authentic reflections of a life desired to live well

Farewell to The Daily Show

The final episode has been aired. It’s over. Jon Stewart has really left the Daily Show. Whether or not you have seen the show in it’s 16-year run or avoid it because you have preconceived notions about his politics, there’s one thing that was crystal clear on his finale: culture matters to Jon Stewart.

I’d challenge you if you have never watched an episode to catch the finale and you’ll get a window into something special – maybe even take some of the principles and bring them into your church [perish the thought!]. Here are some observations of the night:

Segment One: Correspondants

The first bit was to give face time to the correspondents that have been on the show over the 16-year run. He even let Jason Jones shamelessly plug his new show on TBS. The focus wasn’t on him. It was honoring those who shared the screen with him over the years.

Why this was important: It showcased Stewart’s legacy. There were a ton of people in this bit who got their start and were nurtured by Jon Stewart including Stephen Colbert, Lewis Black, John Hodgman, and Steve Carell. They wanted to honor him and he wanted to honor them.

Question: What are you doing now to create this type of legacy in your church or team?

Segment Two: Staff

The second segment he lavished on his staff. He introduced a pre-filmed single camera Birdman-inspired bit to talk about his team. He said that the best part of the show wasn’t the show at all. It was the people and the culture they had built over the years. He said the staff – the people – is the thing he’ll miss the most.

This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, and I’ll never have it again.

Jon Stewart

Why this was important: It magnifies that culture is the most crucial part of building something meaningful – and even profitable. People matter. And it doesn’t happen overnight.

Question: Is your team more about you or about the people/team?

Best moment of the night: Stephen Colbert

The best moment of the night was unscripted. The producers tagged Colbert to thank Stewart for his investment in them.

“We owe you”, Stephen said. Because we learned from you by example how to do a show, how to treat people with respect. You are infuriatingly good at your job. We are better people for having known you. You are a great man”. –

Stephen Colbert

Why this is important: I believe we measure leadership fruitfulness by, well, fruit. Who is coming after you to carry the torch? Who did you inspire, mentor, invest, believe in that now can do amazing things because you were involved? There was literally a multitude of people who could say of Jon Stewart, “We wouldn’t be the people we are today without you.” Man, I’d kill for one person to say that to me someday. There were over a hundred who did last week to Jon Stewart. Question: who can say that about you? Who can you say that about?

Watch It For Yourself

Watching the finale, it felt a bit like a scene from Hebrews and the great cloud of witnesses. It’s taken him nearly seventeen years to build what he did. Or course it’s not perfect. But watching, it sure felt like he did more right than wrong. Ask those who worked closely with him. Ask those who no longer work for him. Then ask yourself: What are you building? I gotta tell you, if I worked with a group for nearly seventeen years, I’d hope for half of what I watched last week.

“I’m Sure I’ll See You Guys Before I Leave”

Jon, you made us laugh. You make us think. And you did stuff that made the world better. I can’t wait to see what you tackle next. If the legacy you left TDS is any indication, it’ll probably be pretty amazing. What was your favorite Daily Show moment?

About the author


Husband, father, & motorcycle enthusiast. @MSUComArtSci educator. @MSUStratCom admin. @TedLasso student. Aiming for a life well lived.

Follow on @jasonarcher

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By Jason
authentic reflections of a life desired to live well



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