I was saddened to hear Jon Stewart will be stepping away from the Daily Show later this year. Others have filled in for him or hosted shows that are similar to his. I have given them all a chance and they were funny in parts to me but never the same. Not even close.
I think it is his humanity that separates him from the pack to me. He just comes across as a nice man who genuinely wants to see good things for the world. Sometimes I watch the news or even other comedians and I get a sense that they enjoy reporting bad news because it drums up ratings, creates interest, and is great fodder for conversation. I never get that feeling watching Jon. I get the feeling he is unhappy to report the horrible world events. That though his job is to make us laugh he prefers doing that with lighter topics. Ironically he is so good at making us laugh with the heaviest of topics. And therein lies his brilliance.
It is obvious he leans left but if you watch him, unlike so many on TV or even in our lives, the “left” or the “right” is not his team. He doesn’t care which wins. He wants what he perceives to be a fairer world. Whether it is for veterans, people without healthcare, people being oppressed for their political beliefs, etc. He wants fairness.
I think he applies fairness to his show as well. Now clearly he is no fan of Fox News. It is not hidden but he shows you why. And how could you not scratch your head at what he showing you? Still he often has Fox News’ biggest stars on his show. And he lets them speak. He lets them say their piece. He will question them and challenge them but they do get to speak without being shouted over. It is an approach I try to utilize on our show. I often say everybody gets a chance to talk and the people can make up their own mind.
He goes after the left as well though admittedly not as much but if you watch he attacks based on what his core values are. He is true to himself in his views and his attacks. Maybe I am naïve but when I watch him I don’t think corporate shill. I don’t think empty suit with no heart. I don’t think mindless drone reading from a teleprompter with no brain. I don’t think I am being lied to or manipulated. Maybe that is more of his brilliance but I feel he is genuine.
I watch the news channels and so often I feel like they are putting on an act in their outrage. The head honchos told them to be pissed when they read the words or discuss the topic and they do as told. That they have no real vested interest either way. You can see it when the news people switch from CNN to Fox and vice versa. Often the tone has changed in how they deliver the news. It makes me think they never really cared. They just tried to get people hysterical for ratings. And it works.
In a lot of ways, though I don’t model my show after Jon’s, I do admire the qualities that I perceive he has. I would love to be perceived by people the way I perceive Jon. I wish there were more people in the spot light like him. People with a conscious that are serious but do not take themselves too seriously. It is easier to take in the terrible in the world when the guy delivering it seems to be so darn nice, sincere, and funny. And when he announced he was departing his reason was the most basic to any family man, he wants to eat dinner with his family on a school night. Kudos Jon, I hope you enjoy your family and I hope in time you return to the spot light and share your grace, integrity, and kindness with us.