Jon Stewart

For comedian Jon Stewart, jocular anchor of the Emmy award-winning faux news program "The Daily Show" (Comedy Central, 1996- ), the transformation from frat boy humorist to pointed social and political satirist occurred during one of the United States' most turbulent times. Amidst war, government absurdity, and an increasingly compliant national media, Stewart emerged from a then obscure cable channel to become one of the nation's lone voices of reason in a sea of 24-hour news blowhards and pandering politicians. Despite Stewart's protestations to the contrary, "The Daily Show" became one of the most trusted sources of news for the Gen-X crowd - or "stoned slackers," as Fox pundit Bill O'Reilly referred to them - even though the comedian routinely claimed to be host of a fake news program. Over the years, Stewart's Emmy-winning show earned the respect of Washington's power players, many of whom found sitting in his interview chair integral to running a campaign or simply selling a book. Regardless of the criticism he received - mainly from the right side of aisle and media pundits who were his frequent targets - there was no doubt that Stewart and "The Daily Show" were a vital part of the nation's political discourse. After months of speculation about his future plans, Stewart announced he was leaving the iconic late-night series in 2015.