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Jon Stewart's Return to 'Daily Show' Is Going So Well It's Like He Never Left

Jon Stewart's Return to 'Daily Show' Is Going So Well It's Like He Never Left

 


After witnessing Jon Stewart's triumphant return in The daily show last night I had two thoughts.

The GOAT of late night satire is back. And even some of the show's biggest fans might not be too happy to see him return.

Indeed, in his first episode back as host nearly nine years after his initial departure, Stewart tackled a subject that even his most liberal fans might find touchy: the idea that concerns about how age may have affected President Joe Biden are not necessarily exaggerated. .

He minced no words about the erratic behavior of Biden's likely presidential opponent, Donald Trump, showing that the former president couldn't remember basic things during his court depositions, like how long ago time he was married to Marla Maples or had bragged about it. about the quality of his memory (“It turns out the main cause of early-onset dementia is disappearing,” Stewart said, after showing a montage of Trump's adult children having similar memory problems).

But while some liberals may be sensitive to the idea that comparing Biden's gaffes with Trump's behavior is an unfair balancing act on both sides, Stewart insisted his supporters should do a better job of showing that the current president is vital and effective as they claim.

“It’s the candidate’s job to allay concerns,” Stewart said in a 20-minute segment that kicked off last night’s program. “It’s not the voter’s job not to mention them.”

Easily slides into host chair

From the show's first moments, Stewart sat in the host's chair without missing a beat, delivering jokes with a familiar style that made him feel like he'd left a few years ago. just weeks, rather than in 2015. He brought a confidence the program sorely needed. ; it has been looking for a permanent host for over a year since the departure of Trevor Noah, who succeeded Stewart as host.

Stewart returns in a unique, welcoming arrangement The daily show on Monday nights and as executive producer for all evenings, similar to an arrangement engineered by another cable TV star, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. The new setup allows him to avoid the drudgery of daily hosting, handing over the rest of the week to the show's correspondents, starting with Jordan Klepper, who hosts Tuesday through Thursday.

Even though he returned to familiar rhythms last night, mocking the idea that he was an old man returning to his old job, emphasizing his concerns about two other old guys competing to get their old jobs back, Stewart had to take on a new challenge: reminding everyone why he was such a revered host in the first place.

During its first 16 years of hosting The daily show, Stewart elevated the program into an incisive look at the hypocrisies of media, politics and society. Along the way, he helped birth a style of factual satire that exploded all over television, from the work of Daily show old John Oliver on HBO Last week tonight and Stephen Colbert on CBS' The late show to the sharper political tone of Late Night with Seth Meyers And Jimmy Kimmel live.

But the media environment Stewart returned to is quite different. Late-night audiences have declined, and the young audiences that once fueled the genre have turned to TikTok and YouTube. Hopefully, Stewart's call to The daily showOld-school fans will bring better audiences to the cable channel, but there will likely still be a smaller crowd than he once commanded.

Regardless, last night's show shows that Stewart still has the comedic chops and incisive ideas to propel the show at least until November's presidential election. He has said in interviews this part of the call back was to have a place to “unload thoughts” as the election season progresses.

Last night's debut proved that Stewart will bring that and more, buying time for an influential show at a crossroads to forge a new future at least once more.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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