Article by Luke Carberry Mogan | esPResso Staff Writer
Sixteen years, 18 Emmy Awards and more than 2,598 episodes: all products of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart at the helm. At the conclusion of the show’s episode on Feb. 10, the political satirist announced his future retirement for late 2015. Stewart had let this fact slip in the middle of filming the episode, shocking the live audience. The host continued to address his upcoming retirement with the viewers at home in his routine closing segment, saying that he is surprised he can “actually eat dinner with his family now.” Cheers from the studio audience could be heard as Stewart thanks all of his viewers and fans for listening to his commentary on current events over the years.
Stewart took over “The Daily Show” in 1999 from former host Craig Kilborn. Since then, Stewart has been known for his satire and putting a comedic spin on the news. Memorable moments in Stewart’s career include his coverage of elections, dubbed the “Democalypse” and having longtime guest and Marist alum, Bill O’Reilly, on the show for friendly debates.
Stewart, a man known for mocking daily headlines, became a headline himself. “The Daily Show” films live at 6 p.m. before the episode airs that night at 11 p.m. Social media sites, particularly Twitter, were astir as members of the audience tweeted their shock of the then unknown announcement that Stewart would retire. Various celebrities relayed their disbelief. At 6:48 p.m., the President of Comedy Central, Michele Ganeless, tweeted through the channel’s verified Twitter account, confirming Stewart’s retirement and how grateful she was to have known and worked with Stewart.
Who will host “The Daily Show” after Stewart says goodbye? In the official announcement, Ganeless left open a door of possibilities in her Twitter statement: “‘The Daily Show” has become a cultural touchstone for millions of fans and an unparalleled platform for political comedy that will endure for years to come.”
With or without Jon Stewart, “The Daily Show” must go on. The talent that has helped make the show what it is today will continue to sustain it. In terms of handling the unexpected announcement during the show, Comedy Central did a great job of coming forward and confirming the news quickly before rumors could spread.