Jon Stewart is doing new HBO stand-up specials for the first time in over 20 years

After a turn as a dramatic film director with 2014's "Rosewater," former "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart is returning to stand-up comedy for the first time in over 20 years with two new stand-up specials for HBO.

Stewart's last stand-up special, "Jon Stewart: Unleavened," aired on HBO in 1996. Stewart's new specials for HBO were announced on Wednesday at the Television Critic's Association (TCA) summer press tour.

"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."

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Jon Stewart Through the Years
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Jon Stewart Through the Years

Long before he became a household name, Jon Stewart broke onto the scene as an MTV host with his own show. In 1993, the funny guy cut his teeth on "The John Stewart Show," a late-night show with a variety of celebrity guests and a fun opening monologue.  His style was very 90s and a little couture immature. In his early days, Stewart regularly hit the town in hoodies and T-shirts and sported dark, curly locks. 
(Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

In the 90s, Stewart was also very fond of the leather jacket, T-shirt and jeans look. The dark-haired comedian had a sit down with fellow late-night host Conan O'Brien in 1993 and sans a few gray hairs, the pair look strikingly similar to how they look now.  Photo by: Lesly Weiner/NBCU Photo Bank

Rumors swirled that the young comedian was romancing supermodel Cindy Crawford in the 90s. The pair were spotted all gussied up in 1994 at the MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

In 1995, Stewart met up with singer Jon Bon Jovi. At the time, the New York City native was still sticking to fashion basics like T-shirts. Are you sensing a trend here? (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)

It's love! Stewart, who wrapped "The Jon Stewart Show" on MTV in 1995, snuggled up to girlfriend Tracy McShane in 1996 at an HBO party. The pair were reportedly set up by a production assistant and clearly couldn't keep their hands off each other during their young romance -- which definitely had staying power. They wed four years after this photo was taken. Perhaps she liked his favorite blue T-shirt as much as  he did. (Photo by Manny Hernandez/Liaison)

Stewart was a rising star in the late 90s -- and as his fame continued to grow, so did his fashion choices. Enter the era of Jon Stewart in more formal attire. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

In 1999, Stewart attended the  GQ Magazine Of The Year Awards on October 21, 1999, and posed alongside actor Michael J. Fox. During this year, Stewart co-produced several movies like "The Daily View" and "The Daily Show Summer Spectacular." 

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Look who is getting gussied up now! Stewart looked dapper in a tux at the 1999 Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, despite the fact that it seemed to be a bit big for him. His famous locks were just showing the first signs of a little salt and pepper. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect)

By 1999, Stewart and his now peppered locks, were center stage on Comedy Central's, "The Daily Show." The TV regular replaced Craig Kilborn when he left the show. Naturally, he brought his comedic edge and political prowess to the host seat and a hit was literally born overnight. For his big show, Stewart also stepped up his fashion game and fully traded in his T-shirts for slim-fit suits and well-selected ties.   (Photo by Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Although, he wasn't always suited up. In 2002, the funny guy ditched his clothes in order to host the 44th Annual Grammy Awards.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

Recognize these two funny faces? Stewart stopped by "Saturday Night Live" in 2002 for a memorable skit with Amy Poehler, where the pair spoofed Mel Gibson. There's no real "fashion moment" here unless you count army greens. 

Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Pretty much everyone fell victim to the political pundit's funny antics -- including Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was all smiles during her 2003 appearance on "The Daily Show." More importantly, Stewart's attire -- dark suit, red tie, crisp white shirt, peppery locks -- became his go-to look for basically the next 10 years. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images for The Daily Show)

Back to basics! In 2008, a low-key Stewart was spotted goofing around with his son Nathan at a New York Knicks game. Stewart channeled his younger self in a classic T-shirt. His son, also seems to be inheriting his style. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)

Stewart clearly understands the power of a red tie during a political interview. For his final sit down with President Barack Obama, Stewart rocked his signature look -- dark suit and a red tie. Some fashion habits really do die hard -- but we aren't complaining. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

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Stewart's two-special deal comes as quite a surprise for two reasons: HBO has considerably cut the number of stand-up specials it produces over the years, and just a few months ago, HBO shelved Stewart's shortform animated series.

HBO used to release stand-up comedy specials frequently, but that has dwindled over the years. According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO's programming president Casey Bloys explained why, comparing Netflix's big spending on stand-up comedy specials to Comedy Central's in the early 2000s.

"As a category, stand-up specials account for less than 1 percent of usage on [HBO] Go and Now. It's hard for me to pay exorbitant prices," Bloys said. "When prices come down, or when it makes sense again, it's relatively easy to get back in. We'll wait it out."

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Jon Stewart's last Daily Show
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Jon Stewart's last Daily Show
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Jon Stewart hosts 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Jordan Klepper, Aasif Mandvi, Jessica Williams, Lewis Black, John Hodgman, Hasan Minhaj and Al Madrigal visit 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: John Oliver and host Jon Stewart appear on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: John Hodgman, Lewis Black, Aasif Mandvi, Jordan Klepper, Samantha Bee, Jessica Williams, Kristen Schaal, Hasan Minhaj and Al Madrigal appear on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: John Hodgman, Matt Walsh, Nancy Walls, Dan Bakkedahl, Rob Riggle, Samantha Bee, Aasif Mandvi, Hasan Minhaj, Stephen Colbert, Steven Carell, Jon Stewart, Jordan Klepper, John Oliver, Ed Helms, Larry Wilmore, Rob Corddry, Olivia Munn, and Kristen Schaal appear on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Nate Corddry (C) Rob Corddry (R) and host Jon Stewart (L) appear on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Jon Stewart hosts 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Dan Bakkedahl and Matt Walsh appear on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Host Jon Stewart, Rob Riggle and Olivia Munn appear on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Host Jon Stewart and Olivia Munn appear on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Wyatt Cenac appears on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Jon Stewart hosts 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart appear on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Jessica Williams, Hasan Minhaj, Aasif Mandvi, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Steve Carell, Jordan Klepper, John Oliver and Wyatt Cenac appear on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band appear on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Larry Wilmore (R) and host Jon Stewart (L) appear on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Jon Stewart hosts 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: John Hodgman, Lewis Black, Aasif Mandvi, Jordan Klepper, Steve Carell, Jessica Williams, Samantha Bee, Hasan Minhaj, Kristen Schaal and Al Madrigal appear on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Jessica Williams appears on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band appear on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: John Oliver and host Jon Stewart appear on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' #JonVoyage on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 06: Jon Stewart exits the studio following the final taping of 'The Daily Show With Jon Stewart' on August 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
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