Jon Stewart has been a staple on late night comedy and television for years, and has amassed a good following of fans for both his stellar journalism and dry comedic timing. Longtime fans who remembered him only ever taking swipes at conservative politicians were recently shocked, though, when Stewart returned to The Daily Show after nine years and took aim at President Joe Biden.

Jon Stewart and The Daily Show

Jon Stewart left his late night television show nearly a decade ago, and was quickly replaced by Trevor Noah, who hosted the show for several years. The Daily Show is a satirical comedy show in the vein of The Colbert Report and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, which addresses modern issues with a satirical twist from the comedic host.

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Stewart has been known for his dry wit in the past, as well as his ability to get right to the heart of an issue, whether that be during a joke or an interview with a slippery businessman. The announcement that he was coming back to The Daily Show was a welcome surprise to many of his fans, who were excited to see what new material he would bring to the late night program.

A Discussion of Biden and Trump

Stewart lit up the audience like he usually did on his first appearance back, and the first half of the show was engaged in a segment that Stewart called “Indecision 2024.” In it, he expressed exasperation over Donald Trump and Biden, to the surprise of his audience.

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Stewart’s reasoning behind the complaint is that Biden and Trump are the oldest-ever candidates for president, breaking the record that the pair set for themselves in 2020. He also took a moment to lament his own age and appearance, breaking the tension that had settled somewhat, but that wasn’t the end of the conversation.

Taking Shots at Both Biden and Trump

Stewart went on to mock some of Trump’s most unhinged comments that he’s made recently, but it didn’t spare Biden at all. Stewart leaned into the fact that Biden has recently been questioned for his mental stability and acuity.

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At one point in the monologue, Stewart showed a video of Biden from a recent press conference that the president held to address accusations from a Special Counsel about his mental state. The Justice Department probe characterized him as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory” when referring to the fact that Biden evidently mixed up Mexico and Egypt during his interview.

Both Should be Held Accountable

Stewart’s takeaway and analysis from his comments regarding both candidates was that they should both have to prove their fitness for office. Mental, and physical, given the advanced age of both of the candidates.

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“What’s crazy is thinking that we’re the ones, as voters, who must silence concerns and criticisms,” he said during his monologue. “It is the candidates’ job to assuage concerns, not the voters’ job not to mention them.”

Biden, Compared to Trump

Stewart didn’t shy away from Trump’s former actions, or the danger that he perceives from a second Trump term. On the contrary to much of the country, though, Stewart doesn’t think that Trump’s dangerous actions exempt Biden from scrutiny.

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In fact, Stewart thinks that Biden should be under further scrutiny due to the fact that he is the most plausible candidate for president. If the Republicans are going to accept a candidate that is outwardly crooked, Steward seems to think that the Democrats need to take the even higher ground and run a candidate that is squeaky clean from the get-go.

A Polarizing Opinion

The monologue, understandably, was polarizing. For leftists and liberals who have been frustrated with Biden – particularly his commitment to Israel and his lack of action on campaign promises such as student loan forgiveness – the assessment was not only fair, it was obvious.

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More centrist Democrats and even some Republicans who are staunch anti-Trumpers, though, were frustrated. The monologue by Stewart was seen as a betrayal from one of their own, and many of them took to the internet to express their discontent.

Reactions from Biden Supporters

Chis D. Jackson, an election commissioner from Tennessee, summed up the general mood from these individuals in a Tweet. “So you basically say because Biden is old, he is basically as bad as Trump. Why…do we never learn in this country?”

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Kaivan Shroff, a Democratic commentator and press secretary for the political nonprofit Dream for America, took a shot at Stewart himself, claiming that he and Biden look to be the same age, despite the fact that Stewart is 20 years Biden’s junior.

Media Figures Responded

Other liberal media figures were similarly unimpressed with Stewart’s interpretation of the situation. Aaron Rupar, an independent journalist, complained that the material was “basically the New York Times op-ed page in TV form.” He also grumbled that “both sides are not, in fact, equally bad!”

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Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann called Stewart a “bothsidesist fraud,” before stating that he hoped that Stewart would be taking another nine year break from the show. The “both-sides-ism” of Stewart’s monologue seemed to be what irked Biden supporters most of all, and many denounced Stewart’s false equivalences.


Conservatives seemed pleasantly surprised by Stewart’s commentary from The Daily Show, but ultimately, liberals are his audience. The strong reaction to Stewart’s equivalencies seems to suggest that Stewart might need to adjust his takes in the future, or expect further controversy.

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The monologue does shine a light on an issue that Democrats will have going forward, though. If Biden can’t even capture the entirety of his base, including prominent liberal comedians such as Stewart, he has a tough road ahead when it comes to rallying Democrats head of the 2024 general showdown between him and Donald Trump.