There are very, very few people in the world that you can look at from afar and, without really ever getting to know them personally, just know, know someplace deep in your soul, that they are truly decent people. Heroes are few and far between, and it seems that just about everyone, at least in the media spotlight, that has a great reputation, is just a ill-timed revelation away from becoming the next national disappointment. A sex-scandal here, a racist comment there, drug abuse, dishonesty, cheating-- whatever it might be, it seems anyone who looks extraordinary one moment, will be revealed to be fraudulent the next. So perhaps it is the one thing that so defined him, the truthfulness and openness and honesty and normalcy of his soul, that made Jon Stewart so eminently likeable to me and millions of others over the last 16 years.
When you watched his show-- unlike the hours of endless bickering, meaningless talking points, and insincere banter that defines "real news"-- you thought to yourself, "Yes. This is it. I'm not crazy, right?" There have been other talented people who have made valiant attempts to replicate the success of The Daily Show. Most notably are Stephen Colbert, an eminently gifted comedian and performer, and John Oliver, who does a fine and admirable job of getting to the bottom of important issues on HBO. But no one, in my estimation, can match Jon. There is just something about his soul. Something about the mensch-i-ness, the down-to-earth-i-ness, the sincerity that shines through-- not to mention the unfathomable raw talent, comedic timing, vision, and delivery.
I am one of "those" millennials. And I grew up watching and loving The Daily Show. That special half-hour was, outside of music and a good glass of wine, the most cathartic thing in my day, for most of my life. When I woke up as a 16-year-old freshman in college at joined the rest of my dorm floor at 8:30 in the morning to watch in abject horror and absolute disbelief the World Trade Center skyscrapers come down, it wasn't Peter Jennings or Tom Brokaw that I watched for solace. No, it was Jon Stewart. And even as soon as a few months ago, when riots broke out in my home city, Baltimore, I watched CNN for the live video, but I turned right away to Jon for the commentary-- the summation of the events through that inimitable lens of truthfulness andempathy.
Now, like all good things (and thankfully bad things, too), it has come to an end. I want to say, although I might as well say it to my bedroom wall, a heart-felt thank you. I wish to Jon and to everyone who made The Daily Show the essential and loveable thing it was over the past 16 years, the absolute and very best. I don't know about you, but my 11 o'clock will never, ever be the same.