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Handicapping Jon Stewart's 'Daily Show' Successor

By Craig Wack | Lists | February 12, 2015 |

By Craig Wack | Lists | February 12, 2015 |

Many fans are still reeling from Jon Stewart’s announcement that he will depart the Daily Show before the end of the year. No one knows what the proper mourning period is for such shocking pop culture news, but it’s really not too early to kick around some names as his successor.

These shoes might be bigger to fill than David Letterman’s. Stewart tuned a funny little fake news show in to the primary source of political thought for a generation of viewers and launched the careers of some of the top comedians out there today.

Here’s a list (by no means comprehensive) of candidates and their chances of filling Jon Stewart’s chair.

‘Daily Show’ Alumni

Samantha Bee & Jason Jones

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Pros: Two of the longest tenured correspondents in the history of the show. Married. Jones and Bee jointly filled in for Stewart for a short stint last year. The dual anchor/husband-wife combo would be a good way to shake up the vibe of the show without altering its core.

Cons: Both Canadian. Might confuse audience with talk of parliamentary procedure, hockey and ministers that are prime.

Odds of landing the job: 8 to 1

Wyatt Cynac

Pros: Has been a solid writer throughout his career. Was voice of the Daily Show’s puppet version of RNC chairman Michael Steele. Has right mix of comic timing and political conviction to fill the role.

Cons: It’s been a couple of years since he was a regular contributor to the show. Has a pretty good career mixing both standup and voice work. The everyday grind of the show might make him “restless.”

Odds of landing the job: 10 to 1

Jessica Williams

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Pros: The show’s latest breakout star. Her segments are usually cutting and never miss the mark. Her appearances go viral with great frequency.

Cons: While Comedy Central might jump all over the opportunity to have the only woman leading a show on late night television, they are going to be also wary about handing over one of their programming cornerstones to a comedian who is still green.

Odds of landing the job: 5 to 1

John Oliver
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Pros: Dimples. Subbed for Stewart for three months and did such a good job, Oliver landed his own show on HBO. Would be hard to argue against if he was selected.

Cons: Suffers from same crippling non-Americaness as some other candidates. His own show has quickly developed its own unique voice and going back to the Daily Show might feel like a step back. Wouldn’t be able to make biting jokes about Outback Steakhouse or other sponsors on basic cable.

Odds of landing the job: 1,000 to 1


Chris Hardwick
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Pros: If not one of the hardest working guys in basic cable, then is certainly one with the most jobs. Plays off other comedians well. With his Nerdist podcast experience is comfortable in just about any interview situation. A master of social media.

Cons: Has a sort of “love him or hate him” quality. May remind people a little too much of Craig Kilbourn.

Odds of landing the job: 15 to 1.

Paul F. Tompkins

Pros: Does great interviews. Has been a go-to person for shows of all kinds for his observations about pop culture and events.

Cons: Personal style is best described as “Barbershop Quartet,” not exactly something that screams “watch me” to the millennial demographic.

Odds of landing the job: 99 to 1

Cecily Strong

Pros: Made a positive impression during her time as anchor of “Weekend Update” on Saturday Night Live.

Cons: Interviewing Drunk Uncle does not exactly prepare one for sit-downs with senators and Nobel laureates.

Odds of landing the job: 250 to 1

Colin Jost and/or Michael Che

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Pros: Bwahahahahahah. Wooooo. Hahahaha. But seriously, Che did a brief stint on the Daily Show and Jost is also on TV regularly.

Cons: Have you seen “Weekend Update” this season? These dudes got schooled by Riblet a couple of weeks ago. John McCain would eat them alive.

Odds of landing the job: Think of the largest number you can and double it to 1.

Craig Wack really just added that last one as a palate cleanser. Please follow his Twitter.

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