Four former “Daily Show” correspondents currently host latenight programs, each of whom brings a different flavor and particular strengths to the task at hand.
As Trevor Noah builds on “The Daily Show’s” success in Stewart’s former seat, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Samantha Bee all cast an acerbic satirical eye at the news, with Colbert enjoying the broadest platform on CBS, and Oliver cornering the Emmy market that Stewart once dominated with 10 consecutive wins as comedy variety series.
“This show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host, and neither do you,” he said, calling his time as host “the honor of my professional life.”
Notably, the latenight heirs weaned on “The Daily Show” all exhibit flashes of anger, and certainly passion amid unsettling times. That often requires achieving “being funny” while capturing the absurdity of the moment — a delicate balance that Stewart elevated to a high art.
People have various degrees of tolerance for the concept of artists (and yes, that includes comedians) becoming restless for new creative challenges. That’s not a luxury everyone possesses, and if you’re good at something — as Stewart demonstrably was — why make a change or rock the boat?
There was also a sense — among some of those to whom Stewart represented a nightly dose of sanity — that he had essentially abandoned them, at a moment when they, and the country, needed him most.
“The enemy is noise,” he said. “The goal is clarity.”
Appearing June 24 on Colbert’s “Late Show,” Stewart provided sober, funny analysis of the state of affairs in the United States, before almost apologetically promoting his film. The key observation, though, belonged to Colbert, who told him, “I can hear your voice in that movie, and I miss it so much.”
It’s true that Stewart hasn’t made nearly as much noise over the last five years, and that can be seen as a loss. But if you watch the hosts he helped introduce, you don’t have to listen hard to hear his voice.