I never really had idols but John Stewart was about as close as they come.
I’ve been watching The Daily Show since 1996, and avidly since 2000 after John Stewart took the helm in 1999. It sparked my insatiable thirst for political humor and was no small part of my personal political evolution.
As of writing this, my only regular TV consumption of the past several years has been comprised of The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher and now Last Week with John Oliver, three of the four were (somewhat) under the Daily Show.
John Stewart was the port in the storm for left-leaning intellectuals during the Bush years. I once got in a heated debate during Thanksgiving back in 2003 with my Uncle, my cousin and his friend Ricky as they watched Bill O'Reilly. As a cornerstone of my debate was John Stewart’s lampooning of Fox News distortion of reality. It sounds trivial today, but calling Bill O’ Reilly puppet in 2003 was essentially labeling myself as ultra-minority of anti-American communist anarcho-socialists who wallowed in self-hatred. It felt being the only sober person in car full of boisterious drunks who wouldn’t let you take the wheel. I much prefer things today to then, and Stewart was one of the key people reframing the debate between left and right.
Its easy to forget what life was like back in the early 2000s post 9/11 (or perhaps for many on Tumblr, impossible to remember) but America waved its civil-rights along with its flags, and political dissent seemed to be underwhelming at best.
That said, John Stewart was always poignant and always amazing.