Jon Stewart is one of the funniest guys on the planet. For twelve years, The Daily Show has showcased some of the best comedy on TV. He basically invented the concept of “fake news.” This week, we learned that he’ll be stepping down from his anchor desk (hopefully to resurface somewhere again soon).
But Jon Stewart gave us more than just nightly laughs. He also was a “master caster.” Think of all the comedians that got their big breakthrough when Stewart cast them as correspondents on The Daily Show:
- Stephen Colbert: He jumped from being a regular on John Stewart to hosting his own fake news program that, some would say, was even funnier than The Daily Show. Now he’s taking over for David Letterman and will go down in history as one of the era’s comedy greats.
- John Oliver: He stepped in to guest-host The Daily Show when Jon Stewart took a brief leave to direct a movie. And he did such a great job that he got his own HBO show, “Last Week Tonight.” Every Sunday night he delivers a well-educated rant in his British accent to surprisingly high ratings.
- Steve Carell: It’s hard to remember a time when Steve wasn’t playing Michael Scott on The Office. But in fact, he previously spent five years on the cast of The Daily Show. Now he’s a superstar following his historic role in “The 40-Year Old Virgin” and winning critical acclaim in this year’s “Foxcatcher.”
- Larry Wilmore: He was Stewart’s “Senior Black Correspondent.” It was a funny title, but his career is no joke: He now has his own show, “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore,” airing on Comedy Central in Stephen Colbert’s old time-slow.
Of course, each of these performers was already a talented comedian before Stewart “discovered” them. But they only became superstars after they were cast on The Daily Show. Jon Stewart isn’t only smart at casting. He is also generous. Unlike other celebrities who hog the spotlight, Jon Stewart has always surrounded himself with a supporting cast that is just as talented as he is. It was good for the show, good for him, and good for us because it delivered so many more laughs.