Thursday, February 12, 2015

Jon Stewart calls it a day

tv time

The Daily Show host shocked his audience with the announcement on Tuesday

“This show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host, and neither do you,” an emotional Jon Stewart told an audibly shocked audience at the recording of Tuesday’s episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, as the 52-year-old made the surprise announcement that he will be stepping down as the host of the long running satirical news program later this year. The revelation left his many fans teary-eyed, but even those who don’t agree with his politics will be hard-pressed to deny his enduring cultural significance.

In his nearly 17 year tenure as a fake newsman, Jon Stewart – who has been helming the Comedy Central series since 1999 when he took over from Craig Kilborn – has helped turn the show into a cultural force with global resonance. Stewart has wielded the power of satire to bring a semblance of sanity to a political world mostly bereft of it, carving a unique place for himself at the crossroad of journalism and entertainment. The Daily Show has consistently had a sharp edge underneath its many layers of silliness, and while Stewart’s liberal stance may not have resounded well with his right-leaning critics, his witty take on the news has remained insightful and refreshing.

From skewering the press and highlighting the media’s hypocrisy to grilling politicians and media personalities, Stewart’s skill has made him “The Most Trusted Name in Fake News”, and his political satire has inspired many young viewers to take an interest in politics. While the topics and themes of his analysis have mostly been U.S.-centric, those whose interests have intersected with America have also found themselves as the subject of his sharp wit. That, of course, has included Pakistan, and it would be hard to forget the moments when he offered green tea and Twinkies to then-President Pervez Musharraf and was left speechless by the remarkableness of female education activist Malala Yousafzai.

Under his watch, The Daily Show has won 18 Primetime Emmy Awards and also served as a talent incubator. Former correspondent Steve Carell has gone on to have a remarkably successful television and film career; Ed Helms, Rob and Nate Corddry, Rob Riggle, and Josh Gad are also all enjoying a fair amount of success in their acting careers; John Oliver now has his own weekly show on HBO (after serving as an interim TDS host while Stewart’s was directing Rosewater in 2013); and Stephen Colbert, who became the host of the brilliant spin-off The Colbert Report, has recently wrapped up the Report to replace the retiring David Letterman on The Late Show.

Stewart’s departure means that Comedy Central is losing its two most prominent faces within months of each other. The exact date of his exit has not been revealed yet, and the network says The Daily Show will continue without him. There is much speculation on who will replace him, but his successor will certainly have big shoes to fill.

As for his own future, there is one thing that Jon Stewart is particularly looking forward to. “I am going to have dinner on a school night with my family, who I have heard from multiple sources are lovely people”. He said he does not have any specific ventures planned, and while we will miss his scathing take on current events, it will still be exciting to see what he does next.

- By Sameen Amer

Instep Today, The News - 12th February, 2015 *

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