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Tonight, the world witnessed one of the more depressing TV announcements in recent years, as Jon Stewart officially said he's ending his reign as the anchor of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. To be expected, Stewart’s announcement to his studio audience was worlds more emotional than the statement released by the network. Watch his heartfelt delivery below.
It would have been one thing if Stewart had let the news leak out over the weekend, but the studio audience was in the dark on his plans of departure. (Just as Internet surfers were earlier today, just without all the silver foxery.) The way he begins this wrap-up already seems suspect, as anyone looking back over the course of their career is almost never about to deliver great news, and the “aww” reaction kicks in once he talks about letting “someone else have that opportunity.” He quiets them with gibberish and a raised finger, and he could just as easily be quelling his own emotional state.
Though he makes jokes about his plans involving having “dinner on a school night” with a family that his sources tell him are “lovely people,” Stewart keeps his words grounded, his appreciation for his Daily Show family apparent, and his point of view clear. Never more so than when he says the following.
This show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host, and neither do you.
Which isn’t to say that Stewart has ever phoned it in as the host of The Daily Show, but his journeys outside the Comedy Central studios are just calling a bit more loudly, I guess. Like directing his first feature, for instance, which is when talks of his departure first began. Luckily, there’s a chance he’ll be around for many more months this year.
As Stewart put it, the details are still being worked out. Though he mentions his contract ending in September, he says things could end at any point, really. I’m guessing Comedy Central execs will be mulling over how to replace Stewart for the next few months, and we’ll find out more once those talks are over. The more the merrier, by the by, if any of those execs are reading.
Let’s take a moment to remember Jon Stewart in the days before he took over for Craig Kilborn, in a Daily Show interview from 1998.
After arguably failing as a talk show host on MTV’s excellent Jon Stewart Show, Stewart conquered the format for the better part of two decades, and now he’ll presumably go on to conquer other areas of entertainment. And if he happens to hang around television, like Stephen Colbert and John Oliver, we’ll be here to talk about it.