This week marks one of the most heartbreaking losses America has yet to experience, the saddest of all goodbyes, and hardest of times. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the week we’ve all been dreading – the final goodbye to our beloved Jon Stewart.
Stewart has been the face of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show for the past 16 years, and the show has long been successful even before he took the reins. However, when the young comedian got on board in 1999, the nature of The Daily Show shifted. Shortly after becoming host, he somehow mastered the impossible art of criticizing both right and left-wing media outlets, using comedy as a means of truth-telling.
As the years went on and his role as host continued, Stewart’s job became easier, while also more challenging. It became increasingly difficult to equally criticize both parties, since America wasn’t doing the same. And of course, the satirical comedian grew into the Jon Stewart we’ve all learned to love, breaking down political controversies that at first appeared to be incredibly complicated in a way that showed us how truly simple they were.
He was the most hilarious host on television, but he knew when to put the jokes aside. He didn’t want to only be “the funny guy,” he wanted to tell the truth, in whatever way he could. Year after year, he stunned viewers with his humor, emotion, and fearlessness on-screen. The thought of turning on Comedy Central at 11 p.m. and not seeing his face is… tough, but we can only hope that Trevor Noah, The Daily Show‘s next host, will continue his ridiculously absurd, magnificent legacy.
Now, let’s take a look at some of Jon Stewart’s best moments as host of The Daily Show.
Jon Stewart proved that any story is funnier if told in an Italian accent. His impressions of celebrities, news anchors, and politicians over the past 16 years have been nothing short of “on point,” whether he was outing Lindsey Graham or debuting his racist Donald Sterling impression. No matter who the target happened to be, Stewart always managed to make fun of some of the most impressionable characters in the country.
Let’s not forget the Bush vs. Bush segment, when Stewart pitted the “Old Bush” vs. the “New Bush” in a very controversial, heated political debate. It was undoubtedly a genius move, considering practically everything the “two” said were completely contradictory. Stewart was pretty much a mastermind at this…exposing politicians not by sharing his opinions, but by using their own commentary.
Here’s a real throwback… does anyone remember Jon Stewart’s epic appearance on CNN’s “debate” series Crossfire? Hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala accused Stewart of not asking “serious,” hard-hitting questions, but Stewart completely destroyed the two on air. His infamous plea for them to “just stop” their daily partisan shout-fests was downloaded off CNN by thousands of viewers back in the day, and still goes down in history as one of the tensest arguments between television hosts of all time.
You can thank guest star Ricky Gervais for playing his part in what was possibly the funniest Daily Show interview ever. If you haven’t seen this clip from a few years back, you have to check it out. Gervais and Stewart end up talking about some rather questionable, ridiculous topics… like consensual sex… with pandas. Sounds terrible, but trust us. Just watch it.
Who could forget Stewart’s beloved Guantanamo Bay puppet prisoner Gitmo? The clip below is just one of Gitmo’s many Daily Show appearances, but we’ll always remember him for dressing up in jewels, enjoying his life at the prison, and exacting ultimate revenge against America by using all of our tax dollars.
Stewart’s bit on CNN’s coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was basically unreal. After the plane went missing and CNN “realized they have 23 hours and 59 minutes left to fill,” Stewart mocked the channel’s ridiculous attempts to explain airplanes to the American people through a variety of “demonstrations”… again, another example of the host sitting back, pressing play, and watching people practically expose themselves.
Proving Stewart is funny is not a challenging task, however, he wasn’t always the guy to crack a joke. In the darkest of hours, the comedian knew it was time to put the jokes aside. His show following the terrible 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center was probably one of the most moving segments on TV, and certainly one of his most admirable moments as a television host. His ability to address the most difficult topics head-on has persisted throughout his career, most recently in the segment following the mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.
You could easily argue Jon Stewart is the host that does…or did it all. And as we hoped, he’s going out with a bang. He kicked off his final week on The Daily Show with what he does best – facing off against his long-time friends, the fair and balanced folks at Fox News. Politely, he bid them farewell, shouting “adios, motherfuckers” as the backdrop behind him lit up in flames.
It’s been entertaining, to say the least, to watch the comedian go balls to the wall during his final moments on-screen… but in the end, each giggle and roar of laughter is bittersweet. Young Money truly said it best: “We hate to see you go, but we love to watch you leave.”
Yes, we’re ending this entire story by quoting “BedRock.” Sue us.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO CREDIT: Comedy Central, YouTube