There are only 7 episodes left for the award-winning The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. In my grief since Jon announced his departure from the show, I've wanted nothing more than to find a way to pay tribute to the things this man has done for us. He is without a doubt the greatest newsman of my generation. Jon has set a standard for not only newsroom etiquette, but anchorman integrity. At the heart of it all, he taught us how to laugh when laughing was the hardest thing to do. So, let's take a look at just five of the greatest gifts Jon Stewart ever gave us!
5. John Oliver
John Oliver was a long-time correspondent on The Daily Show and actually hosted while Jon Stewart made his movie Rosewater. John Oliver was not always hosting material as we saw during his run behind the desk while Jon was away. Despite a tepid and rocky tenure as host, Jon continued to mold him into a worthy successor. John Oliver now has his own show on HBO called Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Although John Oliver didn't take over for Jon Stewart, his show is a very similar format and feels like The Daily Show 2.0. Under Jon Stewart's tutelage John Oliver was able to become one of the funniest and fact oriented newsmen today. John Oliver took the controversy and exposure that the Daily Show would employ, and took it one step further with his activism. He constantly has new campaigns to help whatever cause he is talking about that week.
As hard as John Oliver worked to get where he is today, even he himself, has thanked Jon Stewart for the guidance he has given him. Jon Stewart, while amazing himself, had the foresight to realize that he would not be around forever and found one hell of a newsman to keep his legacy alive.
4. Interesting News
I love following politics and social issues, but I understand that most people don't. However, Jon Stewart found a way to effectively and entertainingly talk about these important issues that made the regular viewer not only interested but invested in what was going on. Jon Stewart realizes the importance of an informed public, but knows the world we live in. He knows that politics and policy can be mundane, which is why his comedy is the perfect vessel for the facts that he needs to convey. Many people don't consider him a newsman because of his comedy, but the fact is, Jon Stewart gives the people news and the truth in a way that they want.
I would not be as knowledgeable on the democratic process, the wars we're involved in, the everyday tragedy in the world, or the candidates I'm voting on if it were not for Jon Stewart's coverage. He has single-handedly informed me for a decade in a way that no one else has.
3. Stephen Colbert
Jon's disciples are a seriously talented group of people. The most talented is certainly Stephen Colbert. Stephen had his own award-winning show The Colbert Report, and has now moved on to hosting The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Without Jon Stewart, Colbert could have never been fully realized as a comedian. Luckily, Jon brought out the best in Stephen. He knew what sort of segments would play to his strengths. Also, Jon letting Stephen craft his rye satire is what directly led him to becoming so popular and creating the persona he used for the entirety of The Colbert Report. Seeing the two of these masters of news and comedy was like watching a father raise his son, only to have the son surpass all expectations. Whenever they crossed their shows, you could always see how proud Jon was of Stephen.
The Colber Report was truly the yin to The Daily Show's yang. They created a one-two punch that lasted for years, delivering the most well-rounded version of news in the most interesting way possible.
I implore you to watch this clip and not feel the raw emotion pouring out of your screens. Jon Stewart has led us through some of the greatest tragedies our country, and the world has faced. Through it all, he has never asked us to be hateful or vengeful. He has never asked us to be afraid or to cower. Jon Stewart has always asked us what he asks in the beginning of this clip, "Are you ok?" Jon has always taught us to stand together as people and to love one another. We've seen barriers broken down and lives changed due to the compassion that he and his staff bring to the show whenever something terrible happens. This is a lesson worth learning, and he was the one who taught it for my entire generation.
In life, it's hard to deal with events such as these and many of us don't know how to get through them, including myself. It was not until I watched Jon Stewart that I was able to cope with tragedy and empathize on a visceral level with those affected.
Throughout the entirety of Jon's show (16 long years) he has worked tirelessly to expose the media's biased reporting and use of incorrect facts. He has always held himself to a standard higher than these respected media outlets, and ensured that he was reporting the truth. Jon Stewart gave us the news presented as facts with evidence, all while creating a comedy show. He was more of a journalist than those on actual news shows.
What's even more important than his level of integrity was his ability to teach us what exactly integrity was. I learned that news must be factual and devoid of speculation. I learned what journalistic integrity looked like, which helped me sort through all of the biased opinions in others' reporting. I was able to see what Jon Stewart lovingly called, "Bullshit Mountain."
With Jon Stewart leaving, a hole will be left in my daily routine. A hole will be left in journalism, and our social structure. He truly is the Walter Cronkite of my generation and has given us more than we ever could have asked for. He was the one shining light of truth during a time when news was more concerned with everything but the facts. As much as it pains me to see you go, I can't thank you enough for everything you've given not only me, but all of us. Thank you Jon Stewart!