After taking over “The Daily Show” from Craig Kilborn, comedian Jon Stewart will be stepping down as host of the news and political satire program.
Stewart made the announcement at Tuesday’s taping of “The Daily Show,” and then Comedy Central followed up with an official press release announcing that Stewart was indeed leaving the show, leaving not too long after his colleague Stephen Colbert ended his show towards the end of 2014.
Here’s what the network said:
“For the better part of the last two decades, we 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.”
It wasn’t too long ago that Stewart took a hiatus from the show over the summer so he could direct his first feature film, Rosewater, which had some unique ties to “The Daily Show.” Former correspondent John Oliver took over the show while he was gone, and while he would have made for a nice replacement following Stewart’s eventual exit, Oliver is doing pretty damn well for himself with his HBO show “Last Week Tonight,” and he’s actually been turning in better, more provocative work than “The Daily Show” has lately.
Now we’ll have to wait and see how long Jon Stewart will stick around on “The Daily Show,” but more importantly, who will replace him? There are several veteran correspondents like Jason Jones, Aasif Mandvi, Samantha Bee, Kristen Schaal, Al Madrigal and Jessica Jones who could take over, but there’s no guarantee that audiences would be keen on any of them as permanent host replacements.
In addition, it’s rather interesting that Bassem Youssef just became a correspondent on last night’s show. Youssef is an Egyptian political satirist, basically the Jon Stewart of Egypt, who had his own show that was pretty much an international version of “The Daily Show.” It would be rather bold to see if he sits well with audiences, and then hand him the show, especially since he has the perfect experience.
Either way, it’s been 16 years since Stewart took over the Comedy Central show, and it’s hard to believe that anyone was every actually skeptical that he could do a good job. With countless Emmy wins and nominations, he’s become a late night mainstay, a powerful voice in news and politics, winning countless Emmys and one of the most influential television pundits in cable history.
As of now, there’s no indication as to when Jon Stewart’s time on “The Daily Show” will be over as the press release vaguely says that he’s staying on until “later this year.” My bet would be that he leaves at the beginning of summer, or maybe just before the fall, but that’s just speculation on my part. For now, let’s just enjoy the time with Jon Stewart that we have left.
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