EDITORIAL: Jon Stewart’s impact on news satire and what’s next for The Daily Show



“This is the Daily Show…without Jon Stewart.”

While that may not be the precise voiceover that Comedy Central decides on as the new introduction for "The Daily Show," it’s what millions of viewers across the nation will be thinking when Stewart’s as yet unannounced replacement takes the helm.

Stewart has been sitting behind his desk at “Comedy Central’s World News Headquarters” for over 16 years. For almost the entirety of the time most DePauw students have been alive Stewart has graced television—poking some much-needed fun at the political system and the media who report on it.

More than just a comedic take on the news, for many millennials Stewart was the news. He, combined with his protégé and friend Stephen Colbert of "The Colbert Report," provided a refreshing look at politics and the media.

For Americans who were disenchanted with the political system, Stewart offered perspective. He laughed at what was laughable and used his considerable influence to help Americans distinguish which mistakes were dismissible and which were disgusting.

But his abilities as a performer and comedian did not mask the sadness and indignation he sometimes felt. Perhaps one of his most beloved moments did not even occur on the Daily Show, but on CNN’s show "Crossfire," in which he lambasted hosts Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson for making a mockery of the news. The show was cancelled shortly thereafter. Stewart was not afraid to step out from behind the mask of comedy and speak simple truth.

So what’s next? Rumors are flying about who has been pegged as the next host of "The Daily Show," with prospects ranging from Amy Schumer to Tina Fey to Chris Rock. But no matter who is eventually chosen they will have big shoes to fill.

Jon Stewart’s legacy, in many ways, was that he created a demand for news satire. More than that, he turned news satire into legitimate news for millions. His piercing observations and political jabs have become a necessary part of the news media. Soon, we will not have Stewart, but we need someone like him.