By emma Buchman
I felt like this day would never come. It seemed as though he would always be there, a steady hand in a turbulent world. Yet the fact remains: Jon Stewart is leaving “The Daily Show.”
Stewart delivered the news very personally by announcing it at the end of his show on Tuesday, Feb. 10. By the end of it, he was close to tears and trying very hard to contain them. The announcement of his departure reflects very clearly the passion and love that he held for “The Daily Show,” its correspondents, and its viewers over the last 17 years. He took over “The Daily Show” from Craig Kilborn in 1999, and the world of comedic politics hasn’t been the same since. He conducts the show with dignity; he not only makes us laugh, but he makes us think as well. He cares about the world of politics and about people in general, and that’s what makes him brilliant.
“The Daily Show” has long been underestimated as a news source. Many have been frightened by the fact that young people tend to trust “The Daily Show,” and formerly “The Colbert Report,” as news sources, rather than more official programs on networks like Fox or CNN, but is there really any reason to be so worried? Stewart has been successful not just by being funny, but also by being extraordinarily intelligent and asking difficult questions, even to the US president. I’ve been to two tapings of “The Daily Show” in New York City, and Stewart even picked me to ask him a question during his Q&A before the taping begins. The respect that I have for him, not only as a comedian but as a human being, makes him a more than reliable news source, for me at least. Besides, the younger demographic isn’t the only one that watches Stewart. I started watching him because my Dad watched him when I was a teenager. He continues to watch Stewart now and was just as sad to hear that he was leaving.
However, not everyone was upset to hear of his departure, and it was among one of the usual suspects. Megyn Kelly from Fox News said in response to his announcement, “I don’t think overall he’s been a force for good.” It’s not really surprising that she would be upset, considering Stewart has ripped her apart on “The Daily Show” for being a hypocrite, among other things. My response to Kelly: if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen, especially when you work for Fox News.
Of course, we all wondered what Stewart was planning on doing once he leaves “The Daily Show.” Stewart said during his announcement that he had nothing specific in mind for his future. He said, “I don’t have any specific plans, got a lot of ideas. I got a lot of things in my head.” Stewart answered a couple of our burning questions in an interview with Catie Lazarus on her podcast “Employee of the Month,” though he mainly went further into detail with what he said in his announcement. He said, “There’s no retirement… I need more flexibility. I’ve got maybe four or five more years with the kids before they really don’t want anything to do with me. I’m just not there. You can’t go 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for 16 years and think you can tell them, ‘You’re going to be able to not smoke pot.’”
The only question now is, who will host “The Daily Show?” Had this been a year or so ago I would have said John Oliver, but with the success of his own show and the fact that he just renewed his contract with HBO for said show, I will say with confidence that he is not in the running. My best bet was on current “The Daily Show” correspondent Jessica Williams, but in two Tweets on Feb. 15 she said, “At this age  if something happens politically that I don’t agree with, I need to go to my room and like not come out for, like, seven days. That being said I am super not right for it, but there are quite a few people who are. Can’t wait to stick around and see what happens.” Essentially, I have no idea and someone else is going to have to find out for me.
I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t care that Stewart will be doing anything else but being on “The Daily Show.” He gave the best reasons for leaving during his announcement. He said, “I’m going to have dinner on a school night with my family who I have heard, from multiple sources, are lovely people.” In regards to his viewers, he thought of them even in his decision to leave. He said, “This show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host, and neither do you.”
While it is still several months away, allow me to pre-emptively say, “So long, Stewbeef. May the path to your future be paved with happy memories and big opportunities, and perhaps just a touch of sarcasm.”