Although Stewart, 52, started his career as a stand-up comedian, he branched out into television when he became host of Short Attention Span Theatre on Comedy Central in 1990. Stewart thanks Comedy Central for giving him the chance at something big.
“I will just tell you that Doug Herzog and Michele Ganeless of Comedy Central gave me an incredible opportunity 17 years ago to pilot this wonderful franchise,” says Stewart. “17 years is the longest in my life (having) held a job by 16 years and five months, the upshot their being, I’m a terrible employee! But in my heart, I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity.”
In 1993, Stewart hosted his own late night talk show, The Jon Stewart Show. The 30-minute daily program was extended to 60 minutes in 1994-95 since the Arsenio Hall Show was cancelled. Although Stewart’s show received high ratings, it wasn’t successful in syndication and was dropped by MTV in 1995. Stewart isn’t sure just yet when he’ll be leaving The Daily Show.
“We’re still working out (the) details. I’m up in September, it might be around then, it might be December, it might be July… I don’t have any specific plans,” says Stewart. “I got a lot of ideas (things) in my head. I’m going to have dinner on a school night with my family who I have heard from multiple sources, are lovely people.”
“I’m not going to be here and try to sum up what this place has meant to me over the years… I couldn’t do that and we have plenty of time and I’ve got myriad people to thank and we’ll get to that over time. I’m not going anywhere tomorrow but this show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host and neither do you.”
Stewart was the second host of The Daily Show after he took over for Craig Kilborn in January 1999. When the time comes for Stewart to leave the helm, he says he’s going to miss working on The Daily Show.
“I don’t think I’m going to miss being on television everyday, I’m going to miss coming here everyday,” says Stewart. “I love the people here. They’re the best. They’re creative, collaborative and kind. I love them and respect them so much.”
Some people in the audience scream, “We love you Jon.”
“Yeah,” says Stewart, as he starts shedding tears.
“Argh, what is this fluid? What are these feelings? Argh!
“It’s been an absolute privilege, it’s been the honour of my professional life and I thank-you for watching it, for hate-watching it, whatever reason you’re tuning in for — you get in this business with the idea that maybe you have a point of view and something to express and to receive feedback from that is the greatest feeling I can ask for and I thank-you,” says Stewart.
“Here it is, your moment of zen!”