Well, so far that’s a foreboding start to my letter. But I promise you, this is neither a signal of waning affection or an invitation to another movie that makes me almost wish Channing Tatum never existed.
Aaaanyway. my dearest Jon Stewart, let’s talk about you.
We’ve spent so much time together, you and I. You’re the last person I see at night, your Moment of Zen a gentle, absurdist lullaby that sends me off to sleep. And you’re the first person I see when I get to work, where your Daily Show banner is my computer wallpaper, a reminder to focus on what I could be someday. A short – not ugly but definitely not attractive enough for TV unless you’re really talented – New Jerseyan with big dreams and a fixation for politics and the news.
Our relationship is incredibly stable, albeit one-sided, and if the restraining order is any indication, you like it that way.
I love how you make me laugh, with a delicious combination of cheap and high brow humor. As someone who values both fart jokes and my Master’s degree, you give me the day’s events in digestible morsels, like Flintstones vitamins. Sometimes, you’re the only comfort when the news is tough to swallow.
Jon, although it’s a hipster term that I really can’t stand, you are meta-aware of your role in the civic dialogue. You’re the jester in a Shakespeare play; you’re the joker that people tend to disregard until they realize he was right – and friggin hilarious – the whole goddamn time.
I’ve created this diagram to represent the cozy nook where I think you fit in the public domain:
You can keep it. Maybe hang it on your refrigerator or something.
You never shy away from conflict, and in a lot of ways, you hold public officeholders, pundits, and basehead morons accountable more than many trained journalists do. It’s not that you ask tough questions, it’s that you actually attempt to have a conversation with a human, not listen to a bullshitty list of talking points.
Anyone who comes at you with a soundbyte will get mocked, and as vulnerable, real live humans with feelings, no one likes that. And so, as the old saying goes, “Many a truth is said in jest.”
You manage to do this without looking like a J.O., and for that I commend you. And while you embrace self-deprecation rather than self-promotion, you are incredibly supportive of the talented people on your show who are just trying to make it. That includes guests promoting their books, movies, and policy positions as well as the hit-or-miss correspondents on The Daily Show. And for every Rob Corddry (why did you leave?), there’s an Ed Helms or a Steve Carell. And you’ve created a monster in Stephen Colbert, a savvy, hilarious, and cutting frontman to his new band, The Colbert Report.
So, what I’m trying to say is that I love you like the friends I’ve never had.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Jon.
Devotedly, creepily – but not harmfully – yours,