The end of the world as we know it

Illustration by Maddie Richardson | The Signal

s Imagine Dragons once sang “This is it. The apocalypse.” On Feb. 10, Jon Stewart announced he was leaving The Daily Show of which he’s been anchor of for the past 16 years.

According to Stewart, he will be leaving the show within the year. Add this to Jay Leno’s departure from “The Tonight Show” and David Letterman’s announcement that he is leaving “The Late Show” in May of 2015 and it all makes for a dismal end of an era.

I grew up watching these shows. As a child all I dreamed about was being allowed to stay up late enough to watch a glimpse of “grown up TV” as I called it.

When I got to late middle school, I was allowed to stay up just long enough for the opening monologues which I’d laugh along heartily at but not really understand. I mean, heck, the adults found it funny and I was so totally grown up, right?

Only when I got to high school did I delve fully into the world of late night entertainment. The politics, the music, the gag reels, all pulled me in until tears were streaming out of my eyes and my sides were killing me.

From Dave Letterman’s ‘Top Ten’ skit to Jay Leno’s ‘Jaywalking’, those shows made up the primary fodder of my childhood evenings. I mean, come on now, who doesn’t enjoy laughing at people who don’t know what color the White House is? It makes you feel just a teeny bit better about the ‘B’ you got on your math quiz — at least you’re not THAT dumb!

And now it’s time for a new generation’s hosts to take over. It’s bittersweet in a way to realize that our childhood is over. It might seem silly to get so worked up about late night comedy, but the realization that we’re no longer kids is painful.

We’re moving into the real world with real responsibilities and lives and it’s time for us to grow up. There’s a sad strange truth about it and it brings about a bittersweet pang in the heart, one similar to the one we feel when the clock in The Sound of Music goes ‘cuckoo’.

The end of a chapter in our lives is so evidently marked by Jon Stewart and all these legendary comics leaving. It means we’re really going to be adults, that one word that Peter Pan despised so much.

We’ll be out in the workforce, many of us in those 9-5 jobs and we’ll lead our own careers.

After a long day at the office, we’ll come home, but we won’t be watching that same late night show our parents did. And the cycle will repeat itself.

We’ll be parents enforcing bedtimes and our kids will go through the same thing. They’ll grow up and watch comedy and we’ll wonder where the time has gone, just as we’re wondering now. Life will take us on that never ending journey of good comedy and growing up.

Perhaps all this is high falutin’ mumbo jumbo, as Gilbert Blythe once told Anne Shirley. Or perhaps it’s life. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.