More than any other recent late-night finale, I’m hearing from viewers who are not just sentimental about “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” coming to an end, they are gravely concerned. These are the people who have come to rely on Stewart (and his talented staff) as a trusted source of information. They view Stewart as the light that consistently showed the way out of some rather dark tunnels of despair.
Stewart took over hosting the show from Craig Kilborn in 1999, but in popular memory, he and “The Daily Show” became indispensable in the bizarre aftermath of the neck-’n’-neck 2000 presidential election — “Indecision 2000,” as “The Daily Show” dubbed it.
If you still fail to grasp why an entire generation considers Stewart to be so much more than just a comedy/talk-show host and instead regards him as both their Edward R. Murrow and their Mark Twain, then just do the math: If you first voted as an 18-year-old in the 2000 election (or even if you just meant to do so, harangued by all those MTV “Rock the Vote” ads interrupting your TRL daze), then you are now in your mid-30s. An election has never transpired for you without Stewart’s nightly skewering of political convention and old-school media mediocrity.