The issue with Jon Stewart’s new present, The Problem with Jon Stewart, will not be that it’s a money seize—however its opening credit preempt that notion anyway with a joke.
In a visible brainstorm of the present’s title, we observe more and more cheeky options like “The Weekly…” “Month-to-month…” and “Annual…” Phrases like “program” and “product” intertwine, alongside concepts like The Money Seize with Jon Stewart. TK OR WHATEVER IT IS. Solely six years have handed since Stewart stepped down from his genre-shifting Every day Present run, however it feels for much longer. Maybe that’s why it seems, from his new present’s first two episodes, as if Stewart continues to be determining how he and his new present wish to contribute to the brand new dialog.
Stewart’s closing episode on Comedy Central aired simply months after David Letterman left his CBS creation, Late Present. That yr marked the official change of the late-night guard, as Jimmy Fallon took over The Tonight Present from Jay Leno in 2014 along with his former SNL colleague Seth Meyers to comply with as his Late Night time substitute. Craig Ferguson had stepped down as Late Late Present host in December, and James Corden and Stephen Colbert had already been named his and Letterman’s successors. Additionally debuting and on the horizon: Final Week Tonight with John Oliver, The Nightly Present with Larry Wilmore, and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
It was an enormous second, and Letterman and Stewart’s exits, particularly, have been main productions. (Bear in mind Foo Fighters’ performance of “Everlong” during Letterman’s final episode? I’m getting misty simply eager about it!) However in a twist befitting this period through which nothing is ever actually over, Letterman returned to “late night time” only a couple years later with My Next Guest Needs No Introduction on Netflix in 2018. It’s little shock that Stewart would come again as effectively, however it’s a little bit of a jolt to see him achieve this on Apple TV+.
“You don’t even know methods to get Apple TV, do you?” Stewart jokes on the finish of his Drawback premiere. “You don’t even know! It’s only a subscription service; you hit the Apple factor, it says a factor, you click on off ‘I agree’—don’t learn it! Simply say you agree.”
There’s a self-conscious streak to The Drawback with Jon Stewart, however Stewart himself doesn’t essentially appear insecure. Within the first two episodes he riffs simply along with his viewers and, in a nod to his ongoing informal streak throughout visitor appearances on Colbert’s Late Present, sports activities a navy blue bomber jacket. He appears somewhat subdued in comparison with his previous self however grows most animated when he addresses veterans’ poor well being care—a problem that dovetails along with his campaign on behalf of 9/11 first responders. The premiere episode facilities on “Conflict” (and the way our authorities fortunately sends folks to battle on our behalf earlier than leaving them out to dry), whereas the second explores “Freedom.”
Stewart has largely remained off-screen since he parted methods with Comedy Central, working most prominently on first responder advocacy and an extremely charming animal sanctuary along with varied publicity appearances for tasks like his 2020 movie Irresistible. (It was the second movie he’s directed after his exceptional Rosewater adaptation in 2014.) A manufacturing take care of HBO begat plans for a topical animated collection that finally received scrapped. Sources advised The Hollywood Reporter that the premium cabler additionally wished The Drawback with Jon Stewart however that Apple received out as an alternative.
If you’ve modified political satire for a complete era and picked up 22 Emmy awards within the course of, one imagines it will definitely turns into clear you don’t have anything left to show. Stewart responds to his viewers’s silence on the finish of a punchline early on in his premiere with unbothered self-deprecation: “I assume that solutions whether or not the present will probably be humorous or not.”
“Stewart responds to his viewers’s silence on the finish of a punchline early on in his premiere with unbothered self-deprecation: “I assume that solutions whether or not the present will probably be humorous or not.””
Nonetheless, as he settles again into his previous job surrounded by former friends who now command their very own exhibits (Oliver, Colbert, Bee) Stewart does have some mojo to regain. Irresistible was smug in all of the methods Stewart’s harshest critics say he’s—each a comedic disappointment and a political miscalculation. And whereas Oliver has established a model of his personal aside from Stewart’s, the sentiment that he has assumed the Every day Present host’s previous mantle persists.
After which there’s that little cloud hanging over the present’s title. In April, former Every day Present correspondent Wyatt Cenac shared a tweet that mentioned Stewart’s new present is “actually simply rebooting” Cenac’s previous HBO present, Drawback Areas with Wyatt Cenac—which ran for 2 seasons. Cenac included a clip from his previous present through which he says, “If there’s one factor I’ve realized, if you need anyone to take a Black man saying one thing significant on TV critically, you actually need to have a white man say mainly the identical factor proper after.”
The meat between Cenac and Stewart goes again to The Every day Present, the place Cenac has mentioned the pair’s relationship grew more and more fraught over time. In 2015, as Comedy Central braced for Stewart’s exit, Cenac told Marc Maron that Stewart as soon as advised him to “fuck off” for saying that Stewart’s Herman Cain impression—which had caught warmth from Fox Information—reminded him of Tim Moore’s Kingfish character from Amos ‘n’ Andy.
Cenac showed up for the Daily Show correspondents’ reunion throughout Stewart’s closing episode, however it seems he nonetheless doesn’t respect the obvious similarities between Stewart’s idea and his personal. As shut because the titles is likely to be, nonetheless, the present itself feels distinct.
Stewart does, like Cenac did in his second season, discover one drawback from varied vantage factors per episode. He largely stays relegated to his studio within the first episodes and repeatedly cuts to behind-the-scenes conversations along with his writers and producers throughout every episode.
However he additionally phases his first on-camera, on-location interview with Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough—and performs the interview very straight. As Stewart presses the secretary with questions he inevitably evades, peppering within the occasional platitude about how he “doesn’t doubt” McDonough’s empathy, it’s arduous to discern why audiences would crave such a factor from him particularly. There are flashes of The Every day Present conviction right here, however it is going to take time—and some extra episodes—for Stewart to outline what this subsequent act seems to be like, and what units it aside from an more and more crowded pack.