First Arby’s, and now Bill O’Reilly — it seems all of Jon Stewart’s favorite targets are going to miss him.
In advance of Stewart’s final turn behind the desk of The Daily Show, his frequent sparring partner has penned an appreciation of the comedian for Deadline. O’Reilly gets in a few jabs, calling Stewart “every hairstylist’s poster guy,” mocking his audience (“most folks who watch me actually held a job at some point”), and declaring, “Of course, Jon Stewart is being held captive by a self-imposed left wing view of society.” But the Fox News host also offers genuine praise of his outgoing adversary.
“Far more than a comedian dependent upon a squad of jaded writers, Stewart actually thinks about things from time to time. He’s good at spotting phonies and is quick with a quip when challenged,” says O’Reilly, who admits that he has “personal experience” in that area. In addition to multiple appearances on each other’s programs, Stewart and O’Reilly debated at The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium in 2012.
“I think it’s more Hepburn and Tracy,” Stewart described their dynamic to EW before the debate. “I think there’s a lot of sexual tension under there. Who’s who? It switches. It depends.”
Three years later, that dynamic persists. “Unlike some of his soulmates,” O’Reilly writes, “Jon Stewart is not a malicious man by nature. You can reason with him when he’s sober, although there are certain individuals that drive him crazy and he gives them no quarter. In that he’s human.”
Read O’Reilly’s full farewell at Deadline.