Jon Stewart returned on Monday night as host of “The Daily Show,” the Comedy Central news satire he turned into a cultural force before leaving in August 2015. It was the beginning of a plan, announced in January, that will bring Stewart back to the show on Mondays through the presidential election. He will also serve as an executive producer.
“Why am I back?” he said. “I have committed a lot of crimes. From what I understand, talk show hosts are granted immunity — it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but take it up with the founders.”
Stewart’s first night back found him grayer — at one point he used his own wizened face as a prop in a joke about the presidential candidates’ ages. But he was otherwise in classic form.
Opening with “Now where was I,” Stewart mixed silliness and absurd, often self-deprecating, jokes with righteous indignation as he kicked off the 2024 edition of one of the show’s signature franchises, its “Indecision” election coverage. Proposed titles, he said, included “Indecision 2024: American Demockracy”; “Indecision 2024: Electile Dysfunction”; and “Indecision 2024: Antiques Roadshow.” He riffed, from his familiar left-leaning perspective, on the Super Bowl and the Taylor Swift conspiracy theories that surrounded it.
“It’s almost like the right’s ridiculous obsession with politicizing every aspect of American life ruins everything,” he said.
Later he anchored a bit that found the show’s correspondents Ronny Chieng, Desi Lydic, Michael Kosta and Dulce Sloan reporting from the same diner, a goof on the campaign coverage trope. They and Jordan Klepper, who did a desk bit, will take turns hosting the show Tuesdays through Thursdays. The guest was Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor in chief of The Economist.
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