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The Daily Show with Whom

Some thoughts on the type of person who could replace Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show.

The Daily Show isn’t perfect. It holds its fair share of establishment-friendly positions. But it does try. It tries to remind folks about the financial fraud for which there has been no reckoning. It tries to remind people about veteran’s issues and gender equality. It keeps on raising the fact that our government isn’t nearly as representative as it should be.

And Jon Stewart bears a large share of responsibility for that. A sort of Eye of Sauron watcher for good, the show has done a lot to try to restore sanity and promote progress in the land of opportunity. All while making us laugh. But at some point a show that has been helmed so long and through so many stormy years has to change leadership.

Stewart took on the show in his mid-30s, and one would expect the man has saddle sores for days at this point. So I would expect that the show gets handed down to someone younger. That might mean a younger correspondent, or someone unaffiliated. But I do think it goes to a younger-ish person. Someone who can grow into it and let the show grow with that.

A show like this really needs young blood to keep the pace, to keep the audience from feeling like they’re watching an old guy tell them how it is, and to have somewhere to go with it. Stewart is accomplished, and that tends to give a level of surety and cautiousness to an entertainer. He knows the ropes almost too well, his calloused hands leave him roaming over familiar ground.

A newcomer is usually the best choice in this circumstance. Someone that will garner respect from the troops, but someone from outside. Picking a young-ish correspondent to move up can foster resentment. Especially from older correspondents and plausibly from the audience. “What, you’re my boss now, Diapers?”

Indeed, the correspondent pool typically grows up and moves on, rather than staying with the show indefinitely. There are exceptions, and those exceptions comprise a core contribution to the show that makes them invaluable. But many of the correspondents find their talents pushing them in other directions.

Going with an older, trusted correspondent might seem logical, but their career horizon just would not have the same staying force for growing the show.

All of that said, who will take over? I could be entirely wrong here. Bureaucracies don’t always do what seems best, and a choice that contradicts me might very well work out. In the end, it’s really a lot like picking a presidential candidate. You have what works best, and you have your pool of candidates. And sometimes you don’t have the luxury of the ideal candidate (as Stewart was when he took over).

Or sometimes loyalty gets the better of you and you give the candidacy to the guy who’s next in line. A sort of succession-by-blood folly that you can’t seem to evade. Who knows?

Is it discriminatory that I suggest a younger replacement? There are calls for the new host to have particular genitals. Is that discriminatory? For the record, I want the genitals to be older, but the rest of the new host to be younger. I’m compromising here. Consider it an olive branch. Oh, you don’t like olives? So consider it a eucalyptus branch.

No, I will be happy with a female head-of-funny at The Daily Show. Or an older kweeng (or qkuienegn or however you portmanteau queek and ning) clown. Just keep it funny.

Anyway, here’s hoping Stewart reprises You Wrote It, You Watch It (kidding?).

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