Jon Stewart leaves ‘The Daily Show’: what now?

March 22, 2015 — by David Fan and Helen Wong

On Feb. 10, Jon Stewart announced that he would be retiring from The Daily Show by the end of this year. When we first heard this news, we were astonished and saddened by the fact that one of our favorite TV hosts was leaving. 

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 6 p.m., young people around the nation rush to their TVs after finishing loads of homework and switch the channel to Comedy Central to watch “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” After the flashy intro, the camera shifts to the brilliant host.

On “The Daily Show,” Stewart lambasts and satirizes the latest news on politics, the media and a spectrum of other stories and topics. Stewart pairs his scathingly accurate and often hilarious commentary with a sensitivity and insight that lends weight to what he says. For instance, one of his most memorable shows was during the North Korean crisis. During this show, Stewart mocked Kim Jung Un by calling him The Nuke kid on the Block. He then went on by making fun of his plans to “attack” the United States.

Sadly, on Feb. 10, Stewart announced that he would be retiring from the show by the end of this year. When we first heard this news, we were astonished and saddened by the fact that one of our favorite TV hosts was leaving. But we aren’t alone. America is losing a voice of clarity that it sorely needs.

Stewart once described what he did as akin to throwing tomatoes at a blackboard from the back of the classroom. He claims, over and over again, that he’s not a reporter — only a comedian. But everyone who’s seen the show knows that he’s more than that.

Stewart’s charming personality and the show’s comical tone have made his show extremely popular among younger audiences. Forty-three percent  of the show’s viewers are under 30, and after the announcement of Stewart’s retirement, students across the country asked in dismay how they are going to get their news. The Daily Show has become much more than a political satirist’s dream. It’s an influential tool of education.

During the start of the last show, Stewart showed clips from FOX News of Republicans reacting to the departure of Jon Stewart. Most of them were criticizing Stewart about how he distorts and changes the truth of the news, which is one of the main reasons he is deciding to leave.

“Their chronically angry war for ideological purity, where every aspect of life becomes a two dimensional battle for America’s soul — it ages you,” Stewart said in one of his shows. “Even watching it is killing me.”  

For now, the reason seems to be that even Stewart is sick of the things he’s been fighting for so long. Perhaps yelling angrily into a camera for 16 years is tiring. That’s understandable. But that also doesn’t mean that fans have to be happy about it.

Luckily, there are other voices out there that “The Daily Show” has helped bring to prominence, John Oliver, the host of Last Week Tonight, foremost among them. After Stephen Colbert ended “The Colbert Report,” “The Nightly Show,” hosted by Larry Wilmore, has done a decent job in replacing the show. Viewers hope they can expect the same when Stewart leaves. Even if it’s losing Stewart, America needs someone to throw tomatoes at the blackboard and be that voice in the back of the classroom, pointing out flaws to the willfully blind.

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