"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Jon Stewart Leaving The Daily Show at End of Year

It is a true end of an era as Jon Stewart announced today that he is not renewing his contract with Comedy Central to remain the host of The Daily Show. No reasons have been given nor a final air date of his show provided. After nearly 17 years of shining a comedic light on the failures of the media to do their most basic job and our leadership often refusing to lead to the point where The Daily Show is not just a trusted source of information but often the only source you can go too despite the 24 hours news cycle it lampoons (that such a sentence exists and is true is why no one trusts the media anymore).

His first show aired on January 11, 1999 and I missed that. It was not until sometime in 2000 I started watching. I have not missed a new episode in the 15 years that followed. Knowing that someday soon he will not be there to watch and inform simply makes me sad. It is almost like a favorite celebrity has died.

His legacy will live on. Before him the effort to police the media was lackluster at best, now its a thriving industry. Before him it was a regular thing to make fun of our ineffective politicians but most of the time it was of the pop culture variety. He started the trend to also humorously question their decision making and the often questionable motivations. In effect he often questioned why the media didn't do their job and then turned around and did the job for them. It is too early to predict his replacement but he (or she) has some mighty shoulders to stand on and a true north example to follow. Television and the "news" is losing a great one this year, one that cannot really be replaced but its in everyone's best interest for as many of our best and brightest to try.

From Comedy Central:
For the better part of the last two decades, I have had the incredible honor and privilege of working with Jon Stewart. His comedic brilliance is second to none. Jon has been at the heart of Comedy Central, championing and nurturing the best talent in the industry, in front of and behind the camera. Through his unique voice and vision,The Daily Show has become a cultural touchstone for millions of fans and an unparalleled platform for political comedy that will endure for years to come. Jon will remain at the helm of The Daily Show until later this year. He is a comic genius, generous with his time and talent, and will always be a part of the Comedy Central family.
My most memorable Jon Stewart moment continues to stick with me after all these years when he opened his first post 9/11 show (I would embed it but it auto-starts) with a message of sadness but also of hope. Its worth watching even all these years later. Other top moments can be found here.

Here is the transcript of Stewart's announcement on 2/10/15's show.
“Dough Herzog and Michele Ganeless of Comedy Central gave me an incredible opportunity 17 years ago to pilot this wonderful franchise,” Stewart said as his audience grew very quiet. “And 17 years is the longest I have ever in my life held a job, by 16 years and five months. The upshot there being I am a terrible employee.

“But in my heart I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity. Not right away. We’re still working out the details. I’m up in September. It might be around then, it might be December, it might be July — we’re still working out the details. I don’t have specific plans — I’ve got a lot of ideas….I’m going to have a dinner, on a school night, with my family, who, I have heard from multiple sources, are lovely people.

“I’m not going to be here and try and sum up what this place has meant to me over the years. I couldn’t do that and…I’m not going anywhere tomorrow. But this show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host and neither do you. I don’t think I’m going to miss being on television every day. I’m going to miss coming here every day. I love the people here. They are the best, creative and collaborative and kind. I love them, and respect them so much.”

“It’s been an absolute privilege — the honor of my professional life,” Stewart continued. “I thank you for watching it, for hate-watching it — whatever reason you were tuning in. You get in this business with the idea that maybe you have a point of view, and something to express, and maybe you receive feedback. That is the greatest feeling you can ask for, and I thank you.”
Here is to hoping he changes his mind.

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