Jon Stewart on “Relevance Waning”


“To everybody on television, I just want to tell you, cling to it as long as you can,” Stewart advised onstage. “Like death, like in the Titanic. Cling to it!”

Stewart admitted that his time away from TV hasn’t been easy.

“I’ve been off of television for six weeks, seven weeks, whatever it is, this is the first applause I’ve heard. It is a barren wasteland out there,” Stewart deadpanned.


I write a lot about “relevance” in the context of older men, and how the lack of it is akin to surgical castration.

Nobody – and I mean, NOBODY! – I gives that up without a fight.

When it’s gone, the fallout is always in the news:

Retired athlete now a drug addict; baron of business blows his brains out when risk trumps reward; once-famous actor fades into oblivion under a street lamp in the dead of night with a needle in his arm.

What keeps successful men alive is R E L E V A N C E.

Donald Trump once stated, “…there is nothing more voracious than this man’s hunger for wealth, fame and power,” and after being exposed to many such men in my life, the statement couldn’t be more true.

With this in mind, Stewart isn’t going anywhere.

He misses the applause, the notoriety, the power in a way similar to addicts when on the precipice of withdrawal.

It’s intoxicating.

Ask any retired rock musician what he misses most and the first sentence out of his mouth is “I miss my fans.”

I have a friend who is in various businesses, but the one he loves most is music.

When he’s on stage, he is someone else – infused with life, happy.

When it’s over, he goes back to the other guy, the one who’s a bit resigned, frustrated, bittersweet, sensitive, mildly depressed.

Once you’re on stage there’s no where else to go, particularly when you’re Stewart’s age with decades ahead of you … to do what? Fish?

There are men who’ve made fortunes many times over and are happy to live in relative obscurity with their riches and anonymity.

In fact, many claim to prefer this to fame of any kind.

But the vast majority of them still need some place to hang a shingle, whether it’s starting a charitable foundation, writing books, lecturing, or buying gold-diggers.

Without purpose, we’re nothing more than a memory with a large bank account, which is never big enough to fill in all the empty spaces.

Nothing fills the void when you feel like you no longer matter, even when you do to everyone, but yourself.

No wonder famous rock musicians continue to tour long after the money’s made, – and talk show hosts go on set, night after night, to the sound of their bands, famous guests and high Arbitron ratings.

The moment they walk away, they fade from relevance and time does what it always does.

As an older man who has done a lot with his life, I can personally attest to the fact that people like me don’t lie down for long because an idle life is, indeed, a “barren wasteland.”

We all need a purpose, and for Jon, it’s DEFINITELY another show.