In the past few years, we’ve seen the late-night talk show industry play a massive game of musical chairs. Brand-name hosts have moved, retired and been born. The Tonight Show, perhaps the grand dame of the scene, which was once hosted by the legendary Johnny Carson, is now the domain of Jimmy Fallon. Conan O’Brien, who hosted The Tonight Show for a brief, awkward, unsuccessful period in 2010, has his own show, Conan. Seth Myers hosts Late Night. Craig Ferguson, host of the Late Late Show, is being replaced by James Corden. Stephen Colbert, who became famous as Jon Stewart’s sidekick, is leaving his won The Colbert Report, to take over for David Letterman on the Late Show. Chelsea Handler became a phenomenon on E! Entertainment, John Oliver has a new late night program on HBO and Comedy Central inaugurated a new show with Larry Wilmore as host.
All this time – for the past 17 years, to be exact – Jon Stewart has been the iconic host of The Daily Show, giving opinion and personality to its unique brand of comedy/news. This week, Stewart announced that he will be leaving the show. “It’s time for someone else to have that opportunity,” he said on air. Without giving a specific date for the transition or mentioning a replacement, he suggested that it could happen in September or December of this year. Stewart mentioned that he did not currently have any professional plans. “I’m gonna have dinner on a school night with my family, who I have heard, from multiple sources, are lovely people,” he said, joking about his soon-to-change busy schedule.
Here is a list of five great potential replacements:
1. Joel McHale
The spicy, devastatingly sarcastic host of The Soup has been hilarious in front of E! Entertainment’s cameras for over ten years now. Since the show is a combination of social satire and news clips, we haven’t gotten to see him doing too much interviewing yet. We’d be excited to see him try, though.
2. Amy Poehler/Tina Fey
Both of these funny ladies dished us the “news” from behind the desk of Saturday Night Live’s skit, Weekend Update. They both have proven their live act skills hosting awards ceremonies together. Both are weekly TV comedy institutions at this point and would be safe choices for the talk show biz.
3. Aziz Ansari
The relatively young Muslim-American of Indian descent, brought a healthy dose of diversity to the US standup circuit, rising to popularity through standup gigs and appearances on SNL. He now has a role on “Parks and Rec,” but could easily transition to another format, adding appeal for the younger demographic that his comedy seems to cater to.
4. Samantha Bee
Bee is a veteran correspondent on Stewart’s Daily Show, responsible for the program’s hilarious surprise interviews of US Congress members. She might already be first in line for a promotion from within.
5. Aasif Mandvi
Another Daily Show correspondent with a unique tongue-in-cheek style, expression and delivery. He has featured in a few extremely famous Daily Show skits, including one humorous interview of a North Carolina Republican Party official which unexpectedly included very racist remarks and wound up losing the man his position.