Hey, Jon: what the fuck, man?
OK, when the news broke yesterday, I was shocked...mostly. Yeah, the announcement was out of the blue but to be fair, Jon Stewart's been tap dancing around this topic for months now. In various interviews relating to the release of his directorial debut, Rosewater, the question kept popping up: How long did Jon Stewart plan on staying with The Daily Show. Jon has watched and made fun of enough politicians to know how to tap dance around a question. And Stewart was particularly non-committal to his future plans with the show.
So yeah, the actual news of Jon Stewart's exit is quite a shock. But in retrospect, it seems Jon was trying to prepare the way all along.
But the departure of Jon Stewart from The Daily Show robs us of a very rare resource, a person who was prepared to call "bullshit" on the more stupid extremes of politicians and the media.
There have been attempts by the right wing to paint Stewart as just another cog in the liberal media. But while Jon has had a lot of fun at the expense of Tea Party nut cases and Fox News puppets, he and The Daily Show have called "bullshit" on President Obama and a Democratic Party determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
This element of non-partisan bullshit calling stems from the fact that The Daily Show is not really a news program but a comedy show. Ultimately what matter most is what gets the biggest laugh.
But as stand up comedians have said on occasion, "It's funny because it's true." And this is secret of the power that Jon Stewart and The Daily Show possess. While going for the laugh, they brought us the truth of things, of political posturing, of government mismanagement, of journalistic failures, of pop culture meltdowns. With no agenda other than to be funny, Jon and his show did better than a lot of news outlets at bringing us the unvarnished truth of the world around us.
It's funny because it's true.
And Jon Stewart was a near-perfect person to bring us those laughs and those truths. Jon with his salt and pepper hair and his suits sitting at a desk just like a proper news anchor conveyed a sense of respectability, on sincerity, of trustworthiness. Yet from this anchorman persona would come weird voices and bad puns backed by absurd visuals and even more absurd reporters, all for the purpose of making us laugh even as we're getting an eye opening look at the truth of things.
I'm not sure who will inherit Jon's desk chair but they will have their work cut out for them. How to be sincere AND silly at the same time is a special talent that Stewart seems to employ almost effortlessly. Jon Stewart was BUILT to host The Daily Show. It's hard to imagine someone else performing at that same level.
So Jon Stewart, good luck with your future endeavors and I hope... oh, fuck this.
DON'T GO, JON!
Oh, one more thing: while Jon Stewart plans to walk from his job, Brian Williams is one step closer to being kicked out of his. Tuesday night, NBC announced Williams had been suspended for 6 months without pay. Ouch! OK, it's a suspension for a set period of time but come on. I think it just makes the odds of Williams getting back behind the NBC Nightly News desk quite a bit longer.
All right, now I'm done.
I'll be back here tomorrow. Until then, be good to one another.
I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You