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POINT/COUNTERPOINT – HANGOUT FORUM EDITION


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WHO WILL REPLACE JON STEWART?
 
By Glen McKee and Nate Trop, Senior Hangout Forum Correspondences -
 

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A lot of big news stories have been happening the last few days, but if you check the Hangout Forum on AngelsWin.com, the biggest news is evidently that Jon Stewart will be stepping down as host of The Daily Show later this year.  And the liberals cried big liberal tears, the likes of which they usually reserve for oppressed spotted banana slugs or for when their bong rip goes down the wrong chute.  As soon as it was announced that Stewart would announce he was stepping down (every major announcement is now preceded by an announcement about the announcement) speculation about his replacement began.  There’s plenty of that speculation on the AngelsWin thread, so we’re gonna rip that off for a quick article but we’re going to ignore that and give you our PCP top choices for this prime job.
 
Take your pick of these excellent choices – Glen McKee
 
First off, a confession that is probably unnecessary: I love the The Daily Show, even though I don’t get to watch it much anymore.  My favorite part is inevitably the first segment; the pre-taped bits with the correspondents are mostly boring and predictable.  Stewart is what makes the show for me and at this moment I can’t imagine what it will be like with somebody else as the focal point, but I assume it will move on.
 
Now, let’s get the obvious yet impossible choices out of the way.  John Oliver would be the clear favorite, except that HBO has a lot invested in him and he’s doing great with them.  That ship has sailed and I’m sure Ollie loves his current gig.  Unless it tanks in the next few months, he’ll be staying with HBO. 
 
Another impossible choice is Tina Fey.  She has a flourishing career doing other things and probably wouldn’t want to embrace the grind of a four-times-a-week broadcast.  That’s a huge commitment. Give it up, nerds who think she’d sleep with somebody like you.  Neither one will happen.  Sorry to crush your dreams but you need to focus on the real possibilities.
 
As for the actual candidates, let me throw a few names in the ring.  First, and my favorite dark-horse candidate, is Chris Hardwick.  I know, I know, the MTV date guy?  The Talking Dead guy?  Yep, that’s the one.  Don’t forget, Jon Stewart got his start with an MTV talk show and when he took over The Daily Show a lot of people were shaking their heads.  Hardwick already has a successful show on Comedy Central, @ Midnight, so he’s in-house talent.  He has some crossover appeal from his Talking Dead show.  His Nerdist podcast demonstrates his interviewing skills, with over 600 episodes and a wide spectrum of guests.  His stock is rising, he’s easy on the eyes (confirmed by my bride), he works hard – he’s got a lot of eggs in the right baskets.  Don’t overlook him.
 
For my second choice, how about a broad?  First off, let’s get Samantha Bee out of the way.  She’s hard enough to take in small doses, just imagine the show being centered around her.  Meh.  Kristen Schaal is a possibility – once again she’s in-house, she’s been with the show for a while, and she’s married to a longtime writer for the show.  I just don’t see her as having a wide enough appeal to run the show, but I could be wrong.  Jessica Williams is an intriguing choice.  Young, good timing, once again easy on the eyes (confirmed by me), and she’s black.  That’s a couple of check-boxes right there.  She’s also on the channel already so it wouldn’t take much to give the show to her.  I’ll put her down as my second choice.
 
My third choice and my biggest dark horse (really, no pun intended) is Wyatt Cenac.  Who?  He’s this guy:
 

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He was already on the Daily Show for a while and when he was, he was one of the best correspondents (if not the best).  He’s evidently available, he’s urban (read: black) and he’s edgy (read: still black).  I think he’d be a great choice.
 
For the record, Cory Hinkle already made who I think is the best suggestion (goddammit Hinkle, quit stealing my thunder!) – Joel McHale.  Tip of the cap to Cory, but I just wanted to present some other options.  Over to you, Nate.
 
A few more choices – Nathan Trop
 
I, like Glen, do not regularly watch the Daily Show.  I do however really enjoy Stewart’s opening monologue and though I do not consider myself a liberal, and don’t always align myself with his politics, I really enjoy how he can highlight the absurdity of our government, the politicians, and the news outlets that cover them.  In a day and age where all interview questions are vetted and pre-approved, he still manages to ask hard hitting questions and truly seems to care about the answers he gets and the points he makes.  He and the writers of the show have a very keen ability to both be serious and funny at the same time without, for the most part, beating a dead horse.  In my opinion the person that replaces Stewart has to be funny but also incredibly intelligent and witty.  It doesn’t seem like there are many people out there with that level of talent and intelligence.  I also agree with Glen that I could not take Samantha Bee or Jason Jones, those two are lifers on the Daily Show only because they are not very funny or talented.  Without further adieux, here are my candidates:
 
John Oliver – I won’t spend much time on this one, if you wanted to continue the Daily Show as is, John Oliver is the only choice.  Of course he is a super star on HBO right now and rightfully so.  I don’t see HBO letting him go and I don’t see him wanting to leave.
 
Tina Fey – Glen already mentioned that she would be a slam dunk.  She is funny, insightful and very intelligent.  We know that she is a great comedy writer and producer, which is very similar to Jon Stewart.  Unfortunately, like Jon Stewart, she also has two young kids and probably would balk at spending four to five days a week grinding out shows.  We also don’t know how she would be in a hostile interview or really in any interview.  Still, I think if you want to continue the show but give it a new identity, she is the top choice.
 

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Stephen Fry – For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, he is a British gentlemen who has hosted various chat shows on the BBC and occasional specials on BBC America.  He is a highly respected, very intelligent, well spoken, insightful and funny man.  He is of course British and from what I know, outside of some specials, not that familiar with America and especially American politics.  He is also gay and an atheist, which I am sure would turn off some viewers and potential interview candidates.  If I got to pick a replacement, he is who I would pick.
 
Jessica Williams/Wyatt Cenac/Asif Mandvi/Rob Riggle – Four Daily Show correspondent alums that are all funny and seemingly capable.  I think if Comedy Central has a list of candidates they are probably all on it.  Probably in the safety net/stop gap zone if they got turned down by all their top targets.
 
Christopher Titus – I can’t believe I am suggesting this.  Up until recently I really couldn’t stand him.  He seemed a little scummy and not really funny, but he has grown on me.  For one thing he is a standup comedian and huge history buff.  I am just not sure how much of his schtick is really him and how much is an act.  Still, he can be funny, smart, has never been arrested, is a family man and devotes a lot of his time to charity.  I think he would work.
 

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Derek Waters – For those of you who don’t know who he is, he is the host/producer/writer of Drunk History a very funny show on Comedy Central.  That checks off all the boxes right away. I don’t know how strong he is on current events but he is obviously a history buff.  I think he is ripe to take on a bigger role and be the face of Comedy Central if they went this route.  I think he would do a great job and provide an easy transition from Jon Stewart.  Also, if you have not seen Drunk History, check out a few episodes, it is very funny and you learn from it too!
 
I think there are many other names out there, some Glen mentioned like Chris Hardwick, who I don’t think would leave his Walking Dead Empire.  Joel McHale is a strong option, but I’m not sure how well he’d do with the serious stuff.   But he seems insightful.   I have heard Russell Brand’s name but he is too dopey and annoying to me.  He seems like a smart dude but maybe too many personality quirks.
 
Whoever it is, I hope they can continue on where Jon Stewart left off.  That is a lot to ask but I think we as a country need it as long as our political system continues as it is.  I guess we will always have John Oliver.  If you haven’t been paying attention to his show, do some Googling and You Tubing. He has been spectacular.
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The John Olive ship has sailed. He has a lot more freedom at HBO it would appear and can get a lot more in depth on topics. I would imagine Comedy Central is kicking themselves though, if they had locked him up prior to him sitting in for Stewart last year...they would have had a natural replacement.

 

I actually think another interesting question is what does Stewart do next. Apparently NBC gave him a serious look at the Meet the Press gig. Would he make the transition over to a straight news gig? 

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I think whatever he does it will be a once a week thing at the most.  He just directed that movie so considering the timing he might be wanting to do more projects like that.

 

From the sound of it he has been offered just about every job in late night and major news in the last decade.  Must be nice to be wanted, wont be hard for him to find work.  He was also the highest paid person on cable TV for the last few years so he can afford to take some time off to spend with his family.

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I would not rule out Oliver.  He has a 2 24 episode season + 1 contract that started in April of last year.  Stewarts going till the fall, maybe even say December.  By the time Olivers contract is up in April, could be the transition hiatus for Daily Show.  Heck, I can't believe the hiatus time of Colburn from the Report to the Late Show.  

 

As pointed above, Stewart was the highest paid in Cable.  So you can throw money at Oliver.  And Comedy Central just might, since it needs Oliver more than HBO needs Oliver.  

 

4 days a week, prime time, vs 1 day a week in the late show timeframe.  Biggest advantage Comedy Central might have.  Pick your days and times.  There are talks of expanding Olivers days on HBO, but I think it would still that late night hours.  With the programming that HBO has, I don't think they can guarantee prime time on any days.  

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Glen can't post at work but he wanted to add:

 

Goddamn Hinkle (Cory) stole my thunder twice last night on twitter.  First with Joel McHale, and second with an even better choice, Nick Offermann.  I'd love to see him do it.  If one of you can post that in the thread I'd be good with it.  For some reason I can view the site at work but I can't log in.  Thanks, Obama!

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