Last night I watched Jon Stewart's last Daily Show.
I fell in love with him after September 11th. He delivered an opening monologue, the one posted below. It was a heartfelt, honest piece where he shared his grieving with us and his continued belief in the good of humanity and his hope it wouldn't change his country. I don't remember how I even found it as I didn't watch the show at the time but he touched me and moved me and I wasn't the same.
In the intervening years the show at times has been a life-saver, especially when I moved back in with my parents, who are in thrall with Fox News. I could laugh at the things that were infuriating me and feel there was a kindred spirit out there. But my favourite moments were when Jon let his indignation show, or when he grieved with us as another tragedy came our way.
Last night was typical Jon - honouring all the people who made the show the success it is. And he did have one final message for us before it was all done. But what has stayed with me was when Stephen Colbert, speaking on behalf of all who had been touched by working with him, thanked him.
“We owe you because we learned from you. We learned from you how to do a show with intention, how to work with clarity, how to treat people with respect. You were infuriatingly good at your job... All of us who were lucky enough to work with you...are better at our jobs because we got to watch you do yours. And we are better people for having know you. You are a great artist and a good man.”
I want people to be able to say this about me. So it's time to get good at my job.
I also really admire how Colbert did this. He knew the right things to do to force him to listen and knew just how far to go before Jon would completely lose it and when he reaches that point, he references an old segment he did on the show to mix laughter in with tears.
In the planned part of the segment, Colbert likens Jon to Frodo, another person who came to wield power but who never asked for it. Jon can be too self-effacing but he's a great example of how one sets out to be the best they can be, and the world follows. The analogy is apt. And inspiring.