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Why The World Needs Jon Stewart On 'The Daily Show'

Kathy Zerbib |
May 25, 2015 | 2:53 p.m. PDT

Senior Entertainment Editor

Please don't go, Jon Stewart (Twitter/@haaretzcom).
Please don't go, Jon Stewart (Twitter/@haaretzcom).
Though considered "not even a real news show," viewers of Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" arguably receive just as much vital information as they would from other news broadcasts (if not more, on some days).

In the 16 years he's hosting the Comedy Central program, Stewart provides key information through a hilarious medium that is both easy to follow and entertaining to watch. 

He announced his retirement back in February 2015, saying he would leave at the end of the year. The beloved host later said on his show that his last day is August 6.

Well, it's now nearly the end of May. 

David Letterman wrapped his hosting gig a few days ago and we know who's next on the list. As reality sets in, the gut-wrenching truth can no longer be denied: the world is losing Jon Stewart. It didn't seem quite so ominous back in February, especially since Stephen Colbert took some time to part with "The Colbert Report" after announcing his leave. Perhaps Stewart's fans figured he, too, would have a long way to go before the final show.

Unfortunately, it appears Stewart's mind is made. Stewart is out and South African comedian Trevor Noah is his chosen successor. 

READ MORE: What Will Jon Stewart Do Next?

Still, this isn't going to be an easy transition. It would be different if "The Daily Show" were still a medium with fluffy, comedic versions of new stories made for entertainment purposes. Jon Stewart evolved the program into a truth-telling machine that called out politicians and cracked a few jokes in the process.

Here's why the world will miss him so much. Here's why the world needs a Jon Stewart (if not THE Jon Stewart) to set the story straight.

He breaks down political issues in ways we viewers would easily understand.

Remember when Stewart used Gitmo (Elmo's other brother?) to explain Guantanamo Bay in a skit called "Guantanamo Baywatch"? Remember when he schooled us on the Fiscal Cliff? The man has the gift of simplification. For those without the patience for political talk, Stewart's method of defining the tough issues we should know about is a hilarious godsend. 

He maintains a neutral stance, calling out both sides of the issue.

Unlike his rival Fox News, Stewart doesn't hesitate to confront both sides. He's not pro-Democrats; nor is he pro-Republicans. He  criticizes whichever party deserves it. 

He sheds light on issues that the general public would otherwise overlook.

Stewart earned the title of Most Trusted Newsman in America in 2011, beating out Brian Williams (Hah!) and Katie Couric. Part of the reason is his effort to bring up topics that aren't commonly reported on. From inefficient veteran affairs to raising minimum wage to white-collar crime, Stewart and his correspondents do an excellent job of creating topics of conversation.

He influences careers of some of the biggest names.

Without Stewart, there might not have been a Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Jessica Williams, John Oliver, Jason Jones, Jordan Klepper or Ed Helms. He helped further many careers. Given their talent, we surely would have heard of them elsewhere. Still, they've developed their persona by having Stewart as a mentor.

He points out hypocrisies in TV cable news coverage by media and political figures by putting news clips side by side.

Perhaps the show's writers and their interns are to thank for this one. The painstaking process of finding individual news clips in age-old archives must be a grueling ordeal. Effective... But grueling. He pits video next to video, showing what one politician said a couple days ago and what the same politician said six years ago. In this way, he shrewdly reveals hypocritical statements or actions and viewers are relieved of merely taking his word for it. The evidence is on video. The rest is up to him to explain. In some ways, Jon Stewart is the George Carlin (albeit, not always as cutthroat) of late-night television.

READ MORE: Jon Stewart On GOP Shutdown: 'Don't Fart And Point At The Dog'

He fearlessly debates big names like Bill O'Reilly, Jim Cramer and Judith Miller… And wins.

Yes, he's capable of leaving a politician stumbling over her words (ahem, Nancy Pelosi). He's not afraid to take on Bill O'Reilly. He's tackled Jim Cramer. Judith Miller proved to be no match for him. Stewart can hold his own. He doesn't resort to aimless yelling to be heard. His extended interviews are worth the trouble to go online and search for.

He supports small-time authors and filmmakers who aren't typically seen on such a large platform.

Half the time, Stewart's guest of the evening isn't a household name. He brings on people who need the exposure, whether it's for a a documentary, charity, memoir or other cause. These guests can greatly benefit from being introduced to so many eyes. Other times, of course, it's the hot shots like John Lewis or Brian Grazer.

Trevor Noah made a bad first impression with the general public… And we're not a forgiving bunch.

It's bad enough we're losing Stewart, but viewers aren't exactly thrilled about gaining Noah. The public dug up his controversial tweets regarding the Jewish people and women. His vague response, "Twitter does not have enough characters to respond to all the characters on Twitter," didn't help matters. To anyone who hoped Stewart's replacement would be John Oliver, Jason Jones or Jessica Williams... You were not alone.

READ MORE: Life After Jon Stewart: Who's Next?

As much as we love John Oliver (which is a LOT), we need Jon Stewart.

Oliver landed his own show on HBO a while back. Sadly, "Last Week Tonight" is a program that runs strictly on Sundays. Viewers don't nearly get enough of Oliver and he's the closest host to Stewart we have ever had. We know Oliver can man the desk without Stewart - he did it when Stewart was away directing for a few months - and it's unfortunate to know he won't be back as a permanent promotion. He deserves his own show, sure, but at least he deserves a show that runs more than once per week. Oliver conveys the same straightforward truth-telling as Stewart and that merits more airtime.

Perhaps something will be done between now and August 6. Perhaps not. Cue the separation anxiety.

Reach Senior Entertainment Editor Kathy Zerbib here. Follow her on Twitter here.



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