Jonathan Stuart Lebowitz (aka Jon Stewart), from New Jersey, the world’s foremost satirist, did his final ‘Daily Show’ this week, after 16 years spent poking fun at, and laying bare, political absurdists, buffons and bulls**t artists.
Not a hard job, you may ponder, but done with the precision of a supreme Zen master. Jon used a deftness of touch, warming up his favourite topics of derision with a few minutes of ‘following their logic’ only to expose their stupidity and two facedness with a mix of acidic wit and explosive evidence.
Everyone from the loons at Fox News to those running for (or holding) high office would be laid bare, their own words skewering their own arguments, with Jon just playing the conductor, interlacing clips with biting interjections.
No one was safe, not those on the left, right or centre. The right certainly gave him plenty of fodder every night, but he went after everyone. In the era of ‘sound bite’ politics, where slogans masquerade for political debate, thank goodness for the cutting exposure of The Daily Show, a program I think I watched (almost without missing an episode) these last 10 years or so.
Along the way, Jon brought us Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, Aasif Mandvi, Al Madrigal, John Hodgman, Lewis Black, Kristen Schaal, John Oliver, Jason Jones, Samantha Bee, Olivia Munn, Rob Corddry and Ed Helms. Without The Daily Show there would have been no Colbert Report (who is now taking over the Letterman Show) or Last Week Tonight. Downunder, Charlie Pickering does a pretty good Aussie version on the ABC on Wednesday nights with the ‘Weekly Show’.
Without JS, we now have to smell the BS for ourselves. As Jon himself said, there is a lot of it around. Be aware of it, don’t let it defeat you. “The best defense against it is vigilance”.
His last 4 minute monologue puts it perfectly, and is well worth a watch.
Thanks Jon, #jonvoyage.