After a Christmas break that provided as much fodder as it did family time, Jon Stewart is back at the helm of The Daily Show and he is ready to take on the new year. This is 2015, right? That was what Jon Stewart had to decide in the first few minutes of his return to TV and it was harder than it should have been.
The Daily Show has had its title for the 2016 Presidential Race since last year and it is already seeing a lot of use in 2015. “Democalypse 2016” was the headline for Stewart’s first segment of the year as he counted up all the politicians with hats in the presidential ring. Republicans and Democrats are facing decision time soon. The media is tracking their every move with an eye on who might declare first. The “will they or won’t they” speculation is intense and Stewart, well, frankly he seemed a little bored.
Relative unknown Republican Jim Webb was the first person to form an exploratory committee into the idea of running to rent the big white house. Stewart could only assume he was related to the famous “Charlotte Web” of literary fame because very little else was known about him. Except what was known was enough to kill off most of his ambitions. Payments of up to $90,000 made to his close family members from donated funds were the kind of mini-scandal he could not afford. Stewart giggled that Jim Webb had been caught up in a “web” of lies and taken down like a spider caught in his own web. The puns were enough to make anyone wish that 2016 was over already.
Next up was Independent Bernie Sanders. Stewart was practically begging the Doc Brown lookalike to run. Apparently he has plenty of jokes lined up for that eventuality. Chris Christie brought more angry recriminations, especially over his football loyalties. He was infamously caught hugging Coyboys’ owner Jerry Jones in the owner’s box during the teams playoff game. As the governor of a state whose loyalties lie either with the New York Giants or the Philadelphia Eagles, that kind of backstabbing behavior was anathema to Stewart and he made his feelings known.
Just as Jon Stewart was making his triumphant return to TV for 2015, a different kind of comedic news reader was exiting stage right. Mike Huckabee apparently had so many people asking him to run for president again that he had to quit his gig at FOX News. The exasperated host said it was like a girl breaking up with a boy who did not even know he was dating her. The distinct lack of “Hucka-buzz” made the whole idea laughable to Stewart and his exasperation grew to the very highest decibel levels.
Then he reached another pitch altogether as Hillary Clinton’s team sent out an email with the subject line “Announcement.” Maybe this was the moment when she finally announced she was running for president, which everyone already knew she was going to do and she knew they knew which they knew already, too, and… Despite the high school like speculation and the enticing subject header, there was no announcement. Instead, it was a fundraising bid for her family’s charitable foundation. The host and his audience were deflated.
With his hopes dashed, Stewart only had to cover one more big political dynastic name as Jeb Bush’s recent movements point to a campaign in 2016. While Bush is “actively exploring” the concept, he has started shedding his earthly shackles. A “resignation frenzy” is freeing up time for him. This withdrawal from basically all of life prompted Stewart to observe that running for president looked an awful lot like joining a cult. And sadly for Jon Stewart, none of these new cult members were exciting enough to make his 2015 return to TV worth it. If this is what the rest of 2015 is going to be like, he might just retire now.
Opinion By Lydia Bradbury