing, Jon, chose not to say goodbye. He wanted to avoid the painful idea of the finality of it all. Instead he summed up his work as a conversation with his audience, and said, “We’re just taking a small pause in the conversation” And then Bruce Springsteen, a fellow Jersey boy, played the show to its final credits…