Saturday, August 8, 2015

Moment of Zen: Farewell to "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"

Credit: Comedy Partners (Comedy Central)
NOTE: While the author of "At The Matinee" respects viewpoints from all sides of the political spectrum, this post isn't about politics or anything related to the field of politics, this is related to the field of satire and comedy.  Thank you.

May 22nd, 1992: The "king of late night," Johnny Carson (1925-2005) hosted his final episode ofThe Tonight Show on NBC.

August 6th, 1993: Joe Franklin (1926-2015) retired from hosting his local New York (and later, Secaucus) talk show, The Joe Franklin Show.  Throughout Franklin's 40 years in television from his WABC and WOR/WWOR shows, the pioneering talk show host hosted more than 21,425 programs (more on "the king of nostalgia" here). 

November 18th, 2011: Regis Philbin stepped down from "Live," after co-hosting 17,000 hours of live morning television.

December 18th, 2014: Stephen Colbert hosted his last episode of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central.  That same evening, Craig Ferguson hosted his final episode The Late Late Show on CBS (read the previous blog post here).

May 20th, 2015: After 33 years in late night television (on NBC and CBS), David Letterman bid farewell to The Late Show on CBS.

August 6th, 2015: After sixteen years and over 2,500+ shows on Comedy Central, noted personality Jon Stewart bid farewell to The Daily Show.  One could have said that the evening of Thursday, August 6th was a "golden" evening for comedic satire.

Cover from the DVD box set of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:
Indecision 2004
episodes during the 2004 Presidential campaign.
Stewart is surrounded by his then-Daily Show corespondent
team, consisting of Stephen Colbert, Rob Corddry,
Samantha Bee and Ed Helms.  From the vast 
At The Matinee media vault. 
"So if you smell something, say something." -Jon Stewart, on his final telecast of Comedy Central's The Daily Show.

On the same night that the first televised  Republican 2016 Presidential candidates' debate took place, Stewart bid farewell to his Daily Show colleagues (past and present), along with pre-recorded messages from celebrities, dignitaries, top guests and foes who wanted to bid farewell to Jon Stewart. The tribute included a farewell greeting from the president of the fast-food chain Arby's, Paul Brown (Stewart made hilarious rants about Arby's during his stint as host of The Daily Show).

Throughout Jon Stewart's tenure as host, the majority of Daily Show corespondents throughout the years have credited the show as a springboard to later successes in their careers.

Past and present Daily Show corespondents were on hand to bid farewell to Stewart, including Steve Carrell, Lewis Black, Wyatt Cenac, John Oliver (who has his own successful weekly satirical news series on HBO), Samantha Bee, Jason Jones, Mo Rocca (who is now a correspondent for CBS' Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood), Vance DeGeneres, Larry Wilmore (who now hosts his own post-Daily Show series, The Nightly Show), original Daily Show host Craig Kilborn (who hosted the show from its inception in 1996 until the end of 1998), Ed Helms, Michael Che, Rob Corddry, Nate Corddry, Aasif Mandvi, Jordan Klepper, Dave Attell, Hasan Minhaj, Kristen Schaal, Rob Riggle, Jessica Williams, John Hodgman, Olivia Munn, Al Madrigal, Matt Walsh, Dan Bakkedahl, successor host Trevor Noah, Bassem Youssef, Josh Gad and last but not least- the great Stephen Colbert, sharing his moments with Stewart (apart from Colbert's faux arch-conservative pundit role on the successful Daily Show spin-off, The Colbert Report from 2005-2014).  Colbert will be taking over David Letterman's old Late Show spot on CBS this September.

Promotional leaflet (circa 2005) for
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,which was included with the
Indecision 2004 DVD box set (from the vast At The Matinee

media vault).
There were also pre-recorded appearances by noted celebrities, politicians, pundits and news commentators, including Representative Charles Rangel, New Jersey Governor (and Republican Presidential candidate) Chris Christie, Senator Chuck Schumer, former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State (and current Democratic Presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, MSNBC morning hosts/commentators Joe Scarborough and co-host Mika Brezinski, CNN anchor/reporter Wolf Blitzer, Senator (and Republican Presidential candidate) Lindsay Graham, Secretary of State (and former Massachusetts Senator) John Kerry, Stewart's arch-nemesis Bill O'Riley, and Senator John McCain- all taking a jab at Stewart.

The show ended with legendary musician Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band (one of the band's members, percussionist Max Weinberg, was Conan O'Brien's original bandleader on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien from 1993 to the program's conclusion in 2009) performing a tribute song in honor of Stewart's Daily Show career.

During Stewart's Daily Show career, the show transformed from a niche cable "fake" news program with celebrity and comedic personalities, to one of the most-watched popular television programs in the nation.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart surpassed traditional news platforms over time, as Stewart interviewed political experts, figureheads, authors, pundits, politicians, humanitarians, national and world leaders.  When it came to certain politicians and people in the field of politics- Stewart would put them on the "hotseat," and ask questions that no other anchor/host from a news (or interview-based) program would have asked.

Stewart's show would spawn two best-selling books (with fellow Daily Show correspondents and writers)- America (The Book) in 2004 (the audiobook version won the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word album), and Earth (The Book) in 2010.  Stewart is also praised for charitable causes, it was noted that he helped raise $2.2 million dollars (from his final show) for the organization New York Collaborates for Autism (according to CNBC).

In October 2010, both Stewart and Colbert (in his faux arch-conservative pundit role on The Colbert Report) took their comedic routine to Washington, D.C.- by having the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on the grounds of the National Mall.  It would have been great to have seen both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert in person that year (a "Frederick to Washington" tour bus group was launched for interested patrons to attend the event, but was unfortunately scrapped due to a lack of interest for the event).  Luckily, I purchased a commemorative T-Shirt from the event (via Comedy Central's website).

With Stewart's departure from The Daily Show, the general public may never see another entertaining (and interesting) program like Stewart's Daily Show.  With the zaniness of the 2016 Presidential election coming in, who will we turn to for a satirical look at the election?  I guess Conan O'Brien's TBS show and Colbert's Late Show on CBS (which will premiere this September) will do for my "late night" fix.

At The Matinee salutes Jon Stewart for sixteen great years of The Daily Show.