Just how big a deal is Jon Stewart’s return to The Daily Show desk? John Oliver, the former Daily Show correspondent turned HBO Last Week Tonight host, compared it to NBA legend Michael Jordan’s return to the Chicago Bulls in 1995 after retiring from the game.
“Jordan’s back!” Oliver quipped in an interview with NBC’s Willie Geist.
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Oliver was caught as off guard as everyone else with the news, which broke in the middle of the interview with Geist.
“I mean, that’s, that is a surprise,” Oliver said. “That’s a show that needs a host. He certainly is a very, very good one. So yeah, it’ll be exciting to see what he does.”
But he also added that the show “should appoint a permanent host” after Stewart’s run, naming former Peacock host Amber Ruffin and former Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr. as strong contenders.
Oliver was far from the only Daily Show alumnus weighing in on Stewart’s return. Trevor Noah, who succeeded Stewart in the chair, shared a brief post on X (formerly Twitter): “Yessssssss he’s back,” Noah posted, adding five “raising hands” emoji for good measure.
“This dude’s been juicing,” added Daily Show contributor (and former correspondent) Jordan Klepper on X, adding on Instagram “welcome home, JS” under a picture of Stewart back at his desk.
Troy Iwata, another correspondent, just posted a picture of a surprised Minion reacting to Stewart’s return, while fellow correspondent Grace Kuhlenschmidt shared the song “Stuck Like Glue” from Sugarland with an image of Stewart, adding, “I just know this is going to be our karaoke song.”
Stewart always had a close relationship with the team of Daily Show correspondents he had during his run, and the program served as a springboard to stardom, with Oliver, Samantha Bee, Hasan Minhaj and Stephen Colbert all getting their own late night shows (Stewart also serves as an EP of Colbert’s Late Show on CBS.)
Other veterans of the show include Steve Carell, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle, Jason Jones, Josh Gad, Al Madrigal, Larry Wilmore and Wyatt Cenac.
Even Michael Che, now the host of Saturday Night Live‘s Weekend Update, had a brief run as a correspondent before jumping to SNL.
In Stewart’s final show as host of The Daily Show (at least until he returns to the desk this year) in August 2015, Comedy Central reunited almost all of the show’s correspondents and contributors in the program’s surprisingly cramped studio on the west side of Manhattan.
After a sketch involving all of the correspondents (with Noah, brandishing measuring tape to figure out his tweaks to the set), during a commercial break, Stewart, tears in his eyes, handed out hugs. “You’re the best,” Noah could be heard telling Stewart, as the crowd of correspondents gathered around him.
We’ll see what the response is next month, after Stewart’s spent nearly a decade elsewhere.
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