Why We Step Up
NBC suspends Brian Williams for six months without pay.
Jon Stewart will step down from The Daily Show some time this year.
It's hard to lose one of the few trusted names in news or a titan of comedy who also happens to be one of the few trusted names in news.
When we finally get over the shock, when we avert our bloodshot eyes from our digital devices and give our aching fingers a rest, when we stop binge-watching Moments of Zen and highlights of the many now-famous correspondents, when we take a deep breath and think about who is going to step up after someone like Brian Williams or Jon Stewart, that's when it gets really hard.
There are giants in any industry–people who do something exceedingly well and whose perspective resonates with the masses. When a giant steps up we can't just exhale and relax; we should step up, too. One of the things I love about comedy is that it is constantly pushing boundaries, trying different things, and reinventing itself. And by comedy I mean everyone creating, acting, and producing comedic content. That's why we continue to see new faces make us laugh. It didn't stop with that first SNL golden generation. Because people kept stepping up.
If we don't step up, we risk the perils of succession; we risk a wider gap between first and second that will become more difficult to bridge as time passes.
Losing Jon Stewart, at least in that role, hurts. But having John Oliver on HBO, Stephen Colbert on CBS, and the many other amazing former Daily Show correspondents and writers (e.g. Steve Carell, Larry Wilmore, Jason Jones, Samantha Bee, etc.) out in the world will soften the blow.
That is why we step up.