It’s been 351 days since Jon Stewart sat behind the desk of a late-night talk show and delivered jokes about US politics and the day’s headlines.
In the time since Stewart left The Daily Show (on August 6, 2015), his many proteges have spread far and wide across the TV landscape. Samantha Bee is on TBS. John Oliver has reached new heights on HBO. Trevor Noah took over The Daily Show. And Stephen Colbert has landed at CBS’s Late Show. (Stewart himself has a deal with HBO that he’ll presumably start producing content for one of these days.)
But something else happened in those 351 days: Donald Trump became the Republican party’s nominee for president. And in all that time, doesn’t it seem like Stewart would have some pretty great jokes to share about a man he dubs an "angry groundhog"?
As it turns out, he did! After he popped up on the latest episode of Colbert’s show (where he’s been turning in appearances all week), the host ceded the floor to his old boss, and Stewart proceeded to lay into Fox News’s praising of Trump — for the exact same things they’ve criticized Barack Obama for over the course of his presidency.
(If you’re wondering where Colbert was this whole time, he was crouching just behind the desk, so he could pop up for the occasional joke, as you’ll see from this Tweet he shared.)
It was a nice taste of vintage Jon Stewart, for all those who’ve enjoyed the many, many shows his Daily Show spawned but wanted something from the man himself. He performed a quick tune from Hamilton. He dubbed Sean Hannity "Lumpy." He learned the hard way that he was on live TV.
It was all a fun bit, made even more fun by Stewart’s obvious rustiness when it came to hosting a TV show. But the best part was its conclusion: a lengthy, vintage rant from Stewart that deserves to be quoted (mostly) in full.
You [Hannity and Fox News hosts] feel that you’re this country’s rightful owners. There’s only one problem with that. This country isn’t yours. You don’t own it. It never was. There is no real America. … I see you. You’ve got a problem with those Americans fighting for their place at the table. You’ve got a problem with them because you feel like the — what’s Rep. Steve King’s word for it? — subgroups of Americans are being divisive. Well, if you have a problem with that, take it up with the Founders. … Those fighting to be included in the ideal of equality are not being divisive. Those fighting to keep those people out, are.
Stewart clearly stopped by Late Show to offer his old pal a boost in the ratings — creatively, the show is finally coming close to the heights of The Colbert Report, so this was a good time for viewers to sample the program — but it was also fun to watch him shake off the cobwebs and deliver jokes to a camera again. Here’s hoping the next time isn’t another 351 days from now.