Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (2024)

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By Brian Lowry, CNN

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Updated 6:26 AM EST, Tue February 13, 2024

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Jon Stewart received an extended ovation from the studio audience Monday as he returned to “The Daily Show” after more than eight years away, before deadpanning, in what felt like a nod to early talk-show host Jack Paar’s famous return to “The Tonight Show” after an absence, “Where was I?”

Scheduled to host one day a week and produce the show, Stewart said, “I’m excited to be back,” joking that he had opted to return to the Comedy Central franchise because, “From what I understand, talk-show hosts are granted immunity.”

From there, it was as if Stewart had never left, as he segued into routines about the Super Bowl – which, pitting the Taylor Swift-backed Kansas City Chiefs against the San Francisco 49ers, he called “kind of a no-win for conservatives” – and setting up the next nine months leading up to the election, or “Indecision 2024,” while trying out comedic subtitles like “American Demockcracy.”

Stewart devoted a significant portion of the show to questions regarding the ages of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, who, at 81 and 77, respectively, would be the oldest pair ever to face off for the presidency.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (18)

Jon Stewart poses for a portrait in 2014.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (19)

Stewart plays soccer for the College of William & Mary, which is in Williamsburg, Virginia. He graduated in 1984.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (20)

Stewart is interviewed by late-night TV host Conan O'Brien in 1993. Stewart held various jobs after college but eventually gravitated to stand-up comedy. In 1993, he also got his own talk show, "The Jon Stewart Show," which aired on MTV.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (21)

Baseball star Mike Piazza puts Stewart in a headlock during MTV's annual Rock n' Jock softball game in 1994.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (22)

Stewart waves goodbye backstage after taping the last episode of "The Jon Stewart Show" in 1995.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (23)

Stewart signs an autograph in New York while attending the premiere of the film "The Basketball Diaries" in 1995.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (24)

Stewart appears with Jennifer Beals in the 1997 romantic comedy "Wishful Thinking."

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (25)

Stewart has a scene with Guillermo Diaz in the 1998 stoner comedy "Half Baked."

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (26)

Stewart and his future wife, Tracey McShane, are photographed in New York in 1998. They were married in 2000, and they have two children.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (27)

Stewart and Adam Sandler appear in a scene from the 1999 comedy "Big Daddy."

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (28)

In 1999, Stewart became host of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (29)

Stewart holds an award won by "The Daily Show" in 2003. It was recognized by the Television Critics Association for individual achievement in comedy.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (30)

Stewart appears on an episode of CNN's "Crossfire" with Paul Begala, left, and Tucker Carlson in 2004. Stewart criticized the show and both men, accusing them of "partisan hackery."

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (31)

Stewart and Stephen Colbert perform together at an MTV Networks Upfront event in 2005. Colbert was a breakout star on "The Daily Show," playing a correspondent character. He eventually got his own show.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (32)

Stewart poses for a portrait in New York in 2004.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (33)

Stewart, along with his "Daily Show" writing staff, accepts an Emmy Award in 2004 for outstanding writing for a variety, music or comedy program.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (34)

Stewart talks to members of "The Daily Show" audience before a taping in 2005.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (35)

Stewart sits between some of his "Daily Show" co-stars — from left, Colbert, Rob Corddry, Ed Helms and Samantha Bee — at an Emmys afterparty in 2005.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (36)

Stewart signs an autograph on the Emmys red carpet in 2009.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (37)

Stewart attends a "Daily Show" writers meeting in 2010.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (38)

Colbert and Stewart take part in Comedy Central event — a "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" — on the National Mall in Washington, DC, in 2010.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (39)

Stewart and his two children, Nathan and Maggie, take a ride on the Tomorrowland Speedway at Walt Disney World in Florida in 2011.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (40)

Stewart works with staff members on script rewrites after a "Daily Show" on-set rehearsal in 2011.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (41)

Stewart debates conservative media host Bill O'Reilly in Washington, DC, in 2012. The event was called "The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium."

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (42)

Stewart and his family pose with a rescued calf named Valentino at a farm sanctuary in New York in 2015. Stewart and his wife, Tracey, are both vegans.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (43)

Stewart talks with President Barack Obama between segments of "The Daily Show" in 2015.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (44)

Trevor Noah, left, appears with Stewart on a his last episode of "The Daily Show" in 2015. Noah replaced Stewart as host.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (45)

Stewart and other members of "The Daily Show" share a group hug after his last episode in 2015.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (46)

Stewart sits next to then-Vice President Joe Biden, who was speaking during a roundtable on the Cancer Moonshot Initiative in 2016. Biden held the roundtable to discuss military and first responder care. Stewart has been a consistent advocate for the first responders on 9/11.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (47)

Stewart and his son, Nathan, cheer during a New York Knicks basketball game in 2019. Next to Nathan is actress Emmy Rossum.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (48)

FealGood Foundation co-founder John Feal hugs Stewart during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in 2019. Stewart delivered an emotional statement in favor of the reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The fund provides financial assistance to responders, victims and their families who require medical care related to health issues they suffered in the aftermath of 9/11 terrorist attacks. Stewart also gave a blistering condemnation of the apparent lack of attendance by House members.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (49)

Stewart appears on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" in 2019.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (50)

Stewart smiles as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks by him on Capitol Hill in 2019. Stewart, who was in Washington, DC, to advocate for an extension of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, had been sharply critical of McConnell in the past. Later in the day, the Senate passed the extension, which would permanently compensate individuals who were injured during the 2001 terrorist attacks or the cleanup and rescue efforts.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (51)

Stewart is introduced at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where he received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2022.

Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (52)

Stewart hosts "The Daily Show" in February 2024. He was making his return after more than eight years away.

Jon Stewart is back on "The Daily Show." See how he got here

Stewart joked about Biden’s appearance on TikTok and his recent press conference in the wake of special counsel Robert Hur’s report, which included comments regarding Biden’s memory. He then played a medley of clips featuring Trump and his children saying they couldn’t remember things in taped depositions.

Addressing the issue of ageism, Stewart yelled, “They’re objectively old!” He then closed the segment, as he often used to do, on a more serious note, telling viewers to buckle up for the months leading up to the election, but that the work necessary to make the world a better place didn’t boil down to a single day.

Of the election, Stewart said he learned in his time away, “You have to worry about every day before it, and every day after, forever.”

With the show running about 15 minutes past its scheduled time, Stewart then shifted to share the spotlight with the show’s correspondents, engaging in an amusing exchange with Dulcé Sloan, who said of Biden and Trump, “We need more than just the same show with an older but familiar face.” That prompted a long comedic pause from Stewart, playfully wondering if she was referencing his encore behind the desk, which Comedy Central is promoting as a “second term.”

Jordan Klepper will host the show for the rest of this week.

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Jon Stewart marks ‘The Daily Show’ return | CNN (2024)
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