(JTA) — Jon Stewart will be stepping down from his post behind the desk of “The Daily Show” later this year, ending a 16-year run.
Although Stewart did not found “The Daily Show,” his reign as its anchor transformed the show into political and cultural touchstone that satirized news and newsmakers with a combination of absurd humor, caustic wit and sharp reporting. In the process, Stewart himself was transformed from a popular stand-up comedian with a pair of failed talk shows into one of the most trusted, and most polarizing, commentators in the country.
Stewart, born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, regularly invoked his Jewishness for laughs, often self-deprecatingly, but with obvious pride, although he regularly made clear that he does not practice religiously. He also periodically drew fire for his criticisms of Israel — criticism that he, in turn, lampooned on the show.
Stewart and “The Daily Show” achieved both critical and commercial acclaim, regularly achieving high ratings and winning dozens of Emmy Awards. He also helped launch the careers of several successful comedians, including Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver.
Stewart also wrote and directed the well-reviewed movie “Rosewater,” about the imprisonment and torture of Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, which was released last November. During promotional interviews for the movie, he indicated that he was growing weary of his nightly broadcasts.
“Doing anything for 16 years, there is going to be a level of sameness to it that is difficult, I’m sure, for an audience, but also difficult for a performer,” he told New York magazine.
Comedy Central has indicated that the show would continue without Stewart. No replacement has been named.