Ahead of the release of his new comedy Irresistible hitting PVOD this month, Jon Stewart has opened up about the legacy of The Daily Show and has offered his thoughts on the current political climate. Speaking with The New York Times Magazine, Stewart mused on everything from Trump and police brutality to some of his Daily Show regrets. The interview also tackled the subject of George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police, and he suggested that accountability for systemic racism has been shifted to the police rather than those in society themselves.
"I’d like to say I’m surprised by what happened to him, but I’m not," he said. "This is a cycle, and I feel that in some ways, the issue is that we’re addressing the wrong problem. The police are a reflection of a society. They’re not a rogue alien organization that came down to torment the black community. They’re enforcing segregation. Segregation is legally over, but it never ended."
Expanding his thoughts on police brutality, which he said is "an organic offshoot of the dehumanization of those power structures," Stewart suggested that the true problem lies in society rather than the police themselves. "I still believe the root of this problem is the society that we've created that contains this schism," he remarked, "and we don't deal with it, because we've outsourced our accountablity to the police."
Summarizing his thoughts, he added, "The policing is an issue, but it's the least of it. We use the police as surrogates to quarantine these racial and economic inequalities so that we don't have to deal with them."
Elsewhere in the interview, he said that his biggest regret working on The Daily Show is when he would invite far-right individuals like Bill O'Reilly onto the show. "
The question was always, Why would you talk to him?" he said. "If you want to talk about the worst legacy of The Daily Show, it was that."
Stewart also gave his thoughts on the current administration's response to the pandemic, and he suggested that the "trump administration has not changed its practices." He added that Trump hasn't even attempted to tackle "the idea of rising to greatness," instead tweeting out conspiracy theories to his millions of followers.
Read Jon Stewart's full interview with The New York Times Magazine here.