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Jon Stewart leaving ‘The Daily Show’

| Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Jon Stewart WEBMary McGraw

Jon Stewart started his comedic career doing stand-up in New York City at the Comedy Cellar. He later developed a television show called “The Jon Stewart Show,” which aired on MTV in 1993. It was the network’s first talk show, but its meteoric rise was quickly extinguished by 1995, and it was cancelled. Stewart worked a few short-lived television shows until finally landing the role as host of “The Daily Show.”

When “The Daily Show” first aired in 1996, it was a brand new show that brought politics to a place in the media where young people were actually interested in watching it.  The show poignantly satirizes the insanity that is U.S. politics. What many people might not know is that the show was originally hosted by Craig Kilborn; Jon Stewart took over as host in 1999. The show has been wildly popular, bringing in guests from all sectors, from President Barack Obama to author Kurt Vonnegut. “The Daily Show” has also played major roles in the careers of many now famous comedians, including John Oliver, who hosts “Last Week Tonight” and actor Steve Carell.

During last Tuesday’s “The Daily Show,” Stewart announced he would be retiring later this year.  He has hosted the show for an astonishing and incredibly entertaining 17 years.

“Seventeen years is the longest I have ever in my life held a job by 16 years and five months. The upshot being that I’m a terrible employee,” Stewart said, characteristically finishing with a joke.

This announcement was met with considerable disappointment on the part of the audience. Thankfully, Stewart will still be hosting the show up until he actually does retire.

“We’re still working out details,” Stewart said on when the final show would be.

Comedians and celebrities also had something to say, or at least tweet, about his retirement. Craig Ferguson, of the “Craig Ferguson Show,” tweeted: “Congratulations to Jon Stewart on an extraordinary groundbreaking run.”

Others were not quite as calm and collected as Ferguson. “NOOOOOO Jon Stewart!! We shall tie you to that chair until they can find someone who can fill your shoes,” tweeted Harry Shum Junior, an actor best known for his work on “Glee.”

Comedy Central sent Stewart off with warm regards in a statement: “[Stewart] is a comedic genius, generous with his time and talent, and will always be a part of the Comedy Central family.”

Stewart has maintained his usual sense of humor on the show since his announcement. Among his first remarks on the Wednesday show included his response to the Internet more or less exploding in reaction to his eventual departure.

“Did I die? ‘Cause it all seems very ‘I died,’” Stewart said.

Beyond that comment, the show was very much business as usual, with Stewart berating Arby’s and the “invented beef” between him and the fast food chain. The show quickly moved back into usual territory: drawing attention to newsworthy politics. He discussed a move by the governor of Kansas that removed an earlier executive order forbidding the state government from discriminating based on sexual orientation.

“… And it being Kansas, I guess Brownback clicked his heels and said, ‘There’s no place like homophobia,’” Stewart said.

Clearly, the show has no plans to enter into the downward spiral that has been predicted on media such as Buzzfeed, Tumblr and Twitter. Since the announcement, these websites have been buzzing with questions about who will take over and what Stewart will do next. One thing is certain. Whoever does take over will certainly have huge shoes to fill.

“I don’t have any specific plans. I got a lot of ideas, I got a lot of things in my head,” Stewart said on what he would do after “The Daily Show.”

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