Stephen Colbert, the once and future king of late night TV, stopped by The Daily Show last night to bid farewell to his mentor Jon Stewart.
It started with Stephen calling Jon his Sam and into an overwrought dialogue analogizing Stewart's departure to Tolkien. It was fine. They look like old friends having fun so it's hard not be bemused by it even though Colbert's encyclopedic knowledge of Tolkien isn't really funny anymore. It's just like a known fact about Steph, eh?
Then it concluded. The audience applauded. The camera started to crane away. And then Stephen stopped everything to finally get Jon Stewart's goodbye right.
Over the last few weeks, our newsfeeds have been flooded with clickbait pieces trying to capitalize on the sadness of Jon Stewart's departure/death and the void that will be left in our lives once he leaves. But it's not sad that Jon Stewart is leaving. Not only is it well within his rights to leave a job where he must mine hypocrisy, war, political theatre and sensationalized journalism for humour 4 days a week for 16 years, there's infrastructure in place to help us digest the woes of the world through comedy. Larry Wilmore is finding his legs. John Oliver's already carrying the torch over on HBO. Trevor Noah is effortlessly charming and his work as The Daily Show's senior international correspondent shows great promise. Who the hell knows what Stephen Colbert's going to do. With so many of Stewart's disciples occupying airwaves, the media and political machines will be kept in check for many years to come.
Jon Stewart has left the Daily Show, not died. It's worth saying that in the plainest terms possible considering the number of obituaries you've been forced this past week.
Stephen Colbert must have known that Jon Stewart wasn't dying and finally got the goodbye Jon Stewart deserved: THANK YOU.
"You said to me and to many other people here years ago never to thank you because we owe you nothing. It it one of the few times I have known you to be dead wrong," Stephen began, already bringing ol' Jonny Boi Jersey to tears.
We're not sad Jon Stewart's gone. The incredible service he's provided us for the last 16 years should not be mourned. But it does deserve a hell of a lot of gratitude.
Thank you, Jon, for making the hardest job in the world look effortless night in night out. Thank you for being such a dependable vehicle for catharsis whenever the world was getting us down. Thank you for being neck deep in bullshit and making us laugh the entire time. Glad you're not dead yet.
That's all! Your New Jersey exile may now begin, Jon. Bring on Trevor Noah!