For many, last night was a mix of emotions. For some it was a day to proudly cast a vote, making their voices heard and fulfilling an age-old civic duty. For those opposed, it was a day to protest through inaction, decrying what they see as a faulty system.
For the apathetic and possibly comedy-inclined, it was a day to eat Funyuns, try to figure out that whole “Alex from Target” meme, and forlornly bid farewell to the era of Colbert-Stewart election coverage.
The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have both been a sort of combined political lighthouse for everyone ranging from the casual political dabbler to the hardcore political scientist, masterfully injecting comedy into politics and highlighting the absurdity of the game therein. Sadly, as Stephen Colbert prepares to leave Colbert Report by December for his new gig as the host of Late Show, last night was actually the last time Colbert would cover the elections, and consequently the last time the duo would be just that, a duo.
Aside from the comedy fodder that a frustrating Republican Senate sweep offered, the coverage was solid but usual. A random return to the Daily Show from Rob Riggle and John Hodgman joining as part of “The Stack” along with Colbert’s gimmicky consultant Andrew Sullivan giving real-time stats from a mock digital café all closed out the election coverage deftly and altogether hysterically.
While Colbert still has another month and a half of shows left until his departure, last night’s farewell, despite causing Colbert some “chagrin” in its drama, did actually bum me out. Over the years, people have taken their political cues and armchair talking points from the Daily Show and Colbert Report, so it feels weird to know that we won’t get that anymore. We’ll get Stewart being keenly witty, incisive, and sometimes surreptitiously confrontational. We’ll get Colbert as a late night host, most likely being a lot less tongue-in-cheek about his political stances. But we won’t get them together, nor will we get Colbert the character (though hopefully, he’ll be back). We won’t have Colbert being the caricature ballbuster Yin to Stewart’s funny but sometimes combative Yang.
For years, we’ve all been spoiled with an hour block of legitimately decent journalism and staffs that boast almost 15 consecutive writing Emmys. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned over eight years of watching their election coverage, it’s that I actually learned a lot more than I thought. Nothing educates like someone making you laugh about a hellish political landscape and the world you live in. So, we’re going to miss you, Stephen. Almost as much as you’ll miss you.