Home Forums Television Series Finale of THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART


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  • Atypical
    Dec 1st, 2011

    Series finale is tonight @
    11 PM ET on Comedy Central; marathon all day prior to finale; penultimate
    episode with Louis C.K. re-airs before finale.

    How Jon Stewart jolted late night

    Donna Freydkin, USA TODAY 10:34 a.m. EDT August 6, 2015

    No one knows what Jon Stewart’s next move will be.

    But when he crumples up his last script, tosses off his
    final riposte and leaves the Daily Show desk he’s sat behind since
    January 1999, it won’t be to join the ranks of the politicians he eviscerated.

    “I understand that we’re armchair quarterbacks. When
    are you going to be the head coach? I’m not as good at that. I’m really better
    at talking (expletive),” said Stewart back in November.

    His impact, which Stewart is the first to downplay, has
    been immense. And since taking over for Craig Kilborn—Stewart’s successor,
    Trevor Noah, takes over on Sept. 28—Stewart has taken politicians to task,
    explained the arcane workings of Congress, vented against animal abuser Michael
    Vick, and shunned humor when moments of bloodshed, such as the church massacre
    in South Carolina, stunned the nation.

    “He created something that did not exist,” says
    late-night rival Jimmy Kimmel. “He made the show from a funny show to an
    important show. No one expected that to happen. Instead of a parody of the
    news, it became a critique of the news.”

    Here’s how Stewart, a former struggling stand-up comedian
    with a short-lived 1993 MTV show under his belt, changed the face and tone of
    late night. 

    He was a late-night mentor. Stewart
    didn’t shy away from sharing the spotlight. Like Saturday Night Live,
    which launched the careers of stars including Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, and
    Adam Sandler, Stewart’s set was a training camp of sorts for the big leagues.
    It gave us Steve Carell, Olivia Munn, and John Oliver, among many others.
    “He provided a boot camp for talent,” says former “Senior Black
    Correspondent” Larry Wilmore, now hosting Comedy Central’s companion Nightly
    . “His legacy with other performers is huge.”

    He turned pundits and politicos into stars. Other
    late-night talk shows covet the A-listers to promote their various projects.
    Stewart, on the other hand, welcomed both established Hollywood stars like
    director J.J. Abrams (Stewart’s a wide-eyed, unabashed fan of Star Wars)—and journalists and authors like Fareed Zakaria and Doris Kearns
    Goodwin. In November 2013, Goodwin was on talking about her book The Bully
    , much to the wonderment of Stewart. “Taft and Roosevelt were
    thick as thieves and the whole relationship falls apart when they fight each
    other for the presidency,” he marveled. Says fellow late-night host
    Kimmel: “He built up such trust with his audience, they were willing to
    tolerate a guest that at face value seemed boring.”

    He kept Gen Y interested and engaged.
    Stewart somehow made politics palatable and interesting, with bits like Mess
    O’Potamia and Indecision 2000. “He changed the way people got their news,
    that’s for sure,” Wilmore says. “Before Jon, no one thought of getting
    their news from a comedy show. He changed the way we view our politicians, that
    we hold them to a higher standard than we held them before.”

    He knew when to lay off the humor. In
    the wake of the horrific shooting at an African-American church in Charleston,
    S.C., Stewart let the news speak for itself. “I didn’t do my job today. I
    got nothing for you in terms of jokes and sounds because of what happened in
    South Carolina,” he said. For Olivia Munn, who was a correspondent from
    2010-11, instances like that stood out because “Jon felt connected to the
    stories he told. Sometimes there’s no jokes.”

    He gave voice to his own passions. Two
    of Stewart’s pet issues were veterans’ rights and animal abuse. he was
    instrumental in getting compensation for 9/11 first responders who were
    suffering from health problems, after a bill stalled in the Senate; shortly
    after Stewart’s December 2010 interview with four of the responders, it passed.
    And in the case of Vick, who was busted for running a pit bull fighting ring,
    Stewart—himself the owner of a three-legged pit—eviscerated him on air in
    2007. “I’d like to cover him in liver and . . . let the dogs see if he’s
    as fast and elusive as they say he is. My guess is no,” said Stewart.

    He hastened the end of a series.
    Stewart went on Crossfire in October 2004, pleaded with hosts Paul
    Begala and Tucker Carlson to stop being “partisan hacks” and called
    the show “theater.” Crossfire, on CNN, was “hurting
    America,” he told the hosts. “Stop. Stop hurting America.”
    Months later, the show was canceled. On the other hand, he could engage in
    civil discourse with one of his arch-political opponents, Fox News Channel’s
    “Papa Bear” Bill O’Reilly, who was a guest on the Daily Show.
    “I asked him if he liked Bill. He said, ‘He’s a very nice man.’ That’s
    because Jon doesn’t have hate in him,” says Munn.

    He spoke out against the Iraq war before it
    was trendy.
    In 2002, Stewart winkingly spotlighted
    “our pending showdown” with Iraq. “It’s like they’re the Walmart
    of evil,” he called the country after also mocking the elocutionary skills
    of president George Bush. “Jon questioned the war before a lot of people
    questioned it. After 9/11 it was very risky,” says Wilmore. “He had
    the courage of his convictions. He frustratingly turns out to be right most of
    the time. His moral courage made him popular with young people.”

    He had a friendship of sorts with that dude
    in the White House.
    As Politico reported, President Obama
    realized very early just how influential Stewart could be. So he fostered a
    close relationship with the comedian, appearing on the show seven times and
    inviting Stewart to visit him at the White House. Not even Wilmore knew about
    those sessions. “That came as news (to me). Bob Hope was friends with a
    lot of different presidents, so it’s happened with comedians before. (But) Jon
    is a (also) critic of them.”


    Oct 17th, 2011

    I don’t usually watch “The Daily Show,” but I’ll be checking this out. I’ve been reading a lot lately about Stewart and how he changed the game, a lot of retrospective articles as his tenure comes to a close. Surely that doesn’t hurt in the midst of Emmy voting, right? Hmm…

    ReplyCopy URL
    Jul 3rd, 2011

    Some little asides from watching the show, which I loved:

    – I’m not surprised at all to see just about every correspondent coming back one by one, but it still left me gleeful to see them show up one by one.
    – If I wasn’t convinced of it before tonight, I’m pretty sure that this episode solidified Stephen Colbert as the most delightful human being on the Planet Earth.
    – The attack on Jon by his former targets was fun enough. John McCain can really sell the word “jackass”.
    – As a fan of The Flop House podcast, seeing Dan McCoy and Elliott Kalan spend their time on the show arguing about Jabba the Hutt was all too perfect.
    – Ah, geez. It’s really hitting me how this is all over.
    – A great, final moment of zen. Springsteen closed things out in the best of ways.

    As a constructed episode of television, The Colbert Report’s final outing might just rank higher for me. But I got teary-eyed at several times during this, and it hit all the right emotional notes. Just a lovely tribute to a person who injected the kind of sanity that was desperately needed in American journalism over the last 15 or so years. Adios, Jon.

    ReplyCopy URL
    Dec 1st, 2011

    So many feels about this last episode! All the past and current
    correspondents were great to see again. Loved that walk-through film
    segment with the crew members. Jon Stewart was pitch perfect throughout,
    and what can be said about Stephen Colbert at this point? Those two
    really were (are) the Sam and Frodo of late night television. Messy
    episode in stretches (especially the beginning segment), and I couldn’t
    help but make the comparison with the virtual clinical-to-a-fault polish
    of Letterman’s finale. The sentiment behind this episode was so clear
    and genuine to help mask all of that. Getting THE BOSS to close things
    out was epic, and everyone dancing it out to “Born to Run” was utterly
    glorious! There’s going to be a deep void for Trevor Noah to fill in
    what’s sure to be a gripping election season next year. Sad to see
    Stewart go, but it’s not completely a goodbye as he said in his closing
    remarks, but simply taking a pause in the conversation. The Emmys could
    fall hard for this episode next year, unless they’ve moved on from their
    collective former fixation. What a legacy this show has had on the
    television landscape! Bittersweet night.

    ReplyCopy URL
    May 20th, 2011

    Loved this goodbye but when Colbert walked out I literally lost it. So glad he came back.

    ReplyCopy URL
    Dec 1st, 2011

    Hollywood Reporter’s review:

    August 06, 2015 10:41 pm PT by Tim Goodman

    Tim Goodman: Jon Stewart Finds a Lovely,
    Perfect, Emotional Way to Go Out

    Jon Stewart’s very last ‘Daily Show’ was a master class
    in how a TV icon should say goodbye—with grace and appreciation and the
    understanding that emotion has to be expressed, whether you want it to be or

    So much about television is about precision—everything
    goes just right, everybody hits their mark, the ending clicks to a close with
    perfection. But when you say goodbye, when you send off an icon, you need to
    leave a little room for emotion, for vulnerability, for something heartfelt and
    real to sneak in and then back out again through the lens and into the living

    Thursday night’s final goodbye to Jon Stewart as
    he left The Daily Show on Comedy Central was as near to perfect as
    something like this can get. Stewart himself tried so incredibly hard to leave
    it as professionally and normally as ever, but he couldn’t hold back the
    emotion, he couldn’t sit behind the desk at a distance and say goodbye cleanly.
    There had to be tears, it had to run long, spontaneity had to have its way. And
    in what was maybe the best decision a channel could make, Comedy Central
    seemingly said, “Let it roll. Keep the lights on until it’s over, no
    matter what.”

    And so fans of Stewart got all they could have hoped for
    in one of the best endings to a TV personality’s long, wonderful run in ages.
    It was funny and tight and heartfelt and unexpected. Most of all, the end was
    there to be shaped as Stewart wanted, with the cameras rolling until he said
    everything he wanted or needed to, until Bruce Springsteen (another
    Jersey boy), played him off with Stewart’s requested “Land of Hopes and
    Dreams” and Springsteen’s “Born to Run” tagged on at the end, as
    staffers and correspondents poured out from behind the scenes and Stewart
    hugged his way to the microphone to say goodbye one last time with a slight
    crack in his voice.

    As exits go, this is really how you want to do it.

    Sixteen and a half years later, with roughly 2,600
    episodes under his belt, Stewart joked that he wanted to have the final show be
    representative of what came before, that it would cover the just-completed
    Republican presidential debate. And in a bit where the three young,
    future-leaning correspondents (Jordan Klepper, Hasan Minhaj, and Jessica
    ) of The Daily Show were left to cover 10 different politicians,
    the skit took form—as a group of former Daily Show correspondents came
    back to fill out the coverage to all 10 and then, naturally, way, way beyond. Aasif
    Mandvi, Al Madrigal, Lewis Black, Kristen Schaal, Samantha Bee, Steve Carell,
    Vance DeGeneres, Mo Rocca, Dave Attell, Dan Bakkedahl, Matt Walsh, Larry
    Wilmore, Jason Jones, Josh Gad, Rob and Nate Corddry, Trevor Noah, Craig
    Kilborn, Olivia Munn, Rob Riggle Ed Helms, Wyatt Cenac,
    and then the final
    two, John Oliver and Stephen Colbert, all were there to pay
    tribute to the man who gave them work, helped launch their careers and spread
    laughter through all kinds of mediums.

    It was emotional, as expected—with Stewart staving off
    the tears on a number of occasions. He couldn’t keep it together as Colbert
    told him how much he meant to everyone. Stewart, sensing that things were going
    off script, off his carefully orchestrated goodbye, welled up amid laughs and
    said, “Please don’t do this,” with a smile, but Colbert pressed on to
    praise him. “We’re better people for having known you,” he said at
    the end, as Stewart hung his head and fought and failed to keep the tears at
    bay. As they broke for a commercial, scores of former correspondents rushed on
    to the stage and hugged Stewart as they all jumped up and down.

    Needless to say, it was very, very hard to keep a dry eye
    at that point.

    So much has been written about how Stewart changed late
    night but more importantly changed the way we looked at and dissected media,
    politics, celebrity, etc. He—and The Daily Show— were the ultimate
    bullshit detectors, so it was fitting that in his closing remarks Stewart
    talked about the need for the republic, for people everywhere, to not just
    blindly accept what they’re told, what they’re fed. “Bullshit is
    everywhere,” he said. “The best defense against bullshit is
    vigilance. If you smell something, say something.”

    And that, in a nutshell, is what Stewart and The Daily
    did for more than 16 years. They called bullshit on everything from
    the president to your local city council. Nobody did it quite like that before
    him, which is why he goes out as a true original. Noah may take over The
    Daily Show
    and stamp it with his personality, but the template was set with
    Stewart and it’ll be damned hard to improve upon.

    Most final shows are messy affairs that often seem
    truncated or gift-wrapped a little too neatly. But not this one. Stewart let a
    lot of politicians—from both sides of the aisle—get their last laughs and jabs
    in via a taped bit that worked well. From Hillary Clinton to Bill
    and John McCain, the digs were dealt.

    And in a very Jon Stewart touch—he’s known for doling out
    appreciation to those who made the show what it was through the years—a taped
    bit guided the camera through the halls as Stewart narrated a story of how the
    show was made, naming his entire staff and how they contributed, with bits of
    humor and randomness tossed in (and even a cameo from Martin Scorsese).

    It was a clever, artful segment that worked so much
    better than saying “I can’t thank everybody enough” or “thanks
    to my staff”—it felt personal, creative and funny.

    And then it all got wonderfully rag-tag at the end, with
    deep feeling creeping into his voice, with precision set aside in favor of
    authenticity. Stewart talked about the journey and what the job meant: “It
    still feels like a dream a little bit.”

    He thanked his wife and kids (“for teaching me what
    joy looks like”) and noted that he couldn’t look over toward them—his
    desire to keep it all professional and not lose it to the emotions that were
    rushing up inside was valiant, but ultimately couldn’t be upheld. Crying was
    inevitable. Because it was clear by this final episode/sly tribute that the
    people who worked with Stewart really love him and they knew what the moment
    meant—to the culture and to all of them personally. He tried to construct a
    narrative about life and the show going on, that there was no real need to be
    definitive about the end. “Rather than say goodbye and goodnight, I’m
    going to get a drink,” he said, as if he could just walk out the back door
    and into the night and we’d all just go quietly on to something else.

    It was way, way too emotional at that point. You can be
    as jaded as, well, a critic and still be moved by what 16 years of nightly work
    in the medium means, by how one of the funniest people on the planet shaped
    media and political commentary in the guise of just giving everybody a laugh.
    You can know that we were all a little blessed to have witnessed it, to have
    shared those years and those laughs. So when Stewart closed it out by saying
    this was his moment of Zen—Springsteen playing him off—there was
    that joyous exhale where all the correspondents and staff danced and took
    videos and pictures and celebrated the very last Jon Stewart-hosted Daily

    It was a finely realized moment of television, where all
    the polish came off and the emotions came out and it was a really wonderful,
    lovely, moving, shared national experience. If you’re going to go out, do it
    like this.


    ReplyCopy URL
    Dec 1st, 2011

    Variety’s review:

    Jon Stewart’s Final “The Daily Show” Brims
    With Warmth, Emotion

    August 6, 2015 | 09:17 PM PT

    Brian Lowry

    TV Columnist @blowryontv

    Genuine warmth is an extraordinarily rare commodity on
    television, which is why Jon Stewart’s final “The Daily Show” was something to
    be treasured, savored and maybe even played back a few times. As with most
    media-hyped events, Stewart’s exit came with such inflated expectations that
    it’s the sort of thing the host himself would have delighted in skewering. Yet
    the parade of former correspondents who lined up to bid him farewell not only
    celebrated what he called “the talent that has passed through these doors” but
    the guy who gave them that opportunity as he rides into the sunset.

    Stewart opened by pretending to cover the Republican
    debate (which actually took place after his taping), which turned into an
    extended series of cameos by practically everyone who has worked for the show
    on camera. The producers even squeezed in testimonials from other luminaries,
    from Craig Kilborn—from whom Stewart inherited the franchise—to Hillary Clinton,
    John McCain, and Bill O’Reilly.

    Still, the real emotional gut punch fell, appropriately,
    to Stephen Colbert, who forced Stewart—who has resisted attempts to lionize him
    building up to the finish—to listen to a testimonial on behalf of all those who
    had worked for him. “You were infuriatingly good at your job,” Colbert said,
    and if Stewart was acting when he began to choke up, then he has a career in
    movies ahead of him that has nothing to do with directing.

    Frankly, that would have been enough to make the hour
    wonderfully memorable. But the show followed that up with an extremely clever
    “Goodfellas” spoof, introducing everyone who had worked on the show in one
    extended tracking shot (and throwing in a Martin Scorsese cameo for good
    measure). It’s become standard operating procedure for late night hosts to
    acknowledge their staffs, but this effort brought more flair to the process
    than most.

    In the night’s ultimate highlight, Stewart then channeled
    the late George Carlin, and perhaps a bit of David Steinberg, in offering what
    amounted to parting words of advice to his audience, an extended rumination on
    the “bullshit” that permeates our politics, and the one word that can inoculate
    the public against it: vigilance. In a strange, sweet way, it felt almost like
    an older relative addressing a kid, telling him or her what to look out for
    when he’s no longer around to run interference.

    Each of these segments, and especially that last one,
    showcased what Stewart has uniquely brought to “The Daily Show.” In an age of
    news coverage where partisanship often demands getting both sides of even the
    most absurd argument, he astutely knifed through the clutter, in a way that
    frequently spoke to people who had the same thoughts but didn’t hear them
    articulated much—or nearly as well—in other venues.

    Stewart has always brought a self-effacing quality to the
    desk, which is part of his comedic persona. But his goodbye, in which he
    described his time hosting the show as a “privilege,” sounded heartfelt and
    sincere. The biggest non-surprise, frankly, was that he would turn the final minutes
    over to Bruce Springsteen, a natural sendoff for a native son of New Jersey.

    Despite all the inevitable analysis regarding Stewart’s
    legacy, the sun will still rise Friday. But come Monday—when Stewart would have
    had an opportunity to weigh in on that aforementioned Republican presidential
    debate—Thursday’s finale merely reinforced the sense that there’s going to be a
    void in a lot of people’s lives more significant than just that extra half-hour
    four nights a week. And Trevor Noah—who came out to measure Stewart’s desk—certainly
    has his work cut out for him.


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