Saturday, 7 February 2009

"This is 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart'"

During my naïve teenage years on a trip to Florida, I turned on the TV one night and in between the several thousand adverts that flood US cable, I found a show that was hosted by a familiar face.

I recognised the slightly greying host from a number of films and award shows and looked on curiously…

Over the next twenty minutes, I had an epiphany; my damn British heritage had deprived me of a brilliant show.

On my return to these humourless shores, I learned that the familiar Jewish face I recognised was Jon Stewart, MTV veteran and star of such modern ‘classics’ as ‘Big Daddy’, ‘The Faculty’ (in which he dies by having a pen jabbed in his eye) and ‘Death To Smoochy’.

I also learned that the brilliant show I had loved so much I’d almost been tempted to jerk-off to, was in fact satirical news show ‘The Daily Show’ and then I spent several years moping that I would only get to see it on my infrequent jaunts across The Atlantic.

Imagine my pure, unbridled joy when Channel 4 launched More4 and revealed ‘The Daily Show’ would be the cornerstone of it’s evening line-up. I almost made a Jon Stewart effigy and fucked it, I was that excited.

Now, I’m not ashamed to admit that most of what I know about US politics came from ‘The Daily Show’ and I studied Politics at A Level, and when I say studied, I mean wrote rap songs with my Northern rap posse and wrote spec scripts for porno spoofs of blockbuster films… TIT-anic could have cleaned up at the adult film awards.

In his awesome book ‘Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid’ Dr. Denis Leary (yes, it’s Doctor) makes the point that it’s no wonder “half of the audience gets their news from ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’”.

Given the massively biased, over-the-top, scare-mongering bullshit that populates twenty-three of the twenty-four hours that the US news networks broadcast for, Leary makes a damn good point. ‘The Daily Show’ always gives it to you straight, sure, during the election campaign it was easy to detect that Stewart was always voting Obama, but come on, who wasn’t!? But even Saviour Obama’s not immune from a Stewart-skewering. The bottom line is; if you say something stupid, Stewart’s going to call you on it, and people respect that.

A point not lost on some people, Stewart was the only ‘entertainer’ to make MSN’s Most Influential People in the world list for 2008, finding himself in the illustrious company of The Dali Lama, Barack Obama and err, Robert Mugabe.

It’s not just Stewart’s biting satire, of which, much must be accredited to the show’s excellent writers, that makes ‘The Daily Show’ such a powerful force in shaping people’s views on American, and global, politics.

Jon Stewart is clearly a very intelligent man, his thoughtful interviews and often forceful line of questioning make ‘The Daily Show’ so much more than a ‘fake news’ show. His willingness to challenge guests whose views he doesn’t agree with really shows up our so called chat show hosts and interviewers for the preening media whores that they are.

Jonathan Ross should have watched some Jon Stewart tapes during his suspension, you wouldn’t have caught Stewart asking David Cameron if he jerked off to Baroness Thatcher, he’d have been too busy tearing him a new one over his flimsy politics and his inability to stand up to that moronic Scottish fuck we call a Prime Minister. Anyone who saw Stewart laying into Tony Blair recently or making Mike Huckabee look like the homophobic Bible-thumper he is can attest to that.

Let’s not get it twisted though, ‘The Daily Show’ might sound like it’s The Jon Stewart show, the title might even suggest as much but it’s definitely not a one man team over there at “Comedy Central’s World News Headquarters in New York”.

Jason Jones has long been my favourite of the show’s many correspondents and continues to shine through as the most consistently funny, unlike his real-life wife Samantha Bee who I just don’t get, at all.

Not all 'The Daily Show’s female correspondents are painfully unfunny though, ‘Flight of the Conchords’ star Kristen Schaal steals the show on her infrequent appearances, proving that the God awful routine she did at ‘The Secret Policeman’s Ball’ last year was simply an ill-judged mis-step.

And while the loss of larger than life former Marine and ‘SNL’ star Rob Riggle was a blow, Aasif Mandvi, Wyatt Cenac and Brit John Oliver are more than capable of holding the fort. I’d never heard of John Oliver until he joined ‘The Daily Show’ but he’s proving that we missed the boat on him big time.

And let’s not forget occasional segment ‘Back in Black’ fronted by the irrepressible Lewis Black who could come on and read the symptoms of Diphtheria and still make me laugh.

All 'The Daily Show’s contributors deserve to be bigger stars and if history is any indicator then they could well be on their way to achieving the recognition they so warrant. ‘The Daily Show’ was where Steve Carell first flexed his comedy muscles, as did Stephen Colbert, Rob Corddry and Ed Helms, all of whom went on to bigger things.

The Emmy-winning 'Daily Show' keeps going from strength to strength and airing four nights a week, you really have no excuse for missing one of the sharpest shows on television.

Tune in; Tuesday – Friday @ 8.30pm on More4

Or in the States; Monday – Thursday @ 11pm on Comedy Central.





- Last Saturday Jade Ewan won Andrew Lloyd Webber’s search for this year’s Eurovision entry.

You’ve got to give the good Lord his props for giving it a go and trying to get us some points on the board at this year’s Eurovision, and from the odd bits of the show I saw, I think the most talented won, most talented isn’t exactly a compliment though when your main competition was a tone deaf, poor man’s Sam and Amanda from Big Brother… That’s right I just used the phrase “poor man’s Sam and Amanda”.

Let’s be honest though; it doesn’t matter who we send to Russia, we could put together a super-group comprising the regenerated corpses of John Lennon, Ian Curtis, Keith Moon and Brian Jones and we’d still come last… I still can’t wait for the big night in May though.

- This week was group week on ‘American Idol’ and the tears and tantrums saw the Americans proving that they are infinitely more insane than us Brits, but also a hell of a lot more talented. Cowell was on fine form during his fleeting appearances and as always Idol managed to excel ‘X Factor’ in every department.

Cowell seems a lot more honest on ‘American Idol’, presumably because the Americans won’t stand for the kind of audience manipulation ‘X Factor’ attempts year on year. A novelty side act with loser written all over them wouldn’t get past week one in America, whereas here, they’d probably make the final.

- ‘Mad Men’ Season 2 begins this Tuesday on BBC4 and creator Matthew Weiner has promised jaw-dropping moments in every episode. I’ve already done my best to try and turn you on to this sublime show so there’s no hard sell… Just watch it!


2 comments:

  1. Everyone well known to Jon Stewart because of his best work on The Daily Show on comedy central. I like him very muchhhh... He has won many awards due to his comedic talents. I love this show. My friends and i always download The Daily Show and enjoy it's every twist together. Click at link, if you also wants to watch it's complete episodes.

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