Jon Stewart has put in an amazing 16 years as host of the Daily Show and is single handedly responsible for turning the program from a full length knock-off of SNL’s Weekend Update into one of the most influential political comedy shows in history. As Stewart winds down his lengthy tenure and prepares to handover the reins to Trevor Noah, Comedy Central is embracing streaming technology to give him the epic send-off he deserves with a month-long live stream of his entire Daily Show run.
Comedy Central will kick off what it’s calling Your Month of Zen with Stewart’s very first day behind the Daily Show desk way back in January of 1999. The network plans to stream all 2000+ episodes of Stewart’s run, leading up to his final episode on August 6th. Because I am very, very old, I am excited to relive the many ages of Stewartopia, from his early days, to the high water mark during the George W Bush years and his scathing coverage of the 2008 election. Here’s a few things to look forward to as we revisit 16 years of Jon Stewart:
His early interviews with future megastars. Here’s Stewart with Joseph Gordon-Levitt who was fresh off 3rd Rock From The Sun and starring in teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You
Stewart was one of the first to return to the air after 9/11 and his speech was both sobering, heartfelt and funny in exactly the way we needed.
Never forget that the Stewart years also feature a pre-Colbert Report Stephen Colbert as one of Stewart’s first and most recognizable correspondents. In the 16 years Stewart hosted the Daily Show, Colbert created his own massively popular series and most recently left it behind to take over for David Letterman on the iconic Late Show.
The Stewart era also gave rise to future success stories like former “British Correspondent” John Oliver, who is currently slaying the comedy news business with Last Week Tonight over on HBO.
Stewart’s Daily Show also served as a launchpad for Colbert’s unofficial Comedy Central replacement, Larry Wilmore of The Nightly Show.
Stewart’s impact wasn’t’ confined to his own air. There was this epic segment in which he utterly owned the hosts of now-defunct “debate” program Crossfire in the first of what would be many impassioned pleas for better TV journalism.
Speaking of bad journalists, Stewart even had the opportunity to take Bill O’Reilly down a peg in this 2013 interview.
With so much Stewart to love it’s a thrill to have the chance to relive every minute of his iconic run. The fun kicks off today at 12 pm on the Daily Show’s Comedy Central website.