The end of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show reign is nigh, and in an interview with the Guardian published over the weekend, the host explained why. It turns out there are multiple reasons, ranging from family duties to the presidential election to self-fulfillment. As far as what’s next, that’s still somewhat unclear. “I would do what I’m doing. Whether it’s standup, 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,” he told the Guardian. “How do those contradictions play themselves out? And how do we honestly assess our failings and move forward with integrity?” Though the future is still a little hazy, the past and present are less so.
Here are Stewart’s reasons, in no particular order, verbatim:
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. … These things are cyclical. You have moments of dissatisfaction, and then you come out of it and it’s OK. But the cycles become longer and maybe more entrenched, and that’s when you realize, “OK, I’m on the back side of it now.”
The political process:
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. I was just thinking, “Are there other ways to skin this cat?”
Family and fatherhood:
Beyond that, it would be nice to be home when my little elves [Nathan and Maggie] get home from school, occasionally.
If anything, it was the prospect of the upcoming US election that pushed him to leave the show. I’d covered an election four times, and it didn’t appear that there was going to be anything wildly different about this one. I also felt that, for the show, you don’t want to leave when the cupboard’s bare. So I think it’s a better introduction when you have something providing you with assisted fuel, like a presidential campaign. But really, the value of this show is so much deeper than my contribution.
Watching these channels all day is incredibly depressing. … I live in a constant state of depression. I think of us as turd miners. I put on my helmet, I go and mine turds, hopefully I don’t get turd lung disease.