Jon Stewart has said he wanted to step down as host of The Daily Show because he couldn’t face another US presidential election.
The presenter of the American satirical news programme said that after 16 years doing the show and watching cable news channels, he had had enough of the daily grind.
“I’d covered an election four times, and it didn’t appear that there was going to be anything wildly different about this one,” he said in an interview with The Guardian.
He explained that he realised he wasn’t getting the same satisfaction from the show, and that he would rather give his successor the “assisted fuel” of a presidential campaign to get started with.
“It’s not like I thought the show wasn’t working any more, or that I didn’t know how to do it. It was more, ‘Yup, it’s working. But I’m not getting the same satisfaction,’” Stewart said.
The 52-year-old also said he was tired of watching cable news channels like Fox News every day, and was looking froward to escaping the “depressing” cycle.
“Watching these channels all day is incredibly depressing,” Stewart said. “I live in a constant state of depression. I think of us as turd miners. I put on my helmet, I go and mine turds, hopefully I don’t get turd lung disease.”
Stewart announced in February 2015 that he would be leaving The Daily Show after 16 years at the helm. He told a studio audience, “In my heart I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity.”
It has still not been announced when Stewart will step down, although his successor Trevor Noah was revealed at the end of March. He will take over some time later this year.
Stewart reiterated in the interview that he always saw what he did as comedy rather than news, even though he was once voted the most trusted news source for young Americans.
Commentators in both the States and the United Kingdom have paid tribute to what Stewart has achieved on The Daily Show. Radio 4’s Today programme presenter Justin Webb wrote recently in Radio Times that “the well-researched jokiness of Stewart beat the nightly news to a pulp.”
But Stewart said the show and the country would manage without him. “If Oprah can leave and the world still spins, I honestly think it will survive me,” he joked.