Jon Stewart's Witty Comeback on 'The Daily Show' Outshines Critics

Jon Stewart makes a noteworthy comeback on familiar grounds

by Zain ul Abedin
Jon Stewart's Witty Comeback on 'The Daily Show' Outshines Critics
© Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

But Jon Stewart's return to "The Daily Show" fits the bill in stark clarity, in an era of American politics that comes full circle to familiar faces. The network appears to be stuck in its own 2024 presidential election redux, in which Donald Trump, with each leading contender reinstated, Joe Biden's options for getting re-nominated from the Democratic Party are growing slimmer by the day.

And, as of this season's premiere, with Stewart reinstated to a weekly segment, it feels as much like a reinstitution that is a retreat as a resurgence. Stewart's re-entry to the show, though, was marked not with fanfare, but a sense of familiarity.

The episode structure certainly felt very much like the pre-2015 show format under Stewart, from the monologue to the interview. It was a night of déjà vu that nearly threatened to erase Stewart's forays into other projects like his HBO animated news show and an Apple TV+ series.

For a few moments there, it was as if Stewart had never left that comfy, critical chair. In a poignant self-reflective moment, Stewart underscored the absurdity of the presidential rematch, noting ironically his aging in the process.

He ironically admitted to the hardship of giving a chance to the change in various aspects despite being much younger compared to either Trump or Biden.

Stewart's Reflective Return

The episode also featured correspondent Dulcé Sloan and former correspondent Jordan Klepper.

"This is the same s--- all over again!" Sloan's comments reverberated with a feeling of being repetitive in content. As for Klepper, he used his interview with Stewart to confront the host with some of the critiques that arose during his hiatus, contesting the efficacy of political comedy given the overwhelming cultural shift.

Stewart's return, while it will be a highlight, only serves to highlight further greater stagnation and repetitiveness in very many systems, from politics to entertainment. "The Daily Show," part of a floundering network to find anything original and owned by a conglomerate in flux, shows this loop.

As much as Stewart's presence is a shot of sunshine, it also raises questions about the future course and sustainability of the show.