If you haven't heard by now, Jon Stewart announced during a taping on Feb. 10 that he will be stepping down later this year as host of "The Daily Show" after 17 years. It was a shot right into my heart as I'm still recovering after the ending of "The Colbert Report." It's a huge blow, kicking me while I'm still down.
No one has an idea as to when exactly Stewart is leaving later this year, or what he'll be doing next. It's safe to assume the questions we have will be answered sooner rather than later. But, in the mean time, I can take a deep breath and sigh in relief because "The Daily Show" isn't going anywhere, and it will survive well after Stewart leaves.
About his departure, Comedy Central stated that the show is "an unparalleled platform for political comedy that will endure for years to come." In December, Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless told Variety that the series would survive after he left. "The show will live on. It is a franchise, like the ‘Tonight Show,'" she said. "We’ll figure it out when we get there … We will identify talent, and hopefully, we will find the next Jon Stewart."
I attempted to figure out who'll be next to host "The Daily Show" – a thought that feels dirty since the man hasn't even left yet, something in the same vein as declaring you're getting a divorce and look for your next wife without even signing the papers. And honestly, I gave up because, let's face it, Stewart is irreplaceable.
When it comes to journalism and political discussion, he's an impactful force. Even though "The Daily Show" was designed as a faux-news entertainment program, I learned more watching the show than I did by watching an actual news broadcast or reading the news on Twitter (I'm a millennial; who needs newspapers?)
But since the show must continue, there'll inevitably be a new host – no matter what. I decided to create a small list of funny people that I'd personally like to see take the "The Daily Show" reigns and make it their own in some way much like how Stewart took the reigns from Craig Kilborn and made it his own.
Now it's your move, Comedy Central.
1. Jessica Williams
Why it would be great: Not only is the "Daily Show" correspondent hilarious and extremely talented, but including a young woman of color in the mix of late-night hosts would also add some much-needed gender and racial diversity to faux-news programs. Also, because she's young, she'd be a much different host than Stewart because she'd be bringing a different perspective while still offering insightful social commentary on a variety of relevant issues and topics.
Interestingly, maybe the filmmakers behind the creatively titled "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" are psychics, because apparently in the movie, Williams is the host of "The Daily Show" in 2025. Hopefully they just made an error, and they really meant 2015.
Why it might not work: At only 25 years old, some may think she's far too young to be the host of "The Daily Show." It also depends if Comedy Central really wants to go the route of hiring from within instead of reaching out to talent outside of the current staff. Whatever the case may be, it'd be very smart of Comedy Central to at least strongly consider the possibility.
2. Kristen Schaal
Why it would be great: As the "Senior Women's Issues Correspondent," Schaal has appeared on "The Daily Show" frequently to discuss gender issues, and she does it in such a ferociously funny and strange way. The world deserves to see her on a more regular basis.
Why it might not work: It's entirely possible that her brand of humor isn't for everyone. While her segments are hilarious, strange and just flat out absurd, some viewers may not be able to get into it. Also, it remains to be seen if she could dive into issues that extend far beyond those dealing with gender and women's rights.
3. Jason Jones
Why it would be great: When Jones took over hosting duties as Stewart was briefly out, his time on the show was a bit shaky, but it was far from disastrous (though it could've been better). With practice and more time in the spotlight, I think he could really become favorable in getting the hosting gig. Like his wife and fellow correspondent Samantha Bee, he's often a highlight of the show.
Why it might not work: Maybe, even with practice, his hosting skills would continue to be shaky and might steer more toward disaster than anything else. Although he's a highlight as a correspondent, it remains to be seen if he would be just as successful as the host. Maybe he will be too busy anyways, since he will be starring in a TBS comedy pilot that he and Bee wrote together.
4. Samantha Bee
Why it would be great: Bee, having the title of "Most Senior Correspondent" on "The Daily Show," is due for the spotlight. Besides Stewart, she's basically been a part of the show longer than anyone else and, because of this, probably knows the show in and out. As proven by her segments, she has no problem being in front of the camera, and she's perfectly zany and, on different topics, packs a sly, satirical punch. She just makes a lot of sense for the gig.
Why it might not work: Zaniness is a brand of comedy that doesn't work for everyone, which may lead some not to stick around once Stewart leaves. Also, if Comedy Central were to hire within, it seems Williams is far more favored than the others on staff. Like her husband, however, she may be too busy with the TBS comedy pilot that they're developing together.
5. Cecily Strong
Why it would be great: I have nothing against current "Saturday Night Live" Weekend Update hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che, but I immensely miss former host Cecily Strong, who is definitely "Daily Show" material. I wouldn't want her to leave "SNL," but if it meant moving to Comedy Central to take the news desk, then by all means necessary, she's gotta go. Plus, since NBC got Che from "The Daily Show," it would only be fair if they'd get Strong in return. Unlike Che, she knows how to host a faux-news show and show enthusiasm all at the same time.
Why it might not work: Who knows how long she'll be on "SNL," but I'm guessing it's going to be awhile yet, and this could hold her back from moving to Comedy Central to take over "The Daily Show" desk.
6. John Oliver
Why it would be great: Yeah I know. He already has his show on HBO "Last Week Tonight" and it's awesome. It's everything his version of "The Daily Show" would be, but less profanity, of course. In fact, we've already seen Oliver host "The Daily Show" before. As Stewart was away directing "Rosewater," he took over for awhile, and the final results were perfection.
Why it might not work: He might already be too tied down with HBO and "Last Week Tonight." Apparently Oliver only has a two year deal with HBO, which would make it easier for Comedy Central to convince him to come back next year, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Oliver has already moved on. We could still wish for him to return, though.
7. Jordan Klepper
Why it would be great: Klepper, otherwise known as the "Senior Caucasian Correspondent," is fairly new to "The Daily Show" team. Whenever he's on screen, his sense of humor is silly (which makes sense considering he got his start at the Upright Citizens Brigade), but he remains poised, two qualities of a good host. If he would take over the reigns from Stewart, which would be a quick climb up the ladder, the show could have the same tone and, like Stewart, he would start as a fresh face with more time and experience to come.
Why it might not work: A counter-argument could be made that he's probably too new to get the hosting gig right away. Plus, there are other correspondents on the show that have already had the experience to take over as host if Comedy Central decides to hire within (which they've done in the past with Colbert).
Even though he has already proven his comedic skills as a correspondent, he just needs more time to show prove himself even more so before possibly stepping up. After all, there'd be tremendous pressure on his part if he were to get the gig. Pressure sometimes isn't good for a fresh face.
8. Joel McHale
Why it would be great: As the host of "The Soup" on E!, McHale (best known for his role as Jeff in "Community") has the sense of humor and confidence to host "The Daily Show," even if his area of expertise doesn't land on politics. Even so, have you seen his work during the White House Correspondent Dinner? It's the work of someone throwing satirical punches at politicians, which already makes him qualified.
Why it might not work: He's a busy guy. When he's not hosting "The Soup" on E!, he's starring in Yahoo's "Community," which is coming back on March 17 for its 6th season. Plus, he's already said that he has signed on for two more years with E!. "I don’t think I’m smart enough to do the job," he joked to Variety in a recent interview. "I think I come off as being smart. But deep down I’m really not. Plus, I’ve just signed on for two more years at E!, and I’m having a ball on that show. And E! has been incredibly good."
Oh, well. He'd still be great for the show, despite the contract issues.
9. Lewis Black
Why it would be great: Black, the politically-charged funny man behind comedy specials like "Red, White & Screwed," "Stark Raving Black" and "In God We Rust," is no stranger to "The Daily Show." If your an avid watcher of the show, you'll know him as the hilariously angry man ranting and nearing mental collapse during his "Back In Black" segment. His riffs on politics, religion and cultural trends are not only gut-busting, but they're also insightful. It's this brand of comedy that is rightfully perfect for "The Daily Show."
Why it might not work: We know that Lewis Black is hilarious, and I'm sure he'd have no problem whatsoever putting his guests on the spot. We also know that he is keen on talking politics and will rightfully tear into many issues with anger-fueled rants.
The problem is, however, that Comedy Central might be on the lookout for someone that would have no problem having a demanding schedule and can fill Stewart's shoes for another 17 years. If that's the route that Comedy Central is taking, then Black may not be who they're looking for, even though him hosting would be ideal.
Colton Dunham's passion for movies began back as far as he can remember. Before he reached double digits in age, he stayed up on Saturday nights and watched numerous classic horror movies with his grandfather. Eventually, he branched out to other genres and the passion grew to what it is today.
Only this time, he's writing about his response to each movie he sees, whether it's a review for a website, or a short, 140-character review on Twitter. When he's not inside of a movie theater, at home binge watching a television show, or bragging that he's a published author, he's pursuing to keep movies a huge part of his life, whether it's as a journalist/critic or, ahem, a screenwriter.