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Fox’s Roger Ailes: Jon Stewart is ‘disappointed’ he couldn’t beat me

Host Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" tapes "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Restoring Honor & Dignity to the White House" at the McNally Smith College of Music September 5, 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota. The show is being taped in St. Paul during the week of the Republican National Convention.Host Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" tapes "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Restoring Honor & Dignity to the White House" at the McNally Smith College of Music September 5, 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota. The show is being taped in St. Paul during the week of the Republican National Convention.
Host Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."Photograph by Ethan Miller — Getty Images

When Jon Stewart signs off from “The Daily Show” Thursday night, Fox News will lose one of its most passionate viewers.

Fox News takedowns have long been a centerpiece of Stewart’s comedy, and perhaps in response to his successor Trevor Noah’s vow to give it some breathing room, Stewart has spent his last week laying into the network more than ever.

On Wednesday, Fox’s chairman and CEO–whom Stewart has previously compared to Death itself–discussed Stewart an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. And, maybe because Stewart is about to finally leave him alone, Roger Ailes replied somewhat generously to Stewart’s “Adios, motherf*****s!” send-off to Fox.

“He’s a brilliant comedian. He’s actually a very nice guy, and I saw him with his kids on the street. He’s a good father,” Ailes said. Stewart would even be welcome to join Fox News, he told THR–as a stage hand.

The Fox chief presented mostly bemused disinterest in Stewart: “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.”

And, if you ask Ailes, he won—by Ailes’ metrics, anyway. “Fox News beats him on the amount of money we make, on ratings and on popularity. I’m sure it’s very depressing when he sits home at night and worries about it. We never did.”