Tuesday, May 10, 2005

ladies and gentleman.... jon stewart

"They always throw around this term 'the liberal elite.' And I kept thinking to myself about the Christian right. What's more elite than believing that only you will go to heaven?"

Jon Stewart is, quite simply, the finest political commentator in the world. Who he? You cry. He's the anchor of Comedy Central's outrageously good Daily Show which is sadly only available to Americans and people with CNN.

Despite his self-confessed shortness, hairiness and jewishness, he is extraordinarily charismatic, and an incredibly refreshing antidote to the usual run of emasculated american political reporters. he even became a news story in his own right last year during the american election, when he launched an impassioned tirade against the "partisan hackery" of the US media on CNN's Crossfire. Yes, I suppose he's a lefty, but he manages to avoid the curse of left-wing commentators, and a sure-fire humour killer: sanctimoniousness... Guardian, take note.

Recommended segments include piss taking of the hilariously bigoted opponents of the first gay and lesbian school, a Stewart-Colbert conversation on the rumours about Prince Charles (where Colbert tells Stewart he can't possibly discuss the allegations before deepthroating a banana), an investigation of the state which has banned visible thongs and my personal favourite, This Week in God.

But it was the Iraq war which allowed the Daily Show to come into its own. Its regular feature, "Mess o'Potamia" catalogued Bush's gaffes, including a brilliant double interview with Governer Bush of 2000 and President Bush of 2004, giving completely different opinions, and Rumsfeld's desperate scrabblings in front of the Abu Ghraib senate investigation. When told that his staff have not, in fact, brought the chart on which his description of the chain of command rests, you almost feel sorry for him. "Oh my," he says with a puppy dog look, "we had it all prepared." When the camera cuts back to Jon Stewart, his eyebrow is raised. "So you're telling me," he says exasperatedly, "that the people in charge of proving the military had its shit together, forgot the chart.. which proved the military had its shit together!"

The Daily Show has tantalising clips available on the net (and several sites host larger chunks, if you hunt around). There's nothing like it: think the best bits of Have I Got News For You in the satirical news reviews, with a soupcon of The Day Today in the correspondent pieces, and celebrity interviews in the style of Jonathan Ross crossed with Mrs Merton. And by celebrity interviews, I don't mean reality TV stars and the usual rent-a-quotes: he's had John Kerry, Samuel L Jackson, Ice Cube!

Finally the show is achieving the accolades it deserves in America. However, I can't see that it will ever get shown on British terrestrial TV. Which is a shame. The good news is that if you've never seen any before, there's at least a couple of hours of clips on the web, and the show has just been commissioned for three more series.

"Condoleezza Rice was confirmed by a vote of 85, 13, despite a contentious but futile protest vote by democrats. By the way, for a fun second term drinking game, chug a beer every time you hear the phrase 'contentious but futile protest vote by democrats.' By the time Jeb Bush is elected, you'll be so wasted you won't even notice the war in Syria."

Bad news though: production on Chappelle's show has been halted.

PS. Goodies: Jon Stewart quotes and more quotes, and biography.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love TDS! I have that Colbert Prince Charles thing. "This is a story I could really wrap my hands around. I mean, I'd love to grab this story by the hilt and work this story long and hard, maybe teasing you with a few details. Make you beg for the story until it builds into a huge climax and explodes all over the front pages".

5/10/2005 12:56 am  
Blogger The Grinch said...

This guy sounds like a man after my own heart. I will graciously invite him to contribute to my blog.

5/16/2005 11:37 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is one of the funniest TDS segments I've ever seen. The video is available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M6VTB0_5-8


7/18/2006 3:01 pm  

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