Jon Stewart Talks ‘The Daily Show’ Retirement, Fear of ‘Turd Lung Disease’
However controversial The Daily Show’s run with new host Trevor Noah turns out to be, no one would deny the overall sadness of Jon Stewart leaving the program behind after so many years. Now, Stewart himself has opened up on the decision to retire, getting surprisingly candid about his “depression” over the state of TV news, and yes, the fear of “turd lung disease.”
A far-reaching interview piece from The Guardian has yielded some surprising honesty from Stewart, who felt that the upcoming election cycle would prove too similar to his tenure with the past four to mine any new humor:
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?’ … I’d covered an election four times, and it didn’t appear that there was going to be anything wildly different about this one.
And while Stewart’s relentless lampooning of “scaremongering” news channels like Fox News or MSNBC has become a highlight of the series, Stewart worried that spending too much time investing in their decline would ultimately wear him out:
Watching these channels all day is incredibly depressing. I live in a constant state of depression. I think of us as turd miners. I put on my helmet, I go and mine turds, hopefully I don’t get turd lung disease.
Of course, Stewart also clarified that The Daily Show itself had not been in decline, particularly with a new, largely-untested host waiting in the wings, but rather his own interest in playing the part:
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.’
It isn’t yet known when Trevor Noah will take over for Stewart, but is the current host right about election coverage growing stale, or the inability to mine new jokes from Fox News? After Stewart's exit, what might change about the state of late-night TV, especially with so much new blood in the mix?