Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Comedy Central
Bad news, Daily Show fans. Jon Stewart is taking a 12-week break from his fake news program this summer. The show will go on (it must!), but with its Senior British Correspondent -- comedian John Oliver -- in the anchor's seat for two months. (The other four weeks will correspond with The Daily Show's usual summer hiatus.)
Stewart is taking the time to direct Rosewater, his movie adaptation of journalist Maziar Bahari's 2011 memoir, Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story Of Love, Captivity And Survival. It's a nice professional challenge for Stewart, as he describes in this New York Times article, so...sure, we wish him the best. But where does it leave us, his faithful viewers? Has he left us in capable comedy hands?
Okay, we know Oliver's funny -- in that mannered, persnickety Brit kind of way. No one satirizes England's rain and baked beans and toast like this guy, God save the queen! Since joining the show in 2006, he's most certainly earned his place as one of the most beloved correspondents, and his (parodies of) interviews are second to none. But he plays a character on the show -- a character that might get old if we see too much of it.
One of Stewart's great strengths is his ability to take on so many different personas in the span of one, 22-minute show. One second, he's impersonating Donald Trump in a moment of high comedy, and the next he's interviewing a politician with whom he disagrees -- and managing to tow the line between toughness and graciousness. There is just no replacement for Jon Stewart.
On the other hand, it's just a couple of months. Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell have both subbed for Stewart in the past (though never for an extended period of time), and our television sets didn't explode. We would have liked to see Samantha Bee behind the anchor's desk, but Oliver should do fine.
We just hope Stewart doesn't get too comfortable as a movie director. We really like him as a fake newscaster!