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Where have you gone, Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz?

By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor

We're working on a number of things that we hope will be worth a look on tonight's broadcast, including my interview with Tony Blair, and our latest report on African-American Women. But for the moment here at the Daily Nightly, we'd like to extend special birthday wishes to Jon Stewart. He's 45 today, though you wouldn't know it to look at him. You may recall that Jon once hosted a show on Comedy Central called The Daily Show. The sad truth is that we haven't seen Jon -- or Jay, Dave, Conan, Stephen and the rest, including the gang at SNL -- since the writers' strike knocked them all off the air 24 days ago.

Life has gone on without them, of course, but not for the better. Word is that talks have resumed, and we hope that means the strike will soon be over. But in the meantime -- for weeks now -- much vital comedic work has gone undone. There has been no one to skewer the pompous or ridicule the self-important; no one to blow the lid off the story, whether the story has a lid or not. No one, in short, to slip a banana peel under the body politic. There's a presidential campaign going on, for goodness' sake -- not to mention stories about OJ Simpson and Miss Puerto Rico. There is so much out there to poke fun at -- so much that demands to be poked fun at -- and it is simply going unpoked. This is no laughing matter.

The serious fact is that Jon Stewart and his colleagues in comedy -- along with the writers who support them -- serve an invaluable purpose by skewering the pompous and deflating the egos of the high and mighty. They function almost as a separate branch of government. We need them, and we miss them

While they're away, here are a few web resources to tide us all over. In the meantime, happy birthday, Jon. And best wishes for a happy return.

YouTube: Not the Daily Show   

YouTube: Colbert Report writers 

Late Show writers' blog  

Picketer's blog  

Missing Jon Stewart  

TV Week: Strike Central  

National Journal article

Article about Daily Show writer 

New York Times piece on SNL writers