Monday, February 16, 2015

Bye Bye Johnny

At the opening of his show last Wednesday night, Jon Stewart wondered aloud: "Did I die?" He may have been experiencing an out of body sensation, since the night before he had announced that he was leaving that very show. Not anytime soon, he assured his studio audience and the rest of us watching at home. Still, when the news hit Al Gore's Internet, the relaxed and casual spin Jon may have hoped to put on the announcement began to speed up. It became huge news. Alas, Brian Williams was not around to comment on it from his NBC anchor perch, but there were plenty of outlets who wanted to weigh in. 
Did he die? Well, that depends on your definition. Will this be a career-death? Does that matter? Jon Stewart has been hosting "The Daily Show" for a lifetime, depending on your species. Walking away now seems not only honorable, but his assertion that the show deserved anything less than an attentive host showed that his heart and mind were on the quality of the show. The fake news show, as he has described it so often. 
Why would it matter that after sixteen years and a boatload of Emmy, Peabody and other awards, this comedian was hanging up his newscaster jacket and tie? Could it be that in the scheme of things, Jon Stewart matters? His voice, whether you agree with it or not is a part of our national and even international dialogue? The metaphor of court jester has been overworked over the run of The Daily Show, but over the past decade and a half, it's been nice to have a place where the serious is meted out with a dash of whimsy. Sarcasm with the acrimony. The Daily Show has been a place where "the news" was broken down into digestible bits. Even if at times they were hard to swallow.
Like the news that Jon Stewart won't be there on my DVR each morning. Like all the comedians he helped launch, Jon will find something else to do. It will probably be funny. Or at least I will probably think it is. That's why I will miss Jon Stewart. Whenever he does decide to leave. It's not like he died or anything. 

No comments: