Guys, it’s ok to cry. Jon Stewart’s tearful tribute to his dog offered a real moment of zen

Jon Stewart knew he was probably going to cry when he took a moment on “The Daily Show” this week to share that his beloved dog Dipper had died.

Stewart choked up talking about how much he and his family loved the three-legged pitbull, tearfully saying, “He was ready. He was tired, but I wasn’t.”

“We called him Dipper, and in a world of good boys, he was the best,” Stewart told his audience. He closed the show with his moment of zen, a sweet video of Dipper joyously playing in the snow.

Stewart’s heartfelt tribute and willingness to share his grief seemed to create space for others to do the same.

Howard Stern praised Stewart’s show of emotion on his SiriusXM show, saying he was “proud” of him for being real.

“It was a fabulous television moment because people are so fake, they’re never real on TV,” he said. “He did a tribute to his dog and he was so emotional he could barely get through it, and I thought it was beautiful and I want to say it in a serious way, because men to this day, 2024, still have so much trouble showing emotion. I know I do.”

Stern added that he wanted to be “secure enough” in his own masculinity to cry on air, saying of Stewart, “I think it’s good that people see it. I like a man who’s strong enough to cry.”

Howard Stern speaks with Jimmy Kimmel on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" in 2019. - Randy Holmes/Disney General Entertainment Content/Getty Images
Howard Stern speaks with Jimmy Kimmel on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" in 2019. - Randy Holmes/Disney General Entertainment Content/Getty Images

Stern had similar praise for his good friend Jimmy Kimmel, who has no shame about crying on TV. The late-night host has openly shed tears over the deaths of Bob Saget and John Ritter and sobbed during a monologue over the loss of Cecil the Lion.

NFL center and former Super Bowl champ Jason Kelce has cried during press conferences, on the field and on his “New Heights” podcast. He’s even brought his brother and cohost Travis Kelce to tears.

Comedian and host Steve Harvey grew teary on TV after a street was named in his honor.

It’s a far, well, cry from the way men have historically been expected to comport themselves in media.

“The acceptability of men crying in public in the US has evolved over time,” media psychologist Dr. Pamela Rutledge told CNN. “Norms around controlling or expressing emotions are social constructions.”

For men in the public eye who are helping evolve those constructs, even if unintentionally, there’s an upside to letting tears fall, according to Rutledge.

“Crying is a normal emotional expression that releases dopamine and oxytocin, which can lessen emotional distress,” she told CNN.

Stewart’s love for his dog cut across algorithms over the last few days and offered an outlet, perhaps, for viewers to release a little of their own sadness.

It also inspired acts of kindness.

The Animal Haven shelter in New York, where Stewart adopted his dog over a decade ago, announced this week that it has received more than $35,000 in donations in Dipper’s name.

Stewart told the audience of Dipper: “My wish for you is one day you find that dog, that one dog that just is the best.”

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