The comedian has stopped by 'CBS This Morning,' Stephen Colbert's 'Late Show,' Samantha Bee's 'Full Frontal' and the Emmy and Peabody Awards to dispense political satire and media criticism laced with sarcasm and self-deprecation.
It's been a year since Jon Stewart signed off as host of Comedy Central's Daily Show but he's far from disappeared since ending his more-than-16-year run on the fake news show.
Instead, Stewart's made several public appearances, starting with an Emmy win for his last year with The Daily Show and most recently bashing Fox News' embrace of Donald Trump on CBS' The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, on which Stewart also serves as an executive producer.
In these moments when he's returned to the spotlight, Stewart's shown that while he's grown a thick gray beard since leaving The Daily Show, he hasn't lost his flair for political satire (including his Donald Trump impression) and media criticism. He's also continued to remain humble, much as he did before leaving The Daily Show, in which he repeatedly urged fans not to overreact to him merely stepping down as host of a nightly cable show, reminding them that he was neither retiring nor dying.
In fact, in his final show, Stewart said he saw his exit as a "small pause" in his conversation with the audience.
"This is just a conversation. This show isn't ending. We're merely taking a small pause," he said. "Nothing ends. It's just a continuation; it's a pause in the conversation. So rather than saying, 'Goodbye' or 'Goodnight.' I'm just gonna say, 'I'm gonna get a drink. I'm sure I'll see you guys before I leave.' "
And Stewart has seen the audience multiple times since then. He's also signed a four-year deal with HBO, ensuring he'll keep the conversation going, and is preparing an Onion-like animated parody of a cable news network, which HBO execs hope to debut in the fall.
In the meantime, The Hollywood Reporter has rounded up seven of Stewart's memorable post-Daily Show public appearances, presented in chronological order.
A little more than a month after leaving The Daily Show, Stewart took the stage at the Emmys to accept the best variety talk series award for his show. He also joked that he experienced a rude awakening in the "barren wasteland" that is the post-TV star world and warned others in the industry not to do what he did.
"To everybody on television, I just want to tell you: cling to it as long as you can. Like death. Like in Titanic, the guy who was — cling to it," Stewart said. "I have been off of television for six weeks, seven weeks, whatever it is. This is the first applause I've heard."
Unlike on TV show sets, with craft services, Stewart explained, "Out in the world there are tables with food, but you can't take it. It costs money. Very little of it is gluten-free or vegan." In closing, he said something that quickly proved not to be true: "You will never have to see me again."
In an appearance on CBS This Morning about a month later, joining his wife Tracey in parts of her interview from their New Jersey farm to promote her book Do Unto Animals, he revealed that he doesn't miss the show or regret leaving it.
"I miss the people I worked with," Stewart said, later adding, "I feel like I completed [my time on The Daily Show] to the best of my ability. All I can do now is be happy I had that opportunity."
And in between taking his kids to school, picking them up and becoming "mayor of the smoothie store," he's writing.
"It's not like I don't feel productive or creative, but rather than just painting with three colors, I get to get the whole thing now," Stewart said.
In November Stewart reunited with Bruce Springsteen, who served as musical guest on his final Daily Show, and revived his Donald Trump impression during his annual set at the NY Comedy Festival and Bob Woodruff Foundation's Stand Up for Heroes benefit for wounded veterans.
"Are we really doing this Donald Trump thing? We're really doing that as a country?" he asked the audience in reference to the fact that the real-estate mogul was then not only still running for president but doing well in the polls.
"He's f—ed," Stewart continued. "I like to put my name in giant letters on everything I own as much as the next guy, but the only other people that do that are like 8-year-olds going to camp."
And then he brought back the Trump impression: "Where did I put that building? Oh there it is, Trump. Boom. Where's my f—ing helicopter? Boom, Trump. ... Where's my wife? Boom, Trump, nice."
Later he added, "It's like an internet comment troll ran for president."
"People are like, 'I like Trump; he says what he thinks.' What he thinks is stupid," Stewart said to loud laughter and applause. "That's like if your friend is like, 'I would like to f— your mom.' Why would you say that? ... I don't give a shit if you're politically correct, just be correct, correct."
He also took on Ben Carson ("the greatest juxtaposition between volume of voice and craziness of shit he says") and the brief possibility that Joe Biden would run for president. ("We're a year away from the presidency, and we're already bored with the 25 people running. We're like, 'You know what would be great is if Biden ran?' Biden? Have you watched him during the State of the Union? It’s like watching a guy work a sales convention.")
And he brought his call for gun-legislation reform to the packed Madison Square Garden theater.
"We don't do shit about guns," Stewart said. "I'm not trying to take people's guns away. Let's just be smart about it. But we won't even f—ing talk about it. 30,000 people die each year: Suicides, homicides, guns. We don't do shit. We don't do anything. We don't even say anything … You know what you need to buy a gun? Money. You know what you need to adopt a cat? … They will come to your f—ing house! Just to make sure it's a safe environment for a cat."
In addition, he joked about how he'd appeared to age dramatically since he left The Daily Show, making what would become a frequent remark of referring to himself as "Jon Stewart's grandfather."
"Look at me. Look what happened," he said. "I left TV two months ago. What the f— happened? I'm old as shit now. How long did it take Tom Hanks in Cast Away?"
In December Stewart made the first in what would become multiple appearances on his old friend and colleague Stephen Colbert's Late Show, on which Stewart also serves as an executive producer.
He interrupted Colbert's monologue to push Congress to renew the Zadroga Act, a law that provides health benefits for 9/11 first responders who became ill after the attacks. Stewart also stopped by The Daily Show, where he assured new host Trevor Noah he wasn't there to take back his show, to call for the renewal of the Zadroga Act, but his appearance on The Late Show was more theatrical.
Stewart started talking but Colbert wasn't buying it and insisted that Stewart "Trump it up" to get his point across. "Face it, Jon, the media won't pay attention to anything at all unless you are Donald Trump," Colbert said.
To help Stewart channel Trump, Colbert offered him a Trump-like wig and applied some Cheetos dust "makeup" to Stewart's face.
Then, imitating Trump, Stewart insisted Congress re-up the law, "or I will glue Congress together dip them in gold and wear them around my friggin' neck."
He also called the first responders, "the most top-notch, first-class, diamond-encrusted heroes America can produce."
In May, Stewart stopped by the Peabody Awards, where his version of the Daily Show was honored alongside documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson and David Letterman, who also left his own late-night show in 2015.
Stewart, who was joined onstage by his former Daily Show staffers, began by joking that the video of highlights played beforehand was a bit much. "I think we all miss Jon Stewart and I think we see from that eulogy what a wonderful man he was," he joked. "I hope someday I get to meet him because he seems like a hell of a guy." Stewart also was impressed by the news programs being honored, featuring stories about rape, the European migrant crisis, illegal immigration and ISIS in Afghanistan and poked fun at his show's significance, or lack thereof, despite its many accolades.
"To be here in a room with you guys, the amazing work that you're doing, I'm shocked at the breadth and somewhat disappointed at the just terrible conditions in the world that you all are addressing through your good work, because I thought that we, over our 16 years, had healed a lot of this through witty repartee — but apparently shit's still going down," said Stewart. "You are really our heroes. We tell jokes on 11th Avenue in front of a green screen. You actually go to these places and tell these stories through courage and clarity and brevity and power and so in many ways you are what we all aspire to be and desperately cry out for. So thank you for being that."
Stewart, who indicated he's happily enjoying some downtime on the farm he shares with his family, also joked that his Peabody honor would serve as a perfect gift for his wife, since the two were celebrating their 16th anniversary that night. "Every year on our anniversary, I try to get her a prestigious award and every year I fail," Stewart said. "This is the first year it's worked out. Usually I just write on a piece of paper, 'Nobel Prize for having married out of your religion.'"
He also engaged in a bit of mock bragging, joking that the award should both impress his kids and make up for all of the time he spent away from home working on the nightly show: "To my children who are not here tonight, 'Boom. In your face! Yeah, daddy was gone for 10 years. But guess what? Totally worth it.'"
In June Stewart made a brief cameo on former Daily Show colleague Samantha Bee's TBS show, Full Frontal. He offered himself as a resource for Bee to ask his advice, but she had a very specific problem that he seemed to be more suited for in his post-Daily Show life on a farm. "What do I do with this guy?" Bee asked, pointing to a tiny white horse. When Stewart was left alone with the animal, though, he made a memorable joke. "Let me ask you a question," he said to the horse. "You're white, are you voting for Trump?"
In July Stewart made two appearances on Stephen Colbert's Late Show during his week of live shows tied to the 2016 Republican National Convention. First Colbert pretended to track him down to a cabin in the woods where Stewart, complete with a spit-take, acted shocked that Donald Trump was on the verge of becoming the Republican presidential nominee not one-time favorite Jeb Bush.
Later in the week, he returned to a familiar setting of delivering media criticism from behind a desk, even sporting a suit and clip-on tie, courtesy of the Late Show wardrobe department. He swapped places with Colbert and delivered a scorching takedown of Fox News and its embrace of Trump, "a man who clearly embodies all the things that they have for years said that they have hated about Barack Obama." He singled out Fox News anchor Sean Hannity, whom Stewart called "Lumpy," claiming he forgot his name, to show how right-wing media is now "making the turn" to embrace Trump.
"Either Lumpy and his friends are lying about being bothered by thin-skinned, authoritarian, less-than-Christian readers-of-prompters being president or they don't care as long as it's their thin-skinned, prompter, authoritarian, tyrant, prompter narcissist," Stewart summarized. He then called out those who felt they "owned" the U.S. and want their country back.
"You just want that person to give you your country back. Because you feel that you're this country's rightful owners. There's only one problem with that. This country isn't yours. You don't own it. It never was. There is no real America. You don't own it," Stewart said, getting fired up. "You don't own patriotism; you don't own Christianity; you sure as hell don't own respect for the bravery and sacrifice of military police and firefighters. Trust me. I saw a lot of people on the convention floor in Cleveland with their blue lives matter rhetoric who either remained silent or actively fought against the 9/11 first responders bill reauthorization. I see you and I see your bullshit."
He added, "Those fighting to be included in the ideal of equality are not being divisive, those fighting to keep those people out are."