'Restless' Jon Stewart Talks Daily Show Exit, 'Lotta Ideas' for His Next Move

Jon Stewart Leaving Daily Show

At the taping of Tuesday’s The Daily Show, Jon Stewart opened up about his decision to leave the Comedy Central program he has called home since 1999 — including how a “restless” feeling played into it.

“I’m not gonna try to sum up what this place has meant to me over the years… I’ve got plenty of time,” he said of his exit, which will come as early as July or as late as December. “I’m not going anywhere tomorrow. But this show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host, and neither do you.”


After singing the Daily Show team’s praises and saying he will “miss coming here every day,” Stewart got a bit emotional, saying that his tenure on the program has “been an absolute privilege, the honor of my professional life. And I thank you for watching it, for hate-watching it… Whatever reason you were tuning in for.” As he explained, “You get into 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 in the world. And I thank you.”

Stewart fought back tears toward the end of his brief, end-of-episode speech, to the point that he amusingly aped Frankenstein’s monster, crowing, “What is this fluid [in my eyes]?! What are these feelings?!”

As for what his “restless” nature is telling him to do after his Daily Show run ends, Stewart said, “I don’t have any specific plans,” just “a lotta ideas, a lotta things in my head” — including spending quality time with his wife Tracey Lynn and their two children.

“I’m going to have dinner,” he avowed, “on a school night, with my family — who I have heard… from multiple sources… are lovely people.”

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  1. ScrubsGuy says:

    Just shocked at the news. So close after Colbert leaves.
    It’s unlikely another host will run TDS for the next 15 years to create a new TDS for the next generation. Unlike the first TDS, there is nothing to fix or revamp without angering the loyal core. Start anew, like with The Nightly Show!

  2. TV Gord says:

    Samantha Bee and Jason Jones should co-host.

    By the way, this now makes Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Kimmel the old guard in late night TV.

  3. There are other people who can do this. The Daily Show existed before Jon Stewart (admittedly no where near as big) and it can survive losing him. Hell, if John Oliver wasn’t killing it on his own new show, I’d say he was the perfect replacement.

    • Tom says:

      The old Daily Show was nothing like the current. At all. So many of the decent replacements have their own shows, it’s going to take a lot.

    • Liz says:

      A decent/ good replacement would be Chris Hardwick and I am pretty sure he is in the CC eye already. But @Midnight is pretty freakin awesome show, he has a great gig at Talking Dead. Plus all the millions of things he has going on and him not doing the podcast would suck too. So I think he’s a long shot.

  4. murley says:

    I have always feared this day. I am really bummed but his reasoning is totally fair and I wish him all the best.

  5. Fordoor says:

    Um, FWIW, John said he WOULDN’T miss being on TV every day, but that he WOULD miss coming in to the studio every day (to be with his team of wonderful people.)

    I, myself, will miss seeing John on TV almost every day!

  6. Tran says:

    Where does The Daily Show go from here now that Jon Stewart is leaving later in the year? Probably no one not even CRAIG KILBORN?!

  7. JEREMY says:

    Maybe the prophecy is true,and we TRULY ARE in The Final Days.

    This announcement is just One More Sign.

    • hud says:

      Comedy based on politics,premise may be funny,reality affects all Americans.Stewart was a 2 bit hack, hit the jackpot, and now “must move on”.It’s all about the money, always is, always will be.Shed no tears,he will be fine.Find entertainment elsewhere, a book perhaps? For others maybe a fundraiser for Jon/Rosie. Don’t let them leave.

      • side3 says:

        If he was a ‘2 bit hack’, he never would have lasted 15 years.

      • TVGord says:

        How arrogant, condescending and undeservedly smug to suggest that fans of The Daily Show aren’t familiar with books, especially from someone who doesn’t seem too familar with a spacebar.

  8. Angela says:

    Jon getting emotional, and the line about seeing his family again, made me go, “Awwwww…”.
    I’m still very sad about this news, but I completely respect and understand his decision, and I am glad that we’ll be guaranteed to see him for at least a little while longer yet this year. Whatever he chooses to do next, I wish him the absolute best of luck with it and will keep an eye out.
    And considering the excellent track record of those who’ve worked alongside him having successful careers of their own, if he and the show do choose someone to take over, I’ll trust their judgment and look forward to whomever they pick.

  9. Viv says:

    I came back from a really lovely vacation in the middle of the night, went to bed, woke up, checked my emails and literally the first thing I saw was TVLines Breaking News email and just the words “Jon Stewart…” and I knew it. Ever since the Colbert announcement I waited for this news, knowing Mr. Stewart´s contract was up this year and because he talked about leaving. I´m actually really sad about this. It was this little bit of sanity in a crazy world that just gets crazier every day. And while he may not miss being on television every day, I certainly will miss watching the show.

  10. chuck says:

    How is this a big story? This is a comedy show, not a news show, He is not Johnny Carson. Bring back Craig Kilborn, If someone uses this show as a source for news instead of CBS, ABC or NBC (well maybe not NBC anymore) then you really have problems,

    • Mark D. Moss says:

      You seem to be missing the exact point: We *do* have problems, because none of the traditional or cable news outlets seem willing to do the job expected of the fourth estate. They speak for and with the voice of those in power, so it falls to a comedy, “fake news” program to be part of a stew that reveals the missing gravitas. (And, btw, if you think the Brian Williams issue is worthy of a “maybe not them” aside, instead of an overall “celebritization of the news”/”look there’s a squirrel” problem that bleeds across *most* of the traditional news media … then it’s *you* who have a problem understanding the landscape of how corporate news works these days. A show like TDS is a small counterweight to try and keep some folks honest … and the rest of us just enough aware that we don’t just swallow the nonsense that we’re fed by the corporatocracy.)

      • Lucifer says:

        Most of the things that come from Stewart and other comedy news shows are not better than the mainstream media. It is just packaged a bit differently for the younger generation to care about it.

  11. The Librarian says:

    “The Daily Show is an editorial cartoon come to life. If people are choosing to get their news from it, and not the National Media, the fault is ours not theirs.” — Ted Koppel. I knew this would happen sooner or later. I will miss him. I would like to see Jessica Williams and Samantha Bee do co-anchoring.

  12. Dawn-Michele Harper says:

    Jon Stewart cannot be replaced! He is one of two personalities, although not similar, who no-one could EVER REPLACE; the other being Jimmy Fallon. Jon and Jimmy turned me, a CNN News Junky, into a person who wanted to receive impotant news updates, but with a bit of comedy strewn in. The news can be incedibly depressing; however, should not make viewers feel hopeless. I made a conscious decision, after watching Stewart and Fallon’s takes on serious news stories, with comic wit, to change the way i “took in” the news. I am muçh happier and lighter-hearted for that changeover several years ago!! My only hope, in viewing and reading Jon’s career change, that it is in no way tied to satire regarding what’s going on with Brian Williams, an upstanding and wonderful person, over this one snafoo by Brian! That is being blown incredibly out of proportion and the critism and suspensions, etc. should be the new norm for all news media and anchors, IF it’s such a serious offense! There would be a lot of openings in that field!! Jon Stewart will move on with his life, head held high, for making such a difference!!!! The viewers will be losing one of their most loved shows in their line-up. If moving on is not by Jon’s choice, the network should do some serious backstepping to keep him right where he is!!!! Educating, while entertaining, the masses!!!

    • TVGord says:

      I loved Brian’s work, but he lied, and then he lied in his apology. How could you ever trust someone again after lying in the very apology that tries to explain away his original lie?

  13. Marci says:

    They should bring on a new show, as they did with Larry Wilmore when Stephen Colbert left.