Jon Stewart had his final episode air on Thursday night and while the episode itself was a far cry from what he had put together for so many years, his final speech is being called a summation of his legacy to the broadcasting world. Jon Stewart will never be put alongside the likes of someone like Edward R. Murrow, and the comedian would be the first to say he shouldn’t be. Still, the comedian-turned-talk-show-host, turned-political-juggernaut made sure that people realized what he had been doing all along.
The final Daily Show With Jon Stewart didn’t have the half hour of biting criticism the program has become known for, instead it marched out one past member of the cast after another all so they could say goodbye to Jon Stewart. In the process, viewers got to see just how many careers were born on the program, including movie star careers like Steve Carrell and talk show careers like Stephen Colbert. Fittingly, it was Colbert who got the longest monologue as he talked about what Jon Stewart meant to the people that worked for and with him. Colbert, of course went from being a Daily Show correspondent, to getting his own show, to taking over for David Letterman who also called it quits this year.
While the rest of the show was quite a bit different from what we’re used to seeing from Jon Stewart, he did treat his viewers to one final speech where he made sure to warn everybody that bulls**t is still everywhere. As Salon points out, the performer wants to make sure that everyone knows that he’ll still be watching. He just won’t have the same opportunity to speak his mind in real time. Jon Stewart added that because he wasn’t going to be doing the show anymore, it was up to the public more than ever to carry the baton. He finished up by saying “if you smell something, say something.”
The question that has been asked now, is whether there is anyone who can really carry the mantel Jon Stewart laid down. Trevor Noah will be doing The Daily Show when it comes back in September, but he’ll be doing it under Jon Stewart’s massive shadow. As The Guardian points out, there are few people who can deliver the day’s news the way he does. Until Noah proves he can indeed fill those shoes, it’s a good bet people will be comparing him unfavorably to Jon Stewart.
[Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central]