As far as television hosts go, few seemed to enjoy themselves more than Jon Stewart, the former host of the smash hit ‘The Daily Show’ on Comedy Central. But as it turns out, he’s much happier now in retirement than he was during his many years in the spotlight.
“I wish somebody had told me life was this good, I’d have left the show 10 years ago,” he told Entertainment Tonight in a recent interview.
The pressures of late night television and tackling controversial political issues with a critical eye (and an eye for humor) have been replaced by a whole new lifestyle for Stewart, who now spends his days tending to animals that have been rescued from abusive environments (including factory farms) with his wife Tracey and kids Nathan and Maggie.
Recently Jon and his family were honored by the Farm Sanctuary organization, which operates three shelters in New York and California providing care for nearly 1,000 rescued farm animals. They also made a surprise announcement — that they planned to run the fourth such shelter in the U.S. on Bufflehead Farm, their new 12-acre sanctuary for abused animals in New Jersey about 50 miles outside of New York City.
For Jon, life away from the spotlight and out on the farm caring for the rescued animals has been especially rewarding.
“I feel like Fred Flintstone every day sliding down the dinosaur’s tail (after the whistle blows to end his day at work),” he said to ET.
Living the Dream in New Jersey
Stewart was able to live out his own dream and make a comfortable living for himself in comedy, and now he’s helping his wife Tracey follow her own dream of helping animals. In a recent interview with CBS (see video below) Tracey recalls the story of how Jon encouraged her to follow her own passion.
Tracey, inspired by best-selling author and Farm Sanctuary Founder Gene Baur’s popular book ‘Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food,’ decided to go back to school to become a veterinary technician. It was during this time that she experienced the happiest day of her life — she helped an ailing mother cow deliver her calf, assisted by a local farmer.
“I gave birth to the calf, and all the cows that had been way out in pasture all came in and lined up to see the baby,” she said.
Tracey, who recently wrote her own book titled ‘Do Unto Animals,’ said that she’s happier at age 48 on the Middletown, NJ farm than she has been in a long time. The farm is home to four pigs, four sheep, and other assorted animals, and several others from abusive backgrounds were expected to arrive including cows, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys and more pigs.
The farm is open to outsiders by appointment only, but the couple hopes to eventually open it up to schoolchildren for visits.
For more on the Stewarts including footage of their animal sanctuary in New Jersey, check out the CBS News report below: