What Jon Stewart Said On His First Night Back On 'The Daily Show'

Jon Stewart said he was excited to be back and the studio audience was excited too Monday night as Stewart returned to the “Daily Show” desk for a second term as host of the Comedy Central show.

“My name’s Jon Stewart! Now where was I!” he exclaimed excitedly to start his second term as the show’s host.

“I’m excited to be back! I’m very excited to be back!” he said twice in a tone of voice that justifies the exclamation points.

“Good to see you guys!” he said, pointing to the cheering studio audience. “Good to see you guys!” he said again, this time pointing directly into the camera (though he could not actually “see” through the camera at people “seeing” him at home). 



“Why am I back, you may be asking yourselves? It’s a very reasonable question!” he said, somehow reading my mind.

“I have committed a lot of crimes!” he said, presumably joking. “From what I understand, talk show hosts are granted immunity, so it doesn’t [interrupted by laughter] doesn’t make a lot of sense, but take it up with the Founders! I don’t know!”

One reason he came back is because Comedy Central invited him to. The job is once a week -- Mondays -- and the current plans call for Stewart to host these Monday shows through at least the elections on November 5.

“We’re gonna have so much we’re gonna talk about this year! Obviously, the elections. Maybe we’re gonna talk China, maybe we’ll talk about AI, and maybe something a little bit lighter - -Israel-Palestine! Who knows!” Stewart said.

Generally speaking -- and not at all surprisingly -- he took greater aim at the right than the left. At one point, he decried “the right’s ridiculous obsession with politicizing every aspect of American life,” although some would argue that the left does the same thing.

But pound for pound, when it came to the two presumptive presidential election foes -- Joe Biden, 81, and Donald Trump, 77 -- Stewart gave it to each of them in more or less equal measure.

Among other things, Stewart introduced four ideas for subtitling the “Daily Show’s” annual “Indecision” election-season theme title.

These were: “Indecision 2024: DeMOCKracy”; “Indecision 2024: Electile Dysfunction”: “Indecision 2024: What The F#@K Are We Doing!”; and “Indecision 2024: Antiques Roadshow.” 

My personal favorite is the last one, but they all illustrate, for the millionth time, why the “Daily Show” writers dominate the writing categories every year at the Emmys.

Stewart’s Monday show ran for an hour instead of the “Daily Show’s” usual half-hour, and that appears to be the plan going forward.

Stewart -- no spring chicken himself at age 61 -- repeatedly pressed the issue of Biden’s and Trump’s ages and, on that basis, he declared that neither were fit physically or mentally to lead the country.

In order to drive home the point, he set up and showed clip after clip of both men in the throes of forgetfulness and mental lapses.

For Trump, clips were used from his videotaped depositions in which he often answered questions by merely saying he forgot.

For Biden, Stewart made hay of the President’s hastily called “news” conference following the release last week of the report on his handling of classified documents that concluded the President was too old and forgetful to bother prosecuting him.

To Stewart and many others, the President’s comportment at the presser only made the matter worse, which Stewart hammered away at without mercy.

At one point, I began to wonder whether Stewart’s attacks had crossed the line separating satire from ageism. But he comedically addressed this too. 

He pointed out that calling a presidential candidate’s age into question, particularly as it relates to his physical stamina and mental acuity, is really just an exercise in facing facts. “That is not being ageist!” he said. “It is human-lifespan-ist!”

The comedic portions of the return-of-Jon-Stewart edition of “The Daily Show” Monday night were like days of old. 

Indeed, Monday’s show was a reminder that the style of comedy that has long been established on the show was mainly his doing.

In his return after a nine-year absence, he evidently felt right at home.

Next story loading loading..