With just two shows left before he leaves The Daily Show, there's an odd article here in Reuters, "Why Jon Stewart Might Be Irreplaceable."
Seriously guys? Is your attention span that short??
Mind you, I love Jon Stewart. I think he's a gem of a rare talent, and wish that President Obama wasn't joking when he recently appeared on the show and said he was going to sign an Executive Order to ensure that Stewart stayed on the job as host as The Daily Show.
But when the article tries to explain why Stewart is irreplaceable and discusses, among others, Peter Lassally's opinion (generally highly-valued as the former executive producer of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and The Late Show with David Letterman) that Stewart's "mix of intelligence, quickness and comedic timing couldn't be readily replicated" -- all that I could think was: what on earth are you talking about?? "It's a persuasive argument," the article goes on. No, it isn't. It's actually painfully weak. Not only can it be replicated -- it has been! Twice. Is Mr. Lassally's or Reuter's or anyone's peripheral vision so limited or tunnel vision so narrow that they are unable to see Stephen Colbert or John Oliver???!
I'm not making the point of who's best or if they're all the same. That's personal taste. Just that these three gentlemen possess the very same, impressive attributes. Does anyone think that if Comedy Central had announced that they were replacing Jon Stewart with Stephen Colbert or John Oliver that we'd be seeing an article like that that he's irreplaceable? No, we'd be seeing articles about how thank goodness the brand was being carried on in such good hands.
I'll go further. What if Al Franken didn't decide to go into politics. Do you think he possesses the same mix of intelligence, quickness and comedic timing to have hosted The Daily Show. What if Steve Carell hadn't left the program, might not he have been a wonderful replacement with a similar mix of intelligence, quickness and comedic timing? How about if Comedy Central had gotten Ricky Gervais to come in as the new host? Or even perhaps Tina Fey?
That's six additional people I can think of off the top of my head, who have a similar mix of intelligence, quickness and comedic timing and who can perform in a politic environment with charm. But I'm okay stopping with Stephen Colbert and Jon Oliver who actually do have their own TV talk shows. As does Seth Meyers, who could have done a good job hosting The Daily Show, too. So, there's seven. I'll bet cash money that given a few more minutes, other people could come up with others on top of that. Who knows? Maybe even the actual new host Trevor Noah will be yet another who can do it. Maybe not, we'll find out soon enough.
Jon Stewart just happens to be so terrifically wonderful at what he does that it's a shame to let someone that great go. Every individual is unique, so in that regard, yes, he's "irreplaceable." But there are a lot of wonderful people with the same mix of talents who could take over The Daily Show with only a hiccup of regret.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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