Two months after Jon Stewart announced his retirement from hosting The Daily Show, the Guardian released an extensive profile of the comedian that includes several quotes indicating why he decided to ride off into the sunset.
The piece itself is lengthy and thorough — highly recommended porch reading for this beautiful weekend weather. But if you’re looking for a distillation of the key quotes, look no further.
What seems to be the main reason for his departure? As yet another election rolls around, it’s time to find something new. “I’d covered an election four times, and it didn’t appear that there was going to be anything wildly different about this one,” he told the Guardian.
Much of the profile suggests Stewart has become increasingly wary of the absurdities of our daily news culture. For instance, the Hillary Clinton email scandal “is absolutely everything that it’s supposed to be about,” he said, reportedly with a groan. As the interviewer wrote of his attitude towards this and other political stories, “it managed to be at once depressing and completely unsurprising.”
Stewart also said that leaving right before a major election was the best way to ensure the show has a smooth transition. “You don’t want to leave when the cupboard’s bare,” he said. So I think it’s a better introduction when you have something providing you with assisted fuel, like a presidential campaign. But really, the value of this show is so much deeper than my contribution.”
As for whether the show will survive with him: “If Oprah can leave and the world still spins, I honestly think it will survive me.”
And whether he’ll miss the cable news networks he gets paid to skewer: “Watching these channels all day is incredibly depressing,” he said. “I live in a constant state of depression. I think of us as turd miners. I put on my helmet, I go and mine turds, hopefully I don’t get turd lung disease.”
The Guardian also asked whether he’d ever watch Fox News again: “All right, let’s say that it’s a nuclear winter, and I have been wandering, and there appears to be a flickering light through what appears to be a radioactive cloud and I think that light might be a food source that could help my family. I might glance at it for a moment until I realize, that’s Fox News, and then I shut it off. That’s the circumstance.”
Read the full profile here.