HBO made some major announcements at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour on Wednesday. Firstly, Mahershala Ali will star in the third season of True Detective. Secondly, Jon Stewart is making two stand-up comedy specials for the network. These will be his first since 1996’s Jon Stewart: Unleavened.
“I’m really thrilled to be able to return to stand-up on HBO,” Stewart said. “They’ve always set the standard for great stand-up specials. Plus, I can finally use up the last of the Saddam Hussein jokes left over from my first special.”
This is a win for HBO after seeing comedy greats like Dave Chappelle, Louis C.K., and Chris Rock make specials for Netflix this year. HBO president of programming Casey Bloys said that the streaming service was willing to put up $20 million per special, which is more than what the network was trying to spend (one would assume they’ve dedicated a lot of that budget to the high-cost Game of Thrones).
Stewart has only been kinda quiet since his 2015 departure from The Daily Show, popping up on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show, offering words of encouragement to Larry Wilmore on The Nightly Show‘s final episode, and dissing a bar mitzvah kid in a Jimmy Kimmel bit. Stewart was developing an animated series for HBO, but that was officially canceled two months ago because of technical issues, according to HBO.
The upcoming specials do not have release dates, but you can watch a pre-Daily Show Jon Stewart perform Unleavened below.