An Open Letter to Jon Stewart, Regarding John Oliver
Hope the Middle East is treating you well. So much has happened since you left. The NSA’s been all up in everyone’s business, Kim and Kanye had their baby, and the Defense of Marriage Act is no more.
But enough about the news you’ve missed. Since you’ve been away, things have changed. We, the TV viewing public, have feelings for someone else. It’s not that we no longer care about you, we do. It’s just that…well, we’ve gotten a taste of something different, something exciting and we like it.
That said, we’re feeling very conflicted at the moment. We’ve gone through so much together. After all, it’s been ten years and in that time you’ve given us so much. Did we ever thank you for Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert?
We laughed for days when you said that Clint Eastwood’s bizarro chair incident was “the most joy I’ve gotten from an old-man, since Dick Cheney non-fatally shot one in the face.”
We re-watched your response to Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban repeatedly. It was hilarious when you pointed out all of the heart attack-inducing food in NYC that pales in comparison to soda.
You were all like: “Let me get this straight. I can … order fourteen pounds of pastrami garnished with seven pounds of beef tongue, and not only will the deli guy not go, ‘What? That’s the most ridiculous, self-destructive thing a person could ever order,’ the deli guy will go, ‘Oh, you want the Mandy Patinkin.’”
Remember how you used to say that conservatives lived on “bull shit mountain?” Or the way you used to poke fun of your modest stature?
Segments like “Republican Conservatives Said What About Rape Now?” let us make light of unsettling incidents. It got to the point where anytime a politician embarrassed themselves, we’d think, “I can’t wait to see how Jon Stewart’s going to respond to this one!”
But it wasn’t just the more recent moments we shared that made us love you. The earlier years were filled with just as many good times.
During the 2008 election, you spliced together clips of Republican leaders seemingly changing their opinions overnight and said things like, “In Dick Morris’s defense, he’s a lying sack of shit.”
Later, in what you might call “a fist full of awesome,” you verbally bitch slapped Mike Huckabee as he tried to condemn gay marriage. But you did it in such a calm way that it gave us chills.
But you weren’t just around for the good times. You stuck it out with us when the going got rough too. When George W. Bush was elected and he was all like, “I was not elected to serve one party.” You were like, “You were not elected.”
The way you cried during your first show back after 9/11 was so genuine and heartfelt, it made us cry too.
But now it’s complicated. You told us that you’d be leaving for a few months, basically saying we’re on a break. At first, it was tough. Every time a pundit on FOX news said something mind-numbingly stupid, we thought of you and about how your snarky responses would soon be absent from our lives.
We were prepared to miss the way you quoted “Goodfellas” and how you’d playfully spar with Bill O’Reilly to the point that we almost started to like him. Almost.
Then John Oliver came along. Glasses wearing and heavily accented. So different from you…and yet, so right.
It’s not like we didn’t notice him all these years, we always knew he was special. It’s just that, with you gone, we’ve been able to realize just how perfect he is for us.
He’s brass and has a rougher sense of humor than you did. Let’s face it, partial meanness is attractive. Maybe we just needed us some strange.
He says stuff like, “Zeta bites? You’ve got to be careful with those. I think that’s how Michael Douglas got throat cancer.” And does this thing where he impersonates Southern conservatives, which is super funny coming from a British guy.
We love the way he ends his insults with “boom!” and how when John McCain commented on the NSA controversy, he was like “Are you sure that we don’t want to ask someone younger than dirt?”
When the media dumbly focused on Edward Snowden’s girlfriend and talked about her pole-dancing channel on YouTube, he joked “I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I am not interested in any pole-dancing YouTube channel right now.” That made us laugh so hard, Jon.
We know you’re coming back at the end of the summer but how are things just going to go back to the way they were? Are we supposed to pretend as though the three months we spent with John Oliver meant nothing? Will we just go back to seeing him in a few segments a week like before? How do we go on like none of this ever happened?
Conflicted TV viewing public.