Jon Stewart’s post-Daily Show career has not been quite as fruitful as one might have expected for the original purveyor of fake news for a generation of credulous millennials who took his shtick to be the real thing. Stewart’s career as an independent film director never took off, his one effort about an Iranian dissident having failed to gain audiences. Now a deal for Stewart to produce topical, Animated Shorts for HBO has fallen through.

‘Technical issues’ cited for the failure of the HBO deal

The idea was that Jon Stewart would produce satirical animated shorts that would parody cable news for the 2016 elections. Considering that last year’s election was ripe for satire and ridicule on a number of levels, the idea seemed to be a good idea at the time.

Unfortunately, the way animation usually is done is very time consuming, with half-hour episodes of TV shows taking months to put together. For the series to work, the animated shorts would have had to take days for the topics to be still relevant when they finally aired. Even using modern, digital technology, the effort proved to be too challenging for HBO and Stewart to bring to reality.

But what about ‘South Park?’

The explanation is likely valid, except that episodes of ‘South Park’ generally take less than a week to put together, with changes being made all the way to the last moment. Thus, the libertarian-oriented series about four foul mouth little boys often did topical subjects, with events that had happened in the previous week showing up in episodes on a regular basis. The trick is a lean, mean operation with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creator of the show, forgetting about sleep when 'South Park' is in season.

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One wonders, therefore, if a small operation can churn out half hour episodes of a show on a regular basis, why can’t a giant like HBO do something similar? Perhaps the point is that HBO is too big for such a feat.

What will Jon Stewart do now?

About two years after quitting his position as the host of “The Daily Show,” with exquisite timing as it turns out, Jon Stewart is all but forgotten by television audiences that once hung on his every word and smirk. Stewart was, understandably, burned out after having hosted a four times a week fake news show for 16 years, with very little time off. But his retirement has not been kind to him. On the other time, a world in which Donald Trump is president has gone beyond anyone’s ability to commit satire.