No, I’m not talking about John Oliver, but it is Last Week Tonight and its explosion all over my newsfeed that’s inspired me to write this piece. I am talking, of course (because anybody who watches the show would undoubtedly agree), about Jon Stewart.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a satirical show on Comedy Central airing four times a week, focusing on contemporary politics and national media, primarily in the United States but often on issues of international concern, typically featuring a monologue by Stewart followed by an exchange or a special report by one of the correspondents, and the last segment features an interview with the guest for the episode. The show has won two Peabody Awards, eighteen Emmy Awards (including winning ten years in a row from 2003-2012), and a bunch of other awards I’m not going to name because I don’t know them. The credit for all this does not go to Stewart alone, of course. The Daily Show can boast of having the most talented writers and correspondents. John Oliver was a correspondent at The Daily Show before HBO gave him the opportunity to do Last Week Tonight, and he left with Tim Carvell, one of the writers at The Daily Show, who is now the Head Writer and Producer at Last Week Tonight. (Watch The Daily Show farewell to John Oliver here). The correspondents at The Daily Show also included Stephen Colbert (the host of The Colbert Report which runs on Comedy Central immediately after The Daily Show), Steve Carrel, Ed Helms and many other hilarious people whom you really have to watch on the show.
While the correspondents and writers undoubtedly deserve due credit for their role in the show that isn’t called The Daily Show with Jon Stewart for nothing. Stewart challenges the media and politicians on a variety of issues ranging from racism (watch his insightful take on the recent shooting of an unarmed black man by a police officer in Ferguson here), sexism in politics (watch Stewart slam the media for the double standard by the media against Hillary Clinton here), the incompetence of news channels (It’s really difficult to choose just one for each, but for Fox News, watch here till 12:15; for CNN, watch here; for CNBC, watch here). Stewart is fearless and objective in his segments. He takes on Obama (I give up, you choose from the search results on Youtube here) and stands up in defense of freedom of speech against fundamentalists who issued death threats to the creators of South Park (watch here, ideally after watching the Fox News takedown above).
Stewart brings together two ends of the spectrum of comedy from slapstick genitilia related jokes (watch his hilarious rant at the Mayor of New York for eating pizza with a fork here, then here) to a tongue-in-cheek social commentary on the hypocrisy of political leaders and news organizations. (You know what, I’m not going to choose just one. Watch this appearance by Jon Stewart on the CNN show Crossfire where he delivered to the anchors of the show such sharp criticism of the program that CNN was forced cancel it). This contrast is reflected in this interview of then President Pervez Musharraff in 2006. Admire the build up and wait for it.
I could keep writing but I’m getting the feeling that my writing is poor and the only reason I write more is so that I get to post more links to his videos. But I hope that you’ve watched some of the videos I’ve linked, because if you have, then you don’t need my poor writing to convince you of his greatness. But let me put one last video for you if you have the time. While trying to pick videos to link to this post, I came across this –
‘Jon Stewart’s Story: How the Fake Newsman Won Over America’ –
Jon Stewart is a comic genius whose wit and sense of humour is complemented by his intelligence and matched by nobody else. He is, undoubtedly, the smartest funny guy and the funniest smart guy on television.