Tuesday night, viewers of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart were treated to the final interview between Jon Stewart and Barack Obama. The interview took up all three blocks of the show, with topics ranging from the nuclear deal with Iran, to relations with the media, and ended on how to inspire civic engagement. The interview felt at times like two athletes that knew they were retiring at the top of their game.
Jon has helmed the Daily Show since 1999, covering four presidential elections and four midterm elections. His unique blend of news and comedy — coupled with searing takedowns and critiques of media and modern politics — has endeared him to a generation of liberal viewers. Jon has also given life to a new generation of comedians that got their start on the Daily Show. Names like Carrell, Colbert, Helms, Bee, and Oliver are now leading names in entertainment.
Past entertainment value, Jon Stewart’s real magic came with his disarming and magnanimous demeanor. It was a constant rock of reason and respect at a time when the 24-hour partisan news cycle was at a fever pitch. His masterful 2004 takedown of Crossfire should be in the Smithsonian. Take a look:
Crossfire was cancelled after this interview. Pure gold.
President Obama on the other hand is entering the last year of his second term with a growing economy and some serious swagger. This summer alone the administration has gotten fast track trade authority through Congress, managed to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, and the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. Whether you agree with his politics or not, an objective observer has to concede that those are concrete victories for the president.
If you have not seen the interview, here is the extended interview. It is worth your time. The last episode of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart will air on August 6. The last day in office for President Obama is January 20, 2017.