The Troubling Reality of Jon Stewart’s Return to “The Daily Show” and the Decline of Late-Night TV

Discover the reality behind Jon Stewart's highly anticipated return to "The Daily Show" and the uncertain future of late-night TV.

Hold your applause, folks. While the media heralds Jon Stewart’s long-awaited comeback to “The Daily Show,” it’s high time to take off those rose-colored glasses and see the reality. It may not be the joyous reunion everyone is envisioning. In fact, it could be a sign of dark days ahead for late-night TV.

Before the confetti cannons go off, Time magazine has injected a dose of skepticism into the celebration. They suggest that Stewart might not be the best choice for the gig after all. But there’s an even bigger elephant in the room – the entire late-night format itself is on shaky ground.

…whether you’re on Team Stewart or not, his return feels like a grim omen for a show that once ruled the early-aughts media world like a benevolent dictator – and for late-night TV as a whole.


The article points out the obvious, and not-so-obvious, reasons for the decline of the format. Increased competition. The rise of streaming services. Stewart may not be able to rescue the franchise he built over a decade ago.

Only something past its prime would be so desperate to relive its glory days.

What they fail to mention is the sharp left turn late-night has taken. Sure, Stewart was never a conservative, but he wasn’t as unabashedly biased as his successors are today. Late-night comedians won’t even consider poking fun at President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, or the infamous Squad.

Their jokes are relentlessly aimed at GOP targets, even as the current Commander-in-Chief mumbles his way through speeches and looks perpetually confused on stage.

But host Peter Hamby, ever the realist, disagrees. He suggests that today’s climate may not be as forgiving to Stewart’s brand.

Remember when Stewart organized the “Rally to Restore Sanity” in 2010, decrying constant outrage and the reckless labeling of opponents as racists without facts? Well, let’s just say the Left of today might not see eye to eye with him.

“In today’s strident political climate, the kind of sanity Jon Stewart championed seems to have lost its market value,” Hamby remarks. “I doubt that Comedy Central can attract Gen Z viewers… that generation has a more resolute and serious view of politics that doesn’t jive well with satire.”

In fact, if Stewart dares to parody President Biden or criticize the woke revolution on the Left, he risks alienating his die-hard fans faster than a YouTube video goes viral.

Stewart experienced the wrath of the Left two years ago when he dared to mention the possibility of COVID-19 originating from a lab – a theory that was met with vehement opposition from progressives. (Ironically, it’s now considered a plausible explanation for the virus’s origins.)

Stewart was taken aback by the backlash he received for the segment.

“The bigger problem here is the inability to have discussions about plausible ideas without devolving into absolutes and litmus tests based on political allegiances. The fallout from that segment was that I was branded a racist, aligned with the alt-right… and all I wanted to do was deliver a decent bit,” he lamented.

Hamby astutely highlights the delicate nature of critiquing the Left, and why Stewart may be confined to targeting Republicans to avoid backlash in the future.

“Criticizing the Left is a tough game nowadays,” Hamby adds wryly, nodding to the precarious position Stewart finds himself in.

So, before you gather ’round the TV with popcorn and laughter, let’s face the harsh reality – Jon Stewart’s return to “The Daily Show” is more complicated and potentially troubling than it seems. Late-night TV as we know it is on the brink, and even a comedy legend like Stewart may not be able to save it.

But hey, at least we’ll always have reruns of the good ol’ days.

Share this article: