HBO announced on Tuesday that comedian and recently departed Daily Show host Jon Stewart had signed on with the network. The four-year production deal will center on Stewart creating short-form digital content for the network’s online platforms, such as HBO NOW and HBO GO. The 52-year-old comic is already working with a graphics team and will produce a number of videos per day.
Besides narrating and/or appearing in short political commentary videos that are designed to go viral and be shared on the internet, HBO will also have first dibs at any film or television projects of Stewart’s. It would seem likely that he will dip his toe in the film world, at least, considering that he took three months off of hosting his Comedy Central show some time back to direct the critically-acclaimed (but little-watched) Rosewater.
HBO has said that Stewart’s online videos will start appearing in early 2016, which is perfect timing as it will coincide with the ramp up to the 2016 general election. As the early-state primaries are underway, we’ll have Stewart tossing bombs and providing his special brand of sardonic wit. Which is, quite frankly, just what the fuck we’ll need to get through the entire thing.
With the dual departures of Stephen Colbert and Stewart this year from their brilliant nightly shows on Comedy Central, there has been a bit of a void in the political landscape. Sure, Colbert is doing a bang-up job taking over for David Letterman on CBS, but we no longer have his O’Reilly-ish character around to poke fun at Fox News and the rest of the Conservative Entertainment Complex. At the same time, while Larry Wilmore and Trevor Noah are coming into their own as the two giants’ replacements, there still seems to be something missing, which is completely out of their hands.
Having Stewart back in some kind of capacity is just what the doctor ordered. It is obvious that the prospect of dealing with another election season, and the media coverage of such, is what drove Stewart away from the Daily Show. He couldn’t handle the thought of watching and scouring the news for hours a day and then following it up with a show ever single night. It was just too daunting, and frankly, he was worn the F out. To go at it for another 16 months straight wasn’t something that even seemed slightly appealing.
However, being able to just make snide remarks and crack a few jokes here and there, while offering up his usual biting and accurate commentary, is something he can do with ease. Especially if he doesn’t even have to leave his house. Posting some videos online is way different than committing to a regular and large production of a television program. It also provides him the opportunity to work on other projects while still keeping his mind sharp and his name in the public eye.
Good to have you back, Jon.