It may have taken the Fox News president until the very last night of Jon Stewart’s reign at The Daily Show, but he finally has something nice to say about the comedian. “He’s a brilliant comedian,” said Fox News’ Roger Ailes to The Hollywood Reporter. “He’s actually a very nice guy.” While a surprising statement considering Stewart’s ever-constant mocking of the news channel, Ailes took Stewart’s hostility in stride.
“He’s been after us for years,” said Ailes. “Occasionally we pay attention. We think he’s funny. We never took it seriously, and he never made a dent in us.”
Even when Stewart compared Fox News’ president to death itself, as he did on last week’s show, Ailes didn’t waiver in his confidence. “He’s feeling unrewarded because Fox News beats him on the amount of money we make, on ratings and on popularity,” explained Ailes. “I’m sure it’s very depressing when he sits home at night and worries about it. We never did.”
Rather than being offended, Ailes is proud to have outlasted Stewart’s 16-year career on the show. “As he faces the end of his career, he’s beginning to wonder: ‘Is this as popular as I’m ever going to get? Is this as much power as I’ll ever have? The one person I could never get rid of was Roger Ailes. I tried. I did everything I could.’ This was all a plea to his lefty friends. I think he’s disappointed that he didn’t accomplish that goal, and we, of course, supplied him with half of his comedy. It’s just a matter of disappointment.”
Stewart seems anything but disappointed with his record against his rivals, as he’s continued to rail against Fox and Ailes’ questionable fact finding skills up to the end, it does remind one that this is the end of an era.
While Ailes noted that he thinks Stewart “doesn’t dislike [him],” and thinks that “he’s really smart, and he’s got a great future,” don’t expect him to give Stewart his own Fox show. “No. He can’t come over here. He would depress everyone,” said Ailes. “I could get him a job. Not on air. As a stagehand.”
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