Nearly a decade after leaving The Daily Show, Jon Stewart is heading back to Comedy Central’s flagship series next month. Stewart, who took over the series from Craig Kilborn in 1999, hosted The Daily Show for 16 years and turned it into a political comedy powerhouse that led to shows like The Colbert Report and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
Stewart’s return comes at a very opportune time for The Daily Show, which has been without a permanent host since Stewart’s successor, Trevor Noah, stepped down from the series in December 2022. Although Stewart will only be hosting The Daily Show on Monday nights through the 2024 election, his presence on the series will go a long way toward pushing the program back to the forefront of late-night talk shows.
Ahead of next month’s big comeback, we’re sharing the reasons why we’re excited that Jon Stewart is coming back to The Daily Show.
The vast majority of TV news personalities either strive for political neutrality at all costs or they’re openly partisan. Stewart’s sensibilities admittedly lean left, but he’s also proven to be more fearless about confronting politicians than almost any other pundit. Over the years, he’s been an advocate for 9/11 first responders and military veterans, such as when he unleashed blistering criticism on senators who flipped their votes on the bipartisan veteran health bill, Honoring our PACT Act of 2022.
Stewart’s unrelenting ire kept the story in the news, while veteran protests quickly forced the senators to reverse course and vote for the bill. That’s the kind of advocacy that’s been missing since Stewart left The Daily Show. And in an era where politicians are allowed to lie with little pushback, Stewart is badly needed on TV.
Until recently, Stewart was the host of Apple TV+’s current affairs series, The Problem with Jon Stewart. While Stewart has always maintained that The Daily Show is a comedy first, The Problem attempted to be a more serious program, and that’s not always Stewart’s strong point. Stewart is an excellent speaker who can plainly explain the big issues of any given subject. But people don’t tend to listen unless he’s punctuating his points with his signature biting sense of humor.
Stewart helped make The Daily Show into can’t miss TV with his insightful comedy mixed with easily understandable news of the day. There have been many imitators of this format, including shows hosted by Stewart’s former Daily Show correspondents. But The Daily Show, at its best, was far superior to everything that came after it. With Stewart back at the table, the show has a chance to reclaim its former glory.
It has to be said that Trevor Noah was also a great host of The Daily Show, and his seven-year stint on the series elevated his career. Since Noah’s departure, Comedy Central has had a hard time finding a replacement. That inadvertently left the door open for Stewart to temporarily fill the void one night a week while guest hosts and correspondents serve as hosts the rest of the week.
As part of his second stint on the series, Stewart will also be an executive producer on The Daily Show, and he will have a hand in picking the new full-time host. Stewart’s eye for talent helped launch the careers of former Daily Show correspondents like Colbert, Oliver, Noah, Samantha Bee, and Wyatt Cenac, among many others. In short, Stewart will be an invaluable resource as the search for a new host continues.
Stewart’s return episode of The Daily Show will air on Monday, February 12, on Comedy Central.
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