Friday, August 07, 2015

Thank you, Jon Stewart

Lo, many years ago, a roommate invited me to watch "The Daily Show". It had a host named Craig Kilborn and it was amusing.  He made sure I watched it again when the new host took over, a guy named Jon Stewart.  It was a bit of a slow burn.  I watched it again a few more times after I had moved. My roommate (different one) was convinced he looked like a guy we knew.  I went through a period where I realized that my current commute was going to require my leaving the house at 7 am which led to me having to give up all TV after 10:30pm.  (Yes, I had a VCR.  But, there was a lot to catch up on, some things just got eliminated.) Another move and I began watching again.  And that time it stuck.  (The DVR revolution was also a great help.)  And I found I was more aware.  And then I found I liked it better than a lot of the news sources I was relying on.  This forced me to seek out other news sources.  For a while there was some faux-outrage that maybe, the kids these days, only got their news from *gasp* a comedy channel and were missing out on real news.  And while I understand that Stewart ultimately considers the show a comedy show, the core of it has become a very specific comedy about real news, about the way our government works and doesn't work, and it is only funny if you understand why it's funny. 
So, I appreciate the years of coverage, the years of shining a light on things.  I still remember the first "The Daily Show" after September 11th, I also remember the gospel choir.  It spawned "The Colbert Report" which featured the Better Know a District segment that brought more attention to DC's representational status than many things ever have.  It spawned "The Nightly Show" which has found a really good balance of story and panel, and "Last Week Tonight" which I have seen great clips of.  (I am a premium channel holdout at the moment.)  Ultimately, the show has survived great change before and I expect it will again.  Regardless, the stamp Jon Stewart has left, on the way we view news coverage, on the faces of late night TV, is quite amazing.  So, thank you.