The Guardian- There was no one moment when Jon Stewart knew it was time for him to leave what he describes as “the most perfect job in the world”; no epiphany, no flashpoint. “Life,” he says, in the lightly self-mocking tone he uses when talking about himself, “doesn’t really work that way, with a finger pointing at you out of the sky, saying, ‘Leave now!’ That only happens when you’re fired, and trust me, I know about that.” Instead, he describes his decision to quit The Daily Show, the American satirical news programme he has hosted for 16 years, as something closer to the end of a long-term relationship. “It’s not like I thought the show wasn’t working any more, or that I didn’t know how to do it. It was more, ‘Yup, it’s working. But I’m not getting the same satisfaction.’” He slaps his hands on his desk, conclusively. “These things are cyclical. You have moments of dissatisfaction, and then you come out of it and it’s OK. But the cycles become longer and maybe more entrenched, and that’s when you realise, ‘OK, I’m on the back side of it now.’”
How often does he really connect with his interviewees? “Have you seen the show? Mostly, I’m not even listening. But I can bullshit anyone for six minutes.”
When we meet in October, I ask if he is thinking of leaving The Daily Show because he seems increasingly, well, bored, making frequent references to the fact he’s been doing the show “for 75, 80, 1,000 years”.
When I catch up with him again, I ask if he knew he’d be leaving when we had that conversation.
“No, no – but some of it had been in the back of my head for quite some time. But you don’t want to make any kind of decision when you’re in the crucible of the process, just like you don’t decide whether you’re going to continue to run marathons in mile 24,” he says.
“Honestly, it was a combination of the limitations of my brain and a format that is geared towards following an increasingly redundant process, which is our political process. I was just thinking, ‘Are there other ways to skin this cat?’ And, beyond that, it would be nice to be home when my little elves get home from school, occasionally.”
There it is ladies and gents, Jon Stewart is you. Jon Stewart is me. Jon Stewart is every single motherfucker on the planet that gets bored of doing the same damn thing everyday. Some people love their job. Some people hate their job. Both those groups have one thing in common. It might take a day, it might take a year, it might take a decade, but everyone just wants to do something else, scratch that, anything else after awhile.
Take a look at Jon Stewart. Who doesn't love that guy? First of all, he's in 'Big Daddy'. He could rape my ass and I wouldn't let him get away without taking a picture with me based off that fact alone. He's hilarious. He's socially aware. He's made a ton of money. Met a ton of people. A large majority of people would trade lives with Jon Stewart without thinking twice. A part of everyone on the planet would love to be Jon Stewart. However, just like every single person on the planet, sometimes Jon Stewart doesn't want to be Jon Stewart. Who can't relate to Stewart saying that he barely listens to answers during an interview? How often do you mindlessly do your job without thinking? Who doesn't feel, at one point or another, that they have been at the same job for 1,000 years? Jon Stewart's 'Monday' may not occur at 7am on the day after Sunday, but he hates it just the same.
Stewart's job was one of the most desirable in the entire world, but the grass is always greener. He may want to see his kids get home from school now, but give it a year or two and that will get old too. You think athletes want to practice everyday (mandatory Allen Iverson video)? You think actors want to do 35 takes of the same scene? Hell, the Kardashians do nothing for a living and I am sure even they get tired of their job. Judge Judy makes 47 million dollars a year to work 50-something days a year, still doesn't mean she enjoys listening to people fucking babble about their petty legal troubles after all these years. Next time you are sitting at your desk, or wherever it is you work, just remember work sucks. Being an adult sucks. You might be happier doing something else, but sooner or later, so would everyone else. It may read cynical, but the fact is that life is cyclical.
P.S. While you're here, read the actual piece. My nonsensical bullshit doesn't do it justice.