Jon Stewart .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Goodbyes are always difficult, but this week, two American late-night titans – Jon Stewart and David Letterman – prepared themselves to do just that.
In his first major interview since announcing his departure from The Daily Show in February, Stewart explained the reasons behind his decision to step down. According to Stewart, there was no grand “a ha” moment which prompted him to move on, rather the cyclical nature American politics and the routine of producing the same nightly show for 19 years finally took its toll.
“Life doesn’t really work that way, with a finger pointing at you out of the sky, saying, ‘Leave now!’ That only happens when you’re fired, and trust me, I know about that,” he joked. “Honestly, it was a combination of the limitations of my brain and a format that is geared towards following an increasingly redundant process, which is our political process.”
“It’s not like I thought the show wasn’t working any more, or that I didn’t know how to do it. It was more, ‘Yup, it’s working. But I’m not getting the same satisfaction.’” Stewart is vague on what’s next on the horizon for him, but maintains that whatever he does will be a continuation of his work so far.
“I would do what I’m doing.
Whether it’s stand-up, the show, books or films, I consider all this just different vehicles to continue a conversation about what it means to be a democratic nation, and to have it written into the constitution that all men are created equal – but to live with that for 100 years with slaves. How do those contradictions play themselves out? And how do we honestly assess our failings and move forward with integrity?” He asked rhetorically.
Stewart’s successor, Trevor Noah, has garnered controversy for tweets which were deemed disparaging to Jews and overweight women. Shortly after Noah’s promotion was announced, Stewart glibly defended the South African- born comic, saying, “I can say this without hesitation: Trevor Noah will earn your trust and respect...or not. Just as I earned your respect...or did not.”
As for Letterman, this month will see a slew of A-list celebrities bidding farewell to the legendary comedian. Jerry Seinfeld, George Clooney, Howard Stern and Tina Fey will are all scheduled to grace the Late Show stage.
Billy Crystal, a frequent guest on the show, paid tribute to the show’s many infamous incidents through song. Singing to the melody of “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof, Crystal reminded Letterman of some cringeworthy moments like Madonna dropping the f-bomb a whopping 14 times and Drew Barrymore hopping on the host’s desk only to flash him. Considering Letterman’s knack for eschewing sentimentality, bidding adieu in such a manner is probably exactly what he wanted.