WDET’s Travis Wright and Laura Weber-Davis talk to Katherine Trendacosta, io9 night editor and writer, about Jon Stewart’s resignation from the Daily Show. Trendacosta wrote an article about her experience and thoughts binge-watching the Daily Show before Stewart’s resignation.
- Turning points: Trendacosta says that there is no one turning point that marks when the Daily Show took on the serious political role it has today, and that the tone of the show has changed in waves. Laura and Travis bring up Stewart’s appearance on Crossfire as a turning point in how Jon Stewart was perceived.
- Viewer relationships with Jon Stewart: Travis says that he thinks many people have individual relationships with Jon Stewart and the Daily Show correspondents, and asks Trendacosta what it was like for her to watch that relationship draw to a close. She says she came to terms with Stewart’s departure when she binge-watched the show, but it was surprisingly upsetting to watch him go. She says that people turned to him for validation for their frustration and confusion in times of political turmoil.
- Touching farewell: Travis says one of the most touching moments in the farewell episode was when Stephen Colbert did not let the show go to commercial. Laura points out that Colbert is one of a laundry list of people who have gone on from the Daily Show to successful independent careers. Trendacosta says Stewart has always let his correspondents flourish by playing the straight man during their segments.
- Frustration threshold: Laura asks if Stewart is leaving because he feels like he cannot do any more, or that he has reached a frustration threshold. Trendacosta says she does not want to play armchair psychologist, but Stewart has said the show deserves someone who is “not the least bit reckless”. She points out that he has become less optimistic about America’s future over the years, especially about race.
- Changing media landscape: Trendacosta says that we still need someone to do Jon Stewart’s job, but media is changing. She says Trevor Noah has said digital media will be what matters, but thinks the Daily Show’s broader TV audience is still important.
Click the audio link above to hear the full conversation.