Fans are still trying to find it in their hearts to forgive comedian Jon Stewart for abandoning them when they needed him most. Perhaps he could somehow foresee the craziness that would sweep the nation when Don Trump took office, and it was just too much for him to bear. Whatever the case, Stewart has finally confirmed that he will emerge from the shadows to record his first stand-up special in more than 20 years. Jon Stewart: Unleavened first aired on HBO all the way back in 1996, so it seems fitting that Stewart would look to HBO to broadcast his triumphant return. The network announced on Wednesday night that Stewart’s new stand-up special will be filmed soon, and Stewart will also appear as host in another comedy special in mid-November.
“We’re excited to bring Jon to the network with this pair of specials,” HBO’s programming boss Casey Bloys said in a statement. “We’ve all missed his uniquely thoughtful brand of humor.”
Fans have indeed missed Stewart, who began hosting Comedy Central’s The Daily Show in 1999 and helped propel the show to new heights. The comedian announced in early 2015 that he would be retiring from the show, and his last episode as host aired almost two years ago. It was later announced in November of that year that Stewart had signed an exclusive four-year deal with HBO, though it was unclear at the time exactly what Stewart had planned for the network.
“I’m really thrilled to be able to return to stand-up on HBO,” Stewart said. “They’ve always set the standard for great stand-up specials. Plus, I can finally use up the last of the Saddam Hussein jokes left over from my first special.”
In addition to the stand-up special, which does not have a firm venue or recording date for the time being, HBO will air the upcoming NEXT For AUTISM benefit event live on November 18th. Stewart will host the even at Madison Square Garden, and it will feature a variety of stand-up performances, sketches, and short films. The annual event was founded by comedian Robert Smigel, and its proceeds support autism schools as well as other services.