For 16.5 years, Jon Stewart has made The Daily Show into a consistently hilarious staple in late night satire. And while his segments are characterized by sarcasm and laughter, there is something beneath the surface that has truly made Stewart a success. As exemplified from his heartbreaking segment on the shooting in Charleston, Stewart has the power to project empathy out of a television screen in a way that can’t be copied by any politician or journalist.
It is in these moments of emotion that Stewart has given viewers around the world countless words of wisdom. And although none of the lessons below are new, Stewart’s last show serves as a reminder that the simple messages often taken for granted can leave a lasting legacy.
1. Sometimes you just need to know when it’s time to move on
The Daily Show was far from being canceled, and everyone from fans to Obama questioned Stewart’s decision to leave, especially with the next election right around the corner. So why did he step down?
“I’m leaving because I want to” Stewart said.
We have all undoubtedly had those little gut feelings that make us restless even when all the factors indicate we should stay. But, the biggest factor of all is your own intuition. Stewart showed a large amount of courage when he decided to leave and start the next chapter of his life, and he did it just by listening to his gut. Always remember to follow yours.
2. Don’t forget where you came from and the people who got you there
Instead of featuring a montage of clips highlighting all of his best moments, Stewart chose to spend the majority of The Daily Show paying tribute to all the cast and crew members that have worked hard to make his show a success. He chose to put the spotlight on relationships, not just himself.
Keeping your humility when you are at the height of your accomplishments is not always an easy task. But, Stewart managed to keep his ego at an honorable low as usual. At the end of the day, celebrating your success with the people who got you there will be more rewarding then deciding to focus solely on yourself.
3. Bullsh*t is everywhere
In this segment, Stewart gave viewers the kind of passionate and eye-opening rant that has led him to be the king of satire. Throughout his career, Stewart has done us all a service by calling out politicians and news networks like FOX and CNN on their bullsh*t. And now, he said, it’s time for us to do our parts.
“Whenever something’s been titled Freedom Family Fairness Health America, take a good long sniff,” Stewart said. “Now the good news is bullsh*tters have gotten lazy. And their work is easily detected. So I say to you tonight my friends. The best defense against bullsh*t is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something.”
We can choose to accept everything we hear as truth, or we can go the extra step and ask questions. Don’t just complain about a political ideology you don’t agree with, advocate for something different, and when something seems out of place, don’t be afraid to speak your mind.
4. There are no endings, just pauses in the conversation
“Nothing ends,” Stewart said. “It’s just a continuation. It’s a pause in the conversation. So rather than saying goodbye or good night, I’m just going to say: I’m going to go get a drink. And I’m sure I’ll see you guys before I leave.”
Whether it is leaving the country that stole your heart while you were studying abroad, or college graduation, endings and goodbyes will always be a challenge everyone faces time and time again. The beauty of this quote shows even though we may not be able to stay in jobs, places and relationships forever, they can always be revisited.
The most amazing component to Stewart’s wisdom is its ability to reach multiple generations. The Daily Show has aired for over half of mine and all other millennial’s lives, yet his satire has the ability to strike a nerve with not just us, but our parents and grandparents. And while a large part of me is sad to take a pause in the conversation, I know I can speak for thousands of viewers of all demographics when I say thank you, as Stephen Colbert so articulately put it, for being “infuriatingly good at your job.”
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