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Over a decade of Zen: Saying goodbye to Jon Stewart

Jake Pesaruk | The Griff | Lifestyles | March 2nd, 2015

EDMONTON (CUP) — “Welcome to The Daily Show. My name is Jon Stewart.” These are the words you hear when you tune into Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.

For almost 16 years, the man behind the desk of this program has been the enigmatic Jon Stewart.

Stewart took over The Daily Show in 1999 after the previous host, Craig Killborn, stepped down. For over a decade, Stewart has brought his sardonic flare to issues both global and specific to American politics.

What separates Stewart from most late night pundits is the effect he has had on his viewership and his light-hearted yet stern attitude towards the ridiculousness of the political factionalism in the United States.

Stewart is a tour de force when it comes to creating an entertaining news show and his influence on a new generation of socially conscientious viewers will be sustained long after his time as host of The Daily Show is over, which brings us to his recent announcement that he is leaving.

Several weeks ago, Stewart made comments on both Facebook and Twitter, stating, “For once, you wanna stay through the interview,” insinuating that some big announcement would be occurring after the episode airing that evening.

However, due to the show being recorded during the day, the audience that was present during that announcement found out before the show aired later that evening.

Social media was flooded with comments about Stewart’s retirement, and a statement issued by Comedy Central later that day stated that Stewart was stepping down as host, galvanizing these rumours.

Stewart then made claims that he wasn’t retiring from comedy as a whole, just that he was stepping down as host of the show.

This announcement, coupled with the end of The Colbert Report a few months ago has landed a serious blow to late night comedic news shows.

The term “talking heads” comes from the redundancy of political pundits and news anchors, for they are simply heads on screens spewing facts mixed with their own rhetoric.

Stewart changed this trope. He turned a late night parody show into a humour-focused newscast that touched on important issues with a grain of salt.

He established an entirely different format of news that focused on showing clips of absurd socio-political incidents followed by Stewart’s immediate reaction.

Many others, such as Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Internet pundit Phillip DeFranco have adopted this format, establishing Jon Stewart’s lasting legacy of delivering the news in an accessible, funny way that never drifts into the realm of pure parody and maintains the integrity of still delivering the news.

My growth into a globally aware young man is owed to Jon Stewart. When I wasn’t too busy playing Xbox or fantasizing about my crush as a teenager, I was watching The Daily Show.

I’d come home after school, pour myself a ludicrously giant bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and turn the TV on to both Stewart and Colbert.

I’d laugh about how ridiculously skewed the States was in terms of its politics, and the crazy things happening in the world, but I would still be getting the news and that is what mattered.

Whoever takes over for Stewart will fully know the kind of legacy they are taking on. Whether or not they deliver, only time will tell.

There has been no official announcement on the final date of Stewart hosting The Daily Show. All we know is that his run as host will end in 2015.

Jon Stewart always ends his show by showing a clip of something ridiculous yet still news-related.

Before he shows this clip, he always states humourously and sarcastically, “here it is, your moment of Zen.”

These clips are ironic because Zen insinuates peace, but the clips are so unsettling in their stupidity and you realize that people in positions of power are actually doing these idiotic things.

These moments happen at the end of each show and have built up over the years.

With wit and intelligence, Stewart has given us not only moments of Zen but over a decade of Zen.

His legacy will last, leaving a younger generation to take up his mantle and keep supplying Zen to the masses.
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