When I was still in retail, I had good repertoire with one of my regular customers. He was one of those tough guy contractor types; rough cracked hands, rough cracked sun-bleached neck, and always wearing jeans with a set of keys clipped to the belt. He told me once that he used to be a musician. I believed him because he wasn’t a liar, but more importantly because it made the back story I had made up for him in my head waaay more interesting. This guy would always come in wearing a Fox News ball cap. One time, I jokingly asked him “How long until somebody slaps that hat off your head?” The look I got from him could freeze a grizzly in it’s tracks. “They haven’t yet…and they WONT” he replied all tough. I left that interaction thinking that you have to be pretty damn tough to publicly broadcast that you’re not only willfully ignorant, but strongly impressionable. I sometimes think back on that moment and wonder if maybe my filter of the experience had been too strongly influenced by The Daily Show and Jon Stewart. I genuinely liked the guy, but couldn’t get over his silly hat, that was a stupid judgement on my end. But to be fair, we all know that was more than a hat, it was a line in the sand.
Like him or hate him, Jon Stewart’s yearlong retirement party is probably the most significant TV departure for our generation. We were too young to really relate to Carson, in fact a lot of us might not even have been born yet. Some of us were attached to Letterman and his dry wit, which became more and more out of touch as each year passed. Jay Leno was or I guess, still is, a comedy graveyard that only those close in age to actually permanently residing in one find amusing. And lastly, Conan made himself partly irrelevant by choking his opportunity and then spearheading a 2nd rate cable channel. The only person that remained constant for many of us has been Stewart. His relentless take downs of Fox News are a thing of legend. Part of our consciousnesses were formed with Stewart narrating in the background. It came as an emotional shock to many of us when his retirement was announced. We’re left speculating “who will fill his shoes?”. Comedy Central will try, but whomever it is, won’t last very long. Jon’s retirement will take the Daily Show with it.
Looking back, Stewart’s retirement seems appropriate. The material had begun to get stale. Every show became clock work: cue the Fox News clip followed by Stewart making a face and either overly relying on the word “FUCK” with a loud sigh or mugging for the camera in either his “New York Tough Guy” routine or his “Jerry Lee Lewis”. Don’t get me wrong, it was still great. And never forget, he single hand-idly pushed through the 9/11 Responders Bill. But the retirement announcement has seemed to breath new life into his shtick. He seems to have the finish line in his sights and is kicking it up a notch. Take last night’s episode for example:
The above video leaves us asking, who will be making fun of Fox News for us now?
Certainly not my retail customer, but honestly besides his affinity for Fox News, he was totally a great guy. I shouldn’t have judged him like that. He used to bang one of the Bangles.
I don’t remember which, Vickie or Debbie.