Is Jon Stewart At The WHCD?

by Chris Tognotti

It's been quite a while since Jon Stewart has graced all of our televisions, as the comedian and former satirical news king retired from The Daily Show on Aug. 6, 2015, bringing to an end one of the most successful hosting runs of all time (19 Emmys don't lie, suffice to say). So, are you seeing him during this big Washington, D.C. media event on Saturday night? Is Jon Stewart at the White House Correspondents Dinner, or did the legendary funnyman take a pass on it this time around?

It's not as if Stewart has been reclusive since retiring from his career-defining show last year — since then he's popped up a few times, most notably as an executive producer of Stephen Colbert's Late Show, a sinister wrestling heel, and a returning guest to The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, fighting once again for 9/11 first responders to receive crucially needed health care funding.

But sad to say for any fans, he's not at the dinner. His name didn't appear on any of the myriad guest lists heading into Saturday, although if he'd wanted to find a way to show up, it seems a safe bet he could've gotten an invite from one media outlet or another. Perhaps the allure of attending the dinner wears off when you've had the big job before — Stewart hosted all the way back in 1997.

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If you're a fan of Stewart's work, however, you probably could've guessed that he wouldn't be very interested in going at all. Last year, at the very least, he was none too pleased with how the annual meeting of political, entertainment, and news media was obscuring bigger, more essential stories. In fact, he dedicated some of his remaining time on The Daily Show to attack;ing CNN for their laser-like focus on the event, at the expense of covering the protests in Baltimore over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.

That's not to say he necessarily soured on the event entirely. Everything is better when kept in its proper perspective, and if this were a world in which news outlets like CNN are covered things like widespread racial justice protests thoroughly and fairly, there wouldn't necessarily be a problem with enjoying a night at an upscale D.C. gala — although it's still not the best look when both are happening at once. When you've got the sounds of protests and upheaval less than 100 miles away, suddenly the sound of champagne glasses clinking doesn't come across so well.

This much is clear: for one reason or another, Stewart wasn't keen on being there. Hopefully, however, you'll start getting a taste of what he'll be up to next. In November, Stewart inked a four-year deal to produce content for HBO.