Something one of my heroes has said during each and every episode of The Daily Show.
Tonight, as of 12:01pm EST on the 7th of August 2015, that assurance ceases to exist in its current familiar form.
The Daily Show will live on, as will Mr. Jon Stewart. In my list of the Top 5 people (who I have never met and were living at some point during my 24+ years) that have greatly influenced me artistically, creatively, and/or intellectually during my lifetime, Stewart joins the likes of Christopher Hitchens, Barack Obama, Casey Neistat, and Till Lindemann.
Jon Stewart was the narration to my political awakening when I was in the 8th grade during the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election. I had been watching Stewart for years prior, but without realization of the witty nuance of his commentary. The earliest indelible memory of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart that I have - like many other fans - is that of the first post-9/11 episode. For the past month I have been watching The Daily Show's 'Month of Zen' web stream, which featured every episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart from start 11 January 1999 to now, in marathon fashion without geographic restrictions. I have the live webstream on my MacBook Pro as I fall asleep at night and it is likewise there to greet me in the morning. My recent weeks' repertoire is a great departure from the distant nights at my Grandmother's remote Sauble Beach cottage adjusting a bunny-ear antenna on a television set many decades my senior just to have a luxury beyond just electricity.
Like other articles that have been written in the past few months since Stewart announced his retirement plans, now is where I start to create a playlist of assorted episodes... However, I will do no such thing. But only because I have already done so previously: TheNolanK - May 2012 & Mic - June 2012.
I could comment on how Jon Stewart has utilized The Daily Show format to transcend comedy and politics ascending to unparalleled and unprecedented status... However, I will do no such thing. But only because I have already done so previously - in print and online: Mic - April 2012, TheNolanK - April 2012, OU Daily - May 2012, UWire - May 2012, & The Santa Clara - May 2012.
Instead, I will take relief in how I am parting ways with Jon Stewart. I subscribe to the old maxim that suggests "You should never meet your heroes". While I abide by that maxim, I do reserve the right to amend my position on heroes. In the case of Christopher Hitchens, my vicarious connection via exhaustive texts, Opinion Articles, YouTube Debates, and feature-length documentaries was ripped away from me due to Hitch's untimely defeat at the hands of the spectre of death. Speculation has already gripped the internet in regards to what Stewart's next move might be, with recent reports suggesting a return to stand-up comedy.
Stewart was never more damning than during his relentless (and necessarily crucial) critique of the Bush administration in the lead-up to the Iraq War, the invasion of Iraq, the declaration of 'Mission Accomplished', and the subsequently poor handling of a destabilized Middle East. Even when Stewart let the sitting duck subjects of satire that were, and often still are, President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney have a pass for that week's egregious Iraqi errors, Stewart would focus his efforts on truly important issues such as healthcare efforts for Veterans Affairs and 9/11 First Responders.
The main line of contention that Stewart's critics had was that he would often depart from basic political satire into activist commentary while hiding behind the job title 'Comedian'. Other than the hilarious fact that it was often Fox News personalities that accused Stewart of poor journalistic standards, selling a biased narrative, or (more recently) representing a political entity, Stewart never backed down from a challenge, never used miscontextualization to make his point, and never ceased to be genuine. In fact, that is the justification that Stewart has offered for his retirement, citing that The Daily Show "doesn't deserve an even slightly restless host, and neither do you [the audience]".
|"You coulda had all this!"|
From the bottom of my heart, truly and sincerely, I thank you for the amazing ride that was The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - and may you enjoy retirement and enjoy the time with your family you so manifestly deserve.