Welcome Back to ‘The Daily Show’ Jon Stewart Fans, Don’t Forget to Follow the Actual News This Time

Stewart is back at Comedy Central to cover the 2024 election cycle once per week — maybe his fans can spend the other six nights following real journalists
Welcome Back to ‘The Daily Show’ Jon Stewart Fans, Don’t Forget to Follow the Actual News This Time

As of last night, Jon Stewart is officially semi-unretired from The Daily Show, striking a blow to the already struggling serious news outlets who will see a sharp decline in readers and viewers skimming their headlines on Monday nights.

During his first run on The Daily ShowStewart unintentionally earned himself a position in the greater political discourse as both the voice of rage and reason for left-leaning comedy fans as well as his audience’s primary source of information on everything politics. When Stewart left the satirical news show (emphasis on satirical) in 2015, more than one in ten young adults (between 18 and 29) said that Stewart, The Daily Show and its companion show The Colbert Report were their most trusted news sources over traditional news networks like ABC, CNN, NBC and Fox. Nine years later, Stewart is back at Comedy Central to cover the 2024 election cycle once-weekly when he will educate that ten percent of Millennials about Donald Trump after they presumably missed his first term because Stewart wasn’t there to tell them what to think about it.

With Stewart on a flexible schedule that will see him at the host’s desk only on Mondays, his target demographic may find themselves lost trying to navigate current events the other six days of the week. For those lonely, Jon-less nights, might I suggest that returning Daily Show fans check out any actual news source?

In his first night back, Stewart spent twenty uninterrupted minutes tearing down both Biden and Trump for being the oldest two candidates in a presidential election since the first time they squared off in 2020. Stewart questioned Biden’s much-scrutinized mental faculties while pointing out the hypocrisy of Republicans who attack the president for his poor memory while defending the 77-year-old Trump who hasn’t been able to recall a single fact during his countless depositions over the past decade.

Stewart urged his presumably Biden-backing audience to take criticisms of the president seriously even as he faces an openly fascist opponent, arguing, “The stakes of this election don’t make Donald Trump’s opponent less subject to scrutiny. It actually makes him more subject to scrutiny.” Stewart shifted the focus to irresponsible media coverage of the election, saying simply, “The next nine months … they’re gonna suck.” But for an uncomfortably consequential contingency of voters, the next nine months will be characterized by a weekly check-in with their white-haired, well-read funnyman who will tell them what the last week’s worth of news stories that they did not read will mean for the future of the Biden/Trump election. 

Following the 2004 election cycle, Stewart’s “Indecision 2004” coverage earned him a Peabody Award (one of five in his trophy case) and an Outstanding Achievement in News and Information Award from the Television Critics Association who chose to celebrate The Daily Show's contributions towards current events coverage over actual works of journalism like Meet The PressFrontline and 60 Minutes. Nine years after he first bid The Daily Show farewell, Stewart is still not a journalist, and his white beard, wrinkles and wizened eyes don’t make him somehow more sage-like or authoritative than those who are. 

As Stewart implored his viewers last night, “The work of making this world resemble one that you would prefer to live in is a lunch pail fucking job day in and day out, where thousands of committed, anonymous, smart, and dedicated people bang on closed doors and pick up those that are fallen, and grind away at issues until they get a positive result, and even then, have to stay on to make sure that result holds.”

Stewart insisted that being a good citizen requires vigilance and persistence on a daily basis — not just a once-weekly check-in at 11:00 pm Eastern.


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