Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Jon Stewart is leaving "The Daily Show" … by gimleteye

The news cycle lit up with the announcement that Jon Stewart will leave "The Daily Show" in 2015. For millions of viewers for whom the show is the most reliable source of news in America, a pall descends. I join the mourners.

But I will not write the eulogy of an entertainer in the prime of his life.

It's been evident for some time that Jon Stewart has been restless on a show that made a lasting mark in the history of television. Talk about one per centers! (BTW, we predicted the end was near last April, here.)

The subject material, the writing, the skill in wrapping deep social critiques in humor (especially, the fact that "The Daily Show" has been the only steady, persistent voice against the cultural tragedy of Fox News): however you feel about Jon Stewart's pending departure, the guy deserves props from here to Kennedy Center and the White House and everywhere in between.

Perhaps Jon (we can use the familiar) felt he had grown old enough on "The Daily Show". Perhaps watching some of the stars he helped create move on in their own careers, he felt it was time to make room for growth in his own. That said, it is hard to imagine -- and Jon Stewart has said so himself -- there will ever be a platform as tailor-made, bespoke if you will, as the carte blanche provided him by Comedy Central.

You could feel the chafing. His connections to an audience of millions and familiarity was that deep, you could feel beneath the nightly doses of humor, his patience slipping away. Jon can't fake it, and that is what pushed him to pull the curtain down on a brilliant run.

My suggestion -- and I'm sure Jon Stewart is hanging on the edge of his seat -- is to do something altogether different.

For example, I can imagine Jon Stewart taking over Bill Moyers' chair at PBS; going full monte on the state of American democracy.

He could also lead a foundation or non-profit engaged in campaign finance reform since practically every single subject of ridicule and laughter on "The Daily Show" ties back to the corruption of democracy by big money and corporations as people. There are plenty of good and credible organizations that desperately need the personality to provide higher public visibility and could provide a bully pulpit. (He could also run for US Senate like Al Franken, but I doubt he would have the patience.)

Running a high-visibility foundation wouldn't give him millions of viewers a night to measure his success, but he would be taking a swing at the biggest issue of our time and if he connected, his impact would be momentous. Maybe it's aiming too high. What I hope Jon Stewart doesn't do, is a Jerry Seinfeld; a post-big fortune career of going smaller. Jon Stewart, go bigger.

Mostly I'm thankful because "The Daily Show" under Jon Stewart's leadership and an incredible support cast helped me find laughter at American political life as a tonic for despair, angst and bitterness. I will take that gratitude and respect, right to the end.


Anonymous said...

Oh no. Now where am I going to get my nightly 11 minute fix hearing what the upper East side pseudo-intellectual left wing jews think about the republican party?

Anonymous said...

To above Anon..Try the New York Times.

Geniusofdespair said...

First Anonymous, here is a word for you:


Anonymous said...

To first anonymous: get the paper version of the Wall Street Journal.

Anonymous said...

He's leaving because his ratings are down.
His ratings are down because Americans are waking up.
Fox News' ratings continue to rise.
The End.

Anonymous said...

Fox News = < Pravda

Gimleteye said...

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will raise money on Wall Street on Wednesday at an eye-popping $100,000 per-ticket Park Avenue event hosted by private equity mogul Henry Kravis and his wife.
The price of admission to the event, which will raise funds for Bush’s “Right to Rise” super PAC, surprised even Wall Street veterans used to high-dollar fundraisers.

Read more:

Anonymous said...

lol, Fox News. Anonymous shows what a clown he/she is.

He probably enjoyed making his recent movie and said to hell with this nightly show nonsense why the rest of the media continues to get even more dumb.

I hung out with him one night about 20 years ago when he was doing standup. Nice guy, he got pretty drunk.

Anonymous said...

Well. Pick and chose Fox commentators vs their news presenters... At least, they are not the station asking the US attorney general to Quack like a duck or other silly crap.

Fox is alarmist, but as a Dem, I am beginning think, someone has to be. We are stupid as a nation. And I am shocked that we have a president that seems to shrug his shoulders and show no concern about the Middle East, South America or our border security.

His staff, seem to be ignorant kids that like him, want the world to be one way, but can't deal with the reality.