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Jon Stewart is returning to stand-up.
The former Daily Show host is set to headline two comedy specials for HBO, where he has a four-year production deal. The news was announced at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday afternoon. The programs mark the first stand-up specials for Stewart since his first one, 1996’s Jon Stewart: Unleavened, which also aired on HBO. The dates and locations of the new specials have yet to be confirmed.
“We’re excited to bring Jon to the network with this pair of specials. We’ve all missed his uniquely thoughtful brand of humor,” said HBO’s programming president Casey Bloys. Added Stewart: “I’m really thrilled to be able to return to stand-up on HBO. They’ve always set the standard for great stand-up specials. Plus, I can finally use up the last of the Saddam Hussein jokes left over from my first special.”
The announcements come a few months after HBO and Stewart scrapped a shortform animation venture from the 16-year Comedy Central vet and cloud-graphics company OTOY. “We all thought the project had great potential but there were technical issues in terms of production and distribution that proved too difficult given the quick turnaround and topical nature of the material,” the pair said in a joint statement at the time.
In addition to the pair of standup specials, Stewart will host the latest Night of Too Many Stars all-star benefit for nonprofit organization NEXT for AUTISM this fall, which will be presented live from The Theater at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 18 and will feature stand-up performances, sketches and short films. Stewart’s previous HBO hosting credits include the special George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy and Mr. Show With Bob and David, as well as a recurring role on The Larry Sanders Show.
On stage at TCA, Bloys elaborated on the standup special space, which Netflix has been dominating of late. “We’ve done standup for a long time. It was a relatively low cost way to be in the cultural conversation,” he said. “But as a category, standup specials account for less than 1 percent of usage on [HBO] Go and Now … so it’s hard for me to pay exorbitant prices. When prices come down, or when it makes sense again, it’s relatively easy to get back in. We’ll wait it out.”
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