There’s a big debate in Cleveland tonight. It’s also National Root Beer Float Day. Today is also the final episode of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. After 16 years at the helm of Comedy’s Centrals political satire show, Jon is moving on.
Many of you reading this might be really upset at this realization, some of you may be saying “good riddens.” I for one will miss Jon Stewart and will miss his comedic genius.
Watching Jon perfect his craft for so many years in a setting that allowed him to be…..him, was truly a gift. He resonated with many in my generation and brought many of us who would have never cared about politics or the future of our world or justice or integrity….into the fold. His ability to expose the hypocrisy of so many of our leaders and media outlets on both sides of the aisle was always masterful.
I have always admired comedians. It’s you against the world. It’s one of the few jobs where you get instant feedback on the quality of your work. It’s a job that is often thankless, hopeless and rarely pays well. I always thought doing stand-up comedy was something I would love to do. Not because I was really funny, but because I love to laugh.
Jon Stewart was a political satirist and at the end of the day….he was funny. Really, really funny. He may not have made you laugh, but for millions of people….they depended on him to help them laugh at life for the past 16 years. He helped me laugh through some of the toughest times in my life. In the weeks and months following my mom’s passing, my Dad and I would find conversation and distraction from our grieving by recounting a segment on Stewart’s show from the night before. It was healing and good and freeing.
Sometimes we can get caught up in this movement or that issue. Sometimes we have legitimate concerns like health issues or jobs or bills or what bbq sauce of 300 at the grocery store to purchase. Sometimes life just isn’t a laughing matter. Sometimes laughing seems inappropriate. Side note – Have you ever watched people in church when something funny happens? Some people literally get stuck in this awkward place between full on laughing their heads off and trying to hold in a lifetime of learned behavior to quietly sit and observe in your pew. Someone could do a photo essay capturing these people caught at a crossroads in emotions, reactions and behaviors. It’s priceless.
Sometimes though we need to laugh. We need to not take life or ourselves so seriously. We need to recognize the unique faults in each of us and laugh at the grand design of this wild, crazy and hysterical world we all live in each and everyday. For everything there is a season – a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to grieve and a time dance.
Laughing breaks down walls, it opens up conversations, it heals, it frees our souls, it gives life.
I hope you all laugh a little more than you did yesterday. I think in a similar way it could as much for our world if we all gave back a little more or talked to each other a little more or prayed a little more.
Thank you Jon for making me laugh. A lot. For many, many moons. Whatever you decide to do next, I hope you keep us laughing, because….God knows we all need it.
“If ‘con’ is the opposite of pro, than isn’t Congress the opposite of progress. Or did I just freaking blow your mind.” -Jon Stewart