The homecoming episode began with a gag in which
Then it was time for the show proper. Stewart kissed and lovingly patted his desk, clearly thrilled to be back in front of an audience for the first time in 12 weeks.
"I've missed you so much," he said. "You don't know what it's like out there, nobody applauds every little stupid thing you do."
Stewart reflected briefly on his time in the Middle East, which gave him an appreciation for the local culture but also reassured him of his own American-ness.
"For all that I appreciate and learned about the culture that I was immersed in, boy, I'm Western, in all its glorious, decadent imperfections," he said. "I recall driving back to
His other realizations this summer? "I have the finest staff and crew in all of television" and "John Oliver has dimples you can lose yourself in." Can't argue with that.
Stewart then invited "the man of the summer" on stage to debrief him on everything he missed during his leave: "Sharknado," the royal baby,
But for all the ridiculous, easily mocked events of the summer, Stewart had to tackle much heavier news in his first night back on the air: the possibility of military action in Syria following a chemical weapons attack by Bashar
And if that weren't bad enough, Oliver had even worse news for his boss: "'Crossfire' returns to CNN next Monday." (Stewart, as you may recall, was not exactly a fan of that show the first time around.)
The host took it in stride, however, delivering a vintage "Daily Show' segment about the "idiot parade" of so-called experts pushing for intervention in Syria and capping it all off with an in-depth interview with Andrew Harper, head of the United Nations refugee agency in Jordan, about the ongoing humanitarian crisis along the Syrian border.
No, it wasn't exactly fun, but it was worthwhile television. Welcome back, Jon.