Man, the last few months have been huge moments. First we had Stephen Colbert leaving The Colbert Report. That was a very emotional moment, for me. Colbert was such a brilliant character, and his performance was so good that you could almost believe in him for that persona. He was even able to keep that persona in front of a Congressional Committee. That was amazing. Hell, he kept that persona up when he roasted President Bush! That took some brass fucking balls! He roasted the President of the United States at the Press Correspondence Dinner. Whew! No lie, that was a defining moment for the power of good comedy. His leaving Comedy Central was something that really took a lot out of me, because there will never be another like him. At least, it’s unlikely that there will be. There might be, but I doubt it. I suppose we’ll see.
But just today, there has been another announcement. Jon Stewart, the other side of Comedy Central’s dynamic duo, will be leaving The Daily Show before the end of this year.. That’s right, it’s another great comedic legend, who began the great transformation of what political satire could be, leaving the game and going off to do other things.
There was this amazing interview on NPR that Stewart gave last year, talking about leaving The Daily Show (linked here). In it, he talked about how amazing his career has been, and I have to agree. while Colbert may have overtaken him, Stewart had this rare gift. He never took it personal. In fact, he was glad to be able to help the people he worked with get off the ground and move up in the world. He was on good terms with Colbert and John Oliver, who seems to have taken up the mantle of Stewart’s kind of comedy, only with a more in-depth analysis touch. However he could, he tried to be there for the people he worked with, and it created a repore that few people ever have with their coworkers.
Still, it is pretty hard to see Stewart go. On the one hand, he’s gotta do what’s right by him. On the other, he has been so good at what he does, changing the nature of political satire, that it is going to be really feels-inducing. There are a lot of the people who have set trends and changed the nature of mediums passing on. There was Roger Ebert, about a year ago (if memory serves). He changed the nature of film critique. One could argue that it was him who gave rise to the video film critique style that we enjoy today. Nobody did it like Siskel and Ebert. They set a standard that few have ever been able to encroach on. And just like Stewart and Colbert, it is unlikely that they will ever be replaced.
So much great talent of generations past is on its way out. Just you wait – we’ll be hearing about Morgan Freeman passing on next! No joke, that will be the saddest day ever. Sorry, Jon, but the departure of sexy Morgan Freeman voice can’t be topped in sad-making levels. I keep forgetting that I’m not the young man I used to be. Maybe I am just too critical of the new talent in the acting world. After all, there are good people who are out there. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just introspective due to having a bad day. Uncertain.
In any case, it is going to be sad to see Jon leave The Daily Show. He changed a medium, for all time. His departure marks the end of an era. He was able to bring comedy into the days after 9/11, which is amazing all on its own. He raised up his comrade-in-arms, Stephen Colbert, working with him through both of their careers. Although, Jon didn’t leave the game without a champion. Since John Oliver seems to have taken up the mantle, with his own take on it, perhaps his biggest legacy is that he is still fostering the change of an industry, even as he leaves. That might just be the biggest compliment one can get. I doubt that he’ll ever read this post, but you did good, Jon.
I wish you the very best in your future endeavors. Hopefully your next works will be fruitful. Or hell, if you are retiring, enjoy it. I’d say you’ve earned some R&R.
Until next time, a quote,
“So, we’re gonna take a break, and I’m gonna stop slobbering on myself and the desk, and we’re gonna get back to this. And it’s gonna be fun, and funny, and it’s gonna be the same as it was. And I thank you.” -Jon Stewart, The Daily Show (First episode since 9/11/01)