WATCH: Jon Stewart Leaves The Daily Show in The Best Way
The Daily Show is one of those shows like The Simpsons that I’ve seen enough that certain funny quotes pop into my head occasionally. The one I’m thinking of right now is from the 2004 Democratic presidential primary election, possibly Super Tuesday. Stewart’s show airs at 11 but tapes in the afternoon. He pretended to know the returns anyway and said something like, “Joe Lieberman was … eaten by a bear.” My college roommate and I used to yell “eaten by a bear” at each other while playing video games.
Along the way The Daily Show became to many a news program worthy of comparisons to Edward R. Murrow. I really just thought it was a really funny comedy. And what I think was Jon Stewart’s greatest gift was the way he worked with other talent. Most of the Daily Show jokes I remember are one-liners from Samantha Bee and Steve Carrell and Stephen Colbert and Rob Corddry and Lewis Black and Aasif Mandvi and Mo Rocca and Jason Jones and Al Madrigal. John Hodgman was a guest with a funny book, and The Daily Show let him turn himself into a hilarious “deranged billionaire” character.
The people who Stewart brought on The Daily Show were, over the years, allowed to do their own thing. Every bit on Jimmy Fallon with another performer still always stars Jimmy Fallon. Jon Stewart played the straight man and let other people be funny off him. This is why the opening of his show last night — where dozens of correspondents, past and present, showed up — was such a great finale. It was a nice way of fan service (“Hey, I remember when he was on the show!”) and a chance for guests to do one last bit.
This was the best possible ending to the show. And it’s a good sign: Whatever he’s doing next, Jon Stewart’s probably going to keep getting good comedic talent and helping them make us laugh.