By Brian Ives, Radio.com
After hearing the depressing news that Jon Stewart will leave “The Daily Show” later this year, we spent a few moments in slack jawed silence. Followed by what any pop-culture obsessives would do: try and figure out who has the insanely daunting job of replacing the man who became a legend by making fun of the news (and the news media), and unexpectedly becoming one of the most trusted voices in news of his generation.
It needs to be someone who can poke fun at a presidential election, but who also understands what’s at stake in an election. Someone who understands the political system enough to poke fun at it, but also knows that people’s lives are affected in real ways by decisions made within that system.
Two bonus qualities: being able to conduct interviews, and to ask uncomfortable questions during those interviews (easier said than done, especially in front of a live audience) and also the ability to recognize and nurture talent: keep in mind that Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Olivia Munn, Larry Wilmore, Ed Helms, John Oliver and Mo Rocca, among others, have done time as “The Daily Show” correspondents.
Here is Radio.com‘s top five:
1. Tina Fey
Lots of comedians have made fun of, and mimicked, politicians. But how many have torpedoed a politician’s career with their take on the politician? Just one that we can think of. But of course Fey’s talents go far, far beyond her ability to mimic the onetime Mayor of Wasilla.
Why she’d be great: From 2000 to 2006, she sat at “Saturday Night Live’s” “Weekend Update” desk, what better way to prepare yourself for “The Daily Show” desk? Also, she’s clearly great at recognizing and harnessing the talent of others: recall the cast of the show she starred in and created, “30 Rock”: Jack McBrayer, Scott Adsit and Judah Friedlander were all gems in the cast (alongside more well-known actors Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski and Alec Baldwin.)
2. Patton Oswalt
He’s kind of your everyman… if you spend at least ten weekends at year at various Comic Cons. But he’s able to go back and forth between geeking out about movies, comic books and hair metal to discussing gay marriage.
Why he’d be great: We don’t know if he’s done many interviews in real life (although we liked this one with Maynard James Keenan from Tool, A Perfect Circle and Pussifer), but when he played talk show host Baxter Sarno on the “Battlestar Galactica” prequel series “Caprica” (what, you don’t remember that series?) he was pretty convincing.
3. Chris Rock
Being funny and making fun of politicians is one thing, but will you be able to do it to a politician’s face? It takes a lot of guts. Rock has never been afraid to “go there,” and mock society. It’s wrong, and it makes you uncomfortable. And you laugh anyway. He hasn’t lost his edge, either: a proved that with his monologue from his hosting stint on “Saturday Night Live” from last year. In less than eight minutes, he goes hard at our society for commercializing holidays, pisses off the NRA and takes the piss out of himself.
Why he’d be great: All of the above reasons, but also the fact that he’s done interviews before: he hosted his own “Chris Rock Show” on HBO for six seasons.
4. Sarah Silverman
Those who love her, love her, but she doesn’t pander to anyone, friends or enemies. She embraces the fact that she’s the textbook example of the word “offensive.”
Why she’d be great: Even Jesus himself called upon her to spread his message in a video, she broke ranks, just a little, with progressives, showing compassion and understanding for those on the other side of the pro-choice fence. (“People who believed fertilized eggs are people, are people too… You’re not better than them,” said JC.) Also, she’s already run her own show: “The Sarah Silverman Program” which featured Brian Posehen and Tig Notaro.
5. Jessica Williams
She’s a correspondent on “The Daily Show” right now, and was their youngest hire when she started at the age of 25, bringing both youth and a non-white perspective to the show, when it kinda needed both. But forget that – she’s hilarious and holds her own at the table with Jon Stewart himself.
Why she’d be great: Tune in any night for the next few weeks and see for yourself.