Jon Stewart: A Role Model Mentor

Cleared for release by Joint Staff Public Affairs

We all know this, but Jon Stewart has helped create the platform and been the person who jumpstarted comedians’ careers.

It is Stewart that is probably the Johnny Carson of this era. Carson launched careers of many icons of comedy including George Carlin, Joan Rivers, Flip Wilson, Jerry Seinfeld, Roseanne Barr, and Ellen DeGeneres. Carson was a ticket to success if you were a comedian.

Regarding Stewart, I just read an article about 11 comedians who had their careers jumpstarted on The Daily Show. The list includes the following:

  1. Stephen Colbert
  2. John Oliver
  3. Steve Carell
  4. Larry Wilmore
  5. Samantha Bee
  6. Ed Helms
  7. Rob Riggle
  8. Wyatt Cenac
  9. Jessica Williams
  10. Rob Corddry
  11. Mo Rocca

What is amazing is that many of them went off to greener pastures on other networks and other venues, and Stewart was always there to support and congratulate them.

Some notables are John Oliver going to HBO, Mo Rocca to CBS and The Cooking Channel, and now Steven Colbert succeeding David Letterman.

In every case, it was Jon Stewart who wished them well as they went on to grow and write a next chapter – whether it be on TV or Hollywood. Stewart has also been right behind them cheering them on. For example, if you have time, look at this clip of Jon Stewart sending John Oliver off to HBO with love and support in this retrospective.

The reality is that every person needs a mentor. I was lucky to have one. My mentor was my mother.

And, if you are lucky enough to have some success in your career, you should be a mentor to someone. Being a mentor forces you to teach your craft to another person. In doing so, the mentee gets to give you input. And, guess what, the mentee makes the mentor better – and keeps the mentor relevant.

I have found this true in my life – I learn a lot from the people who are younger (and smarter) than I. They know social media better. And they grew up with a different perspective.

So, Jon Stewart is fantastic. He is fantastic because he is a smart, witty, funny, entertainer who is authentic to the core. Like him or not, he does not waver on his beliefs nor morals. As great leaders say, he “talks the talk, and walks the walk.”

One of his greatest accomplishments in “walking the walk” was gladly blazing a trail for others, and then cheering them on as they leave.

Jon Stewart gives to his audience, and gives of himself to all his co-workers. He is a selfless mentor – and for that he is a role model in leadership.

[Photo Credit: The Joint Staff on Flickr via Creative Commons 2.0]

This post appeared on the LinkedIn Influencer page of Rob Wyse on February 13th, 2015 and can be viewed there by clicking here.
Rob Wyse (@robwyse) is Managing Director, New York, of Capital Content, where he advises thought leaders and writes about issues that drive economic opportunity, improve the environment, and lead to positive social change. His areas of focus include for-benefit enterprises, climate change, interfaith understanding, jobs and the economy, Internet access, and healthcare reform.