Jon Stewart returned to Daily Program on Monday night with the opening line: “Now where was I?”
The presenter takes over as president of the satirical newscast on a part-time basis during the 2024 election season and will host the Monday night broadcast, with a rotating roster of correspondents from Tuesday to Thursday. His temporary return follows the departure of Trevor Noah in December 2022 and the series' unsuccessful year-long search to find the show's next permanent host.
Three minutes after returning to the table after adjourning the session nine years ago, Stewart took aim at President Joe Biden and former President Trump — taking shots at both 2024 presidential candidates for their age-related mistakes.
Declaring “Indecision 2024: Electoral Dysfunction,” Stewart accepted special counsel Robert Hur's report that determined Biden did not violate any laws in handling classified documents, while also characterizing him as an elderly man with a poor memory.
“This guy couldn't remember anything during his testimony. Do you understand what that means? He didn’t have the ability to remember very basic things during the interrogation,” Stewart said, before cutting to a video of Trump claiming he couldn’t remember simple facts about his life during the depositions. The host joked, “Biden has lost a step, but Trump regularly says things at rallies that would warrant a wellness check.”
After playing a clip from Biden's cringe-worthy TikTok video themed around Sunday's Super Bowl and a snippet of Trump bizarrely declaring that dunking magnets in water was “the end of magnets,” Stewart asked the audience: “The question then is : what is the end of magnets?” What the fuck are we doing here, guys?
“These two candidates face similar challenges,” Stewart said. “And it’s not crazy to think that the oldest people in the country’s history who have ever run for president might face some of these challenges.” He continued: “We are not suggesting that either is vibrant, productive or even capable. But both are pushing the limits of their ability to handle the world's toughest job. What is crazy is thinking that it is we, voters, who should silence concerns and criticism. It’s the candidate’s job to assuage concerns.”
Stewart noted that while Biden is not Trump—who, among a host of legal troubles, faces four charges and has been found responsible for sexual abuse and defamation—the “stakes of this election do not make Donald Trump's opponent any less subject to scrutiny”. The host added, “It actually makes you more subject to scrutiny.”
Before wrapping up his first night back, Stewart concluded: “If your guy loses, bad things can happen, but the country isn’t over. And if your guy wins, the country will not be saved at all.”
“So the good news is: I'm not saying you don't need to worry about who wins the election,” he added. “I’m saying you need to worry about every day before and every day after, forever.”
Fortunately, he pointed out, “I’m told that at some point the Sun will run out of hydrogen.”