Jon Stewart struggled admirably with the funny on Monday's 'Daily Show': VIDEO

Jon Stewart struggled to put on a Daily Show on Monday night that could contain the tragedy of the Arizona shootings. “The more this show deals with current events, the harder it becomes when reality is sad,” he said. It looked as though he might extract a joke from the show-must-go-on situation by saying that no one on the staff wanted to do one of the show’s fake-background correspondent segments by having John Oliver appear in “panda pajamas,” under the impression that he had the night off (“No one wants to do this”) and was going to bed.

But Stewart returned to the topic. He said that while it was interesting to watch “the political-pundit world working […] to exonerate their side from blame,” we should “not conflate our political opponents with enemies.” But Stewart ultimately concluded, “I have no f—ing idea” about the motives from which the murderous shooter was working. “You don’t know what a troubled mind will get caught on,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be a shame if we didn’t use this opportunity to make sure that the world we are creating now […] wasn’t better than the one we previously lost.”

For the second segment, Stewart punted and showed an old taped piece about “old people having sex… it’s as timely now as it was when we ran it two years ago,” the host said.

Then Denis Leary, sporting a rather startling short-ish haircut, came out and, just as Stewart had promised, they playfully insulted each other for a final segment.

It may sound like a flimsy show, but simply by expressing the confusion, sadness, and frustration he felt, Stewart was performing a small service — that is, mirroring our own confusion, sadness, and frustration about the awful event in Arizona. That’s something that shouldn’t be dismissed lightly.

Twitter: @kentucker

P.S. Check out the latest EW TV Insiders Podcast as Dalton Ross, Mandi Bierly, Adam B. Vary, and I tackle subjects ranging from The Bachelor (thank goodness Mandi watches that) to Adam’s exclusive scoop on the new American Idol judges panel to what mid-season TV shows are worth watching (that’s where I come in). You can hear it right here.

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  • Kelly

    Perhaps the most important thing is that Stewart resisted the urge that everyone had over the weekend, from average folks watching the news in horror to pundits trying to justify their rhetoric (or cover their tracks): assigning blame. Instead, he just acknowledged that it’s a horrible, sad, frustrating event that we struggle to make sense of – and reminded us that just because crazy always finds a way doesn’t mean that we should cede control to the crazy.

    • Angela

      @Kelly, this was one of the best comments I’ve read on any story about the Arizona situation all day. (And I live here so I’ve read a lot). Truth is still truth, even if we don’t want to see it as so. And there has been very little truth going around in the last 48 hours. As you say, it was important (perhaps the most important) that Stewart didn’t succumb to what seems to be an irresistible urge to politicize such an obviously un”knowable” event.

      • Kelly

        Thank you. :-)

    • Dukie

      Love this – “just because crazy always finds a way doesn’t mean we should cede control to the crazy.”

    • joblo

      Resisting the urge to assign blame – I’m not a big Stewart fan, but I’ll give the man credit for that too. The blame lies with the man who pulled the trigger; the politicization of it all to score political points has been ugly and it re-victimizes the victims by turning them into a political football. They deserve more respect and dignity than that.

      • Wayne

        Pretty convenient…for the right wing yelling machine, that is.
        Words have consequences.
        The climate is definitely very far from reasonable.
        Every day, I can find NATIONAL radio talk attacking our president on all four traditional discrimination fronts of race, color, creed and national origin.
        That is the climate created by this horrible and inaccurate right wing punditocracy…and we must face it.
        When will the middle and left have the guts to restore the FCC’s “fairness in broadcasting” standards abandoned in the Reagan era that paved the way for our current debacle?
        It will probably be impossible to determine where this month’s assassin got his perceived marching papers…but the responsibility, which is being shirked, is there.

      • D

        And yet somehow after 8 years of listing to vitriol against Republicans during the Bush Administration no one died in a tragic shooting.

      • Meli

        @Wayne and D. Shut up, both of you. You are both part of the problem, and the fact nobody is willing to step back and ask how their own behavior may have contributed to what happened is the reason next time it will be a Presdential candidate and rally that gets targeted by a nutjob.

      • D

        Why don’t you shut up? The fact that you think anyone but the psycho who did this is a part of the “problem” is insane.

      • Mike

        No, Meli, your the blind and ignorant one. When a tragedy happens, it’s time to reflect and adjut. To bring proper justice to a situation, and not just say lets all join hands, forget about the past, and pray. That is laziness, and fear of being an adult: of owning your words, and taking responsibility. Accountability is just about dead, because of people like you. You, Meli, is what’s wrong with America. John Stewart is absolutely right: that we shouldn’t have a knee jerk reaction and froth at the mouth. But those who have spewed hate, lies and anger should be called out, and accountable for their actions. The truth should be outed, whether they be left or right. No ones calling for violence against them, which I think is what many of them are afraid of. They should simply be known for what they did, and accordingly ostracized.

        To retreat from justice is weakness, gluttony and pettiness.

      • Mike

        reflect and adjust*

      • Mike

        you’re** as well. I guess I should edit myself before I hit post. Either way, the grammar doesn’t detract from the meaning. Unless you want it to, of course.

      • cait40

        @ Mike
        Well said. I completely agree.

      • JFWilder

        Um…D…are you forgetting Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck fairy tale world?

      • Sandi

        What bothers me is the group of Americans who care less for other Americans than for terrorists. When the guy shot up Fort Hood Scream “Ala Akbar” this group said “Don’t Jump to Conclusions” its not all Muslims (which is right) but even kept saying this is not terrorism it is just about a crazy guy. (one we know emailed terrorist leaders)
        Now this man, who we know had severe mental issues and was obsessed with a woman who appears to have been a great Congress Person for years.
        Yet the same political group before we even knew the name of the shooter and who the dead were started shamelessly exploiting this tragedy for political gain.
        You are a heartless fool if you USE THIS to blame Palin for a web graphic. Just as it would have been wrong for people to blame Obama because he said “if they bring a knife, we bring a gun” in talking about an election or the Daily KOS for putting a Bullseye on a list of Blue Dog Democrats that include this Congresswoman Giffords.
        This guy was so lost he probably never saw or read any of this. He was reading Hitler and Marx and called them his favorite books.
        So all of you SHUT UP.. look the images of the people who died. And learn to cry before you exploit. The only lesson I see is that we need find a way to get help to someone like this vs. just removing them from school etc.

      • D

        I don’t know JFWilder… are you forgetting the psycho is an independent? Or that he has had a history of mental insanity? That his own classmates and teachers were terrified of him? Show me where he says I did this because Rush and Glen told me to. It’s no where you idiot.

      • jiff the pigg

        I am rust linberger and i proved this mess

      • Sarah and Sharon

        Lets see Dems might have said some harsh stuff about Bush, but I don’t recall their cross hairs on a particular politican then that politician getting shot. Not do I recall a Senator from a politicians state calling for 2nd amendment solutions if the teabaggers lose elections in AZ. Loughner a regsitered “independent” Just what the PATRIOTS call themselves. Where they be now? Why Sarah tak edown cross hairs? GUILTY.

      • Holden Caulfield

        joblo –

        Yeah, the shooter pulled the trigger…alone.

        …as if he had been a recluse who spent all his life in seclusion and never had contact or interaction with a single person or organization which influenced his ideas or motives?


        I for one think that blame is evident. Why? Because when people grab the public by the ears and scream into them demanding that they want everyone to know what it is they want – and furthermore that they feel everyone in a “free” country should want what they want and only what they want –

        …then they can’t walk away and say that their words had no impact when someone takes their ideas too far.

        They demanded to be heard; they were heard.

        You can’t un-ring a bell or call back a dog whistle.

        Stewart’s middle of the road diplomacy is nice, but his interview with Rachel Maddow a few weeks back where he basically said that MSNBC and Fox are the same but in opposite direction soured me a lot to his position.

        MSNBC is not Fox;

        If Party A stands up and says they want the world to rotate 90 degrees to the Right; by standing up to push back so that things stay stable does not mean party B is demanding a 90 degree rotation to the left.

        The “left wing bias” that the Right has been alleging over the years is a bloody shirt that they created with their own theater blood; the Right invented a false cause to lend legitimacy to their desire to push “back” to the Right.

        Walter Cronkite, Peter Jennings, and Daniel Schorr were NOT the same as Bill O’Rielly and Rush Limbaugh, and those were the icons that started their crusade.

        I’ve always been amazed that the FTC never sued Fox for “fair and balanced”,

        If Fox is fair, I’m looking forward to meeting this Jesus character that the Right claims loves only them, because the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Church of Rupert Murdoch cult will be quite a spectacle to watch.

        Then again, I don’t believe in “G”od, so I have to establish my justice here on Earth.

      • D

        So basically if we follow this A+B=C philosophy it would look something like this right?

        Right Wing Pundits spew “Hate” + Crazy Guy= Mass Shooting

        Sounds good lets apply it to other situations,

        Al Gore Spews environmentalist rhetoric + crazy guy= Hostage situation at Discovery Channel

        Quran preaches a superior religion + Crazy guys= 9/11

        From what you guys are saying we need to ban Al Gore and The Quran.

      • Greg

        @D – did you forget about the Virginia Tech tragedy in 2007???? This has nothing to do with Bush or Obama

      • Alan

        Yes, but even saying that the blame lies “with the man with the trigger” brings up more political issues. Again to quote Bill Maher, who is so succinct on this issue, conservatives are so reluctant to spend any money on health care that people like the shooter can’t get help for their mental issues but can walk into a gun store and buy a gun, despite being mentally disturbed. So no matter how you twist it, politics DOES have a role in all aspects of this tragedy. You can’t avoid it.

      • Josh Baker

        I understand the need to place blame, but can’t we just recognize that this man was insane? Politics don’t cause crazy people to kill, craziness causes crazy people to kill. I don’t know everything about this man or his motives, in the end it really doesn’t contribute to any kind of solution to use this tragedy as a tool to bash the other side of debate. Jon Stewart is the only one that told us perfectly where the blame was. “I have no f—ing idea.” And, unfortunately, that’s just how it is.

      • Michael

        Nutjobs assigning blame and using the victims as political fodder as a response to this particular article is just classic.

        What a great country — full of all types. ;)

        PS: Jon Stewart in 2016!

      • Sandi

        Alan first Maher is a fool. And the problem here was that this guy never asked for help and his parents were so detached or unaware of how messed up he was they never asked for help. His school suggested he get help. This is the cost of a free society and it sucks.. we can’t round up people who have done nothing wrong because we think they are messed up. This guy seems to have managed to walk the line where some people knew he was off, but not enough for the local Sheriff or others to do a forced commitment. So again you need to prove that taking money from hard working people would have changed the outcome, you can’t. This was a guy how kept it together until he cracked, warning signs yes,, other crimes not that we know of.
        Are you advocating we lock up for evaluation every malcontent? I think the ACLU would fight that, they don’t even want to lock up convicted sex offenders after time served.

      • This is exactly right.

        This is exactly right. Blame should only be put on the thug!

        However, when it comes to Muslim Extreemists, we shouldn’t forget, that the blame lies with the world of Muslims. Not the extreemist!!

      • sara

        to Wayne – very well said. Those who insist on using words of violence for their own gain have to know that words DO have consequences. To ignore that fact is grossly irresponsible and will do nothing to end this insanity.

      • Annoyed

        You all are completely missing Jon Stewart’s point. How old are you people? Seriously…

      • TwoEdgedSword


        You said “to quote Bill Maher, who is so succinct on this issue”

        To even watch Bill Maher makes a person devoid of credibility. To quote him? I mean wow.

        Bill Maher is one of the meanest hypocrites on the planet. I cringe when I hear him talk. I’m in the VAST majority on that.

      • jff

        “Pretty convenient…for the right wing yelling machine, that is.”

        Because Jon Stewart is clearly a right wing nutjob.

    • Jason

      “Stewart resisted the urge that everyone had over the weekend… : assigning blame.”

      That’s because Stewart is the most mature person on television these days. There’s a reason he’s the most trusted source for news.

      • Hayden

        Agreed. Stewart is the only television personality who addressed this issue with compassion for those lost, for those grieving, and for those frightened and stunned. He displayed true class, something that no pundit or politician on EITHER side of the aisle has shown in the wake of this hideous crime.

      • bkwurm1

        I was beyond impressed with the way he handled it. He is a sincere and true voice admist a sea of hot winded rhetoric. Classy even when followed by Sex and the Senior complete with rocketing STD statistics.

      • Bobby’s Robot

        As usual he he’s just about the only voice of reason in a sea of pundit absurdity. He said more in a few minutes than all the 24-hour “news” channels did all weekend. And he’s a better man than I, because I am pointing fingers. It’s too bad those politicians and pundits who furiously refer to other Americans as “the enemy” will learn nothing from this.

      • lesliemd

        Stewart may not point any blame, but I’ll point at any politician who voted to repeal the anti-assault weapons ban that allowed this lone wolf to purchase a gun and magazines that killed and wounded many people in a few seconds.

        Hunting guns I can understand, handguns are atill bothersome, but who in the name of God – outside of military and police – needs an ASSAULT WEAPON??? Just the fact that this is now permissable is why we will continue to have more Tucsons, Columbines, VA Techs and you name it.

      • Thorne

        I agree Jason. I know that I personally had a very difficult time staying on the high-road with the same level of maturity this past weekend.
        I do have a hard time watching certain commentators saying, “hey! It wasn’t our guy!” And then as an aside… “it wasn’t our guy right? Boy I hope I’m right.” I’m not as mature as I would like to be, but I’m trying and I’ve managed to not make any vitriolic statements out of respect for the dead and injured.

      • Alan

        Sorry but that’s a cop out. At the root of almost everything lies a political decision or a law. Even if you don’t blame the Tea Party you still have the issue of Gun Laws and inadequate treatment of the mentally disabled in our society. I think it’s just yet another Jon Stewart wuss-out to pretend that you can’t use this tragedy to open up a political discussion.

      • Scott

        I agree with all who praise Jon for not entering the blame fray. It sets him as a class apart. Gotta give him props for this trick too: He comes off as the classiest guy in the room while dropping the f-bomb. What the hell have we become?

      • Aftrbrnr

        No one got shot during the 8 Bush years. Have you not counted the KIA’s you Idiot. What about them

      • Aly

        Alan, did you listen? That’s not what he said at all. Quite the opposite. There’s a difference between not assigning blame and opening up discourse. He very much spoke in favor of the latter.

      • Jacki

        Even in Canada, John Stewart is the most trusted source for news – whether he be reporting regarding the US or Canada – which does happen from time to time.

        I am so sorry for what everyone is going through. My prayers are with all of those touched by this tragedy because no matter how you slice it – this is a tragedy for The victims, the shooter, the shooter’s family and every other American.

      • balance

        @lesliemd: Nobody really needs a weapon designed for “assault”. However, the only difference between a hunting rifle and an assault rifle is cosmetic. Furthermore, as I understand it, the weapon used in this case was a handgun. I know that it is hard to understand the differences and similarities of one type of firearm to another for people who haven’t had the inclination or opportunity to learn. I don’t blame anyone who hates all guns because they have only seen them used for evil. It’s a messed up world, and people do bad things, and we can’t all know every last detail about everything.

        However, many of the remedies proposed in the wake of detestable acts are based on ignorance and emotion, not careful examination of truth and reality. The fact is, emotional foolishness garners more votes than pragmatic rationality, so emotional foolishness is about all we get from our elected leaders, of any party.

        So, if you want to outlaw weapons, be smart about it and take a long hard look at what will actually happen when you pass that law, as opposed to believing that what you want to happen will happen. If you can find a regulation that produces the desired outcome (and not just getting someone re-elected) then let’s try it. And then measure the results, and adjust if necessary.

        There’s far too much time and energy and money spent in this world on things that don’t make any difference in the end, but seemed like a good idea at the time.

        Now, as for Mr. Stewart, most of the time he makes me laugh, and sometimes he brings other emotions to the fore. He’s a very good public speaker. I respect his abilities, and generally concur with his politics. I hope he can continue to be a voice of reason in a howling hurricane of vitriolic nonsense.

    • lulu

      Let’s not forget your place, please Mr. Stewart. You are not a politician, a pundit or (as you have always been so quick to point out) a serious newscaster. You are a comedian. Your rambling about the shooting was inappropriate and irrelevant. But then out of deep and abiding respect, you followed the endless, incoherent rant with a piece about senior STD’s. Stick to doing comedy and leave the news commentary to real journalists.

      • Bobby’s Robot

        Real journalists like Beck?? O’Reilly?? Limbaugh?? Coulter??

      • lunot

        Oh please lulu….tell us the name of a “real journalist”…..Meredith Viera?…Matt Lauer?…LOL

      • KWise

        I don’t think Jon was trying to be a “real” journalist. He was acknowledging that as a comedian, it was an inappropriate time to make jokes. So what was he supposed to do? The whole point of his monologue was that he didn’t know the most appropriate way for his show to react…..a point you clearly missed, LULU

      • Stephanie

        The thing about comedy, is it’s nuanced. It’s not all slapstick and not all jovial giggling. Some of the best comics have reflected on the harshness of life, or unfair realities. It’s an uncomfortable laugh. The Daily Show rides this line constantly. A lot of what they are pointing out is only funny because of it’s absudity. It’s not as if he’s telling one liners for cheap laughs every night. I think to debate his restraint is to not understand the concept of this show, or satire at all.

      • ea

        Fail. How do you determine relevance? Does he not have the right to express his thoughts? If people want to hear what he has to say, does that not immediately infer relevance? What are you talking about– do you know?

      • edd

        So if a person is a bricklayer they cannot express an opinion? I don’t always agree with Jon, but I trust him more to be honest and to the point more than most of the “real” journalists you could name. Beck? Hannity? Ed Shutlz? Right… Jon Stewart has more sncerity and vision than those boneheads.

      • Lynnis

        LuLu – Really..What is your definition of a real journalist? This is your big take,your big conclusion yet you don’t even site who you think is your standard barer. Real journalist are few and far between these days. Gee Sarah Palin is on Fox does that make her a journalist? She went to 5 colleges in 5 years to get a B.A. in journalism. Funny, that most universities don’t offer a B.A. in journlism – you have to go to Journalism school and get an M.A. to even begin to qualify to be a journalist. Who are you to determine if and when it was appropriate for Jon Stewart to comment? Incoherent rant- I think not. You obviously don’t have an attention span or interest in the subject to actually listen and take in what he was saying. It is and was so far from being irrelevant. Who assigned you to tell Mr. Stewart where his place is? Sounds like you are related to Ann Colter! If you can’t handle the truth of what went on then zone out, and stop complaining and assigning who should talk about it.

      • Aly

        #1 It was appropriate. I’m sure many people tuned in specifically to see how he would address the situation, perhaps remembering his class following 9/11.

        #The fact that we are even discussing it is evidence that it’s relevant whether you personally appreciated the sentiment or not. You aren’t the be all and end all of what is or isn’t relevant. That’s up to the general population to decide and clearly we find it relevant enough to post, discuss, debate, etc.

        #3 It wasn’t incoherent. Clearly people were able to make sense enough to discuss what he had to say. You can’t find dissenting opinions to an incoherent statement. It would begin and end with “I didn’t get it.”

    • Alan

      Sorry but I preferred Bill Maher’s response on Anderson Cooper. Sometimes while Jon Stewart tries to be the even-handed middle man, appealing to everyone equally, Bill Maher just tells it like it is, and he really hit the nail on the head. Yes, it’s a tragedy, but Bill Maher correctly pointed out that YES, the gun laws and the way that the tea party have debased our political atmosphere ARE partially to blame and people shouldnt deny it for the sake of political correctness.

      • Tired of the nonsense

        I had a feeling Maher would hit the nail on the head!

      • Sandi

        Bill Maher is a fool who tells it like his small brain sees it.
        Outside of smaller amo cartridges which I think is good idea. What Gun Law would stop this. If he couldn’t get a gun, could he do what Mc Veigh did or drive a car into the crowd. He was not on any list of mentally insane people, he had no record, so he could buy a gun. Maybe the loud mouth Sheriff there instead of blaming others should see if he missed putting this kid on a list for the FBI.
        The kid didn’t reference any one that Maher and others blame.. he was reading 80 and 100 year old revolutionary texts.. If all conservatives are responsible for this, then ALL MUSLIMS are responsible for 9/11 because the read a follow the same laws. I think we don’t want to go down that road. This guy was mad at her for how she answered a question 3 years ago… That was when the hate speech was against BUSH all the time as President.
        Maher and others twist the facts to attack people they hate, then claim they hate people who attack others. That makes him a hypocrite and a fool.

      • Arizona

        “Well, if he couldn’t get a gun, he could have mowed people down with his car! He could have used a crossbow! He could have mixed up some nerve gas in his parents’ basement! The fact that he CHOSE to use a gun because it was the most efficient, most easily obtained weapon for killing a whole bunch of people is NOT in any way an argument for tighter restrictions on the efficiency or easy obtainability of guns! Really!!!”

        This argument sounds exactly like the people who don’t believe in global warming, therefore smog controls are some sort of commie plot to… clean up the air we all breathe. All those in favor of reducing pollution are anti-business and anti-American! I mean, REALLY. I honestly don’t have anywhere near as much of a problem with all the vitriol being thrown around as I do with the sheer, mind-boggling lack of God-given COMMON SENSE. Not to mention reading comprehension and consistency of logic. I just pored over this entire comments page and didn’t see anyone seriously suggesting that “all conservatives are responsible for this,” but it’s perfectly okay to imply that EVERYONE has said that in order to prove your point, isn’t it? It’s perfectly okay to call the sheriff who had just finished picking up pieces of people’s skulls a “loudmouth” because a bunch of microphones were stuck in his face and he spoke his mind, isn’t it? Oh, I forgot, everyone except YOU should refrain from assigning blame. Way to “twist the facts.” I’m sure it doesn’t make you a hypocrite or a fool or anything.

      • Aly

        What does global warming have to do with anything?

        I know the extreme left and extreme right would have us believe that someone who feels one way on one issue, must feel a certain way about another unrelated issue but the connection between gun laws and environmental laws is tenuous at best. I guess hunting regulations bridges the two, but I still don’t get how we went from a shooting to global warming.

        Then again, every time someone opens their mouth to spew rhetoric, they are introducing more CO2 to the atmosphere.

        Is that the connection?

        As funny as it would be to see people banned from spewing BS under environmental protection laws, I doubt Palin’s verbal diarrhea contributes to global warming to the same extent, as say, cattle.

        (I’m being facetious by the way before anyone takes this too seriously…then again, the people I’d have to explain that to probably don’t even know what facetious means.)

    • harry

      God Bless you Kelly.

    • Jack Lean II

      Amen to that.

    • mia

      Sorry, but turning a blind eye to politicians who speak in violent terms (“don’t retreat, reload”) and publish websites calling for their opponents to be murdered (that is EXACTLY what putting someone in the cross hairs means) will do nothing but continue the insanity. Exactly how are people thinking that Palin’s actions are okay?? Do I think this madman was acting in direct response? No I do not. Does than make her grossly irresponsible behavior acceptable?? Absolutely not. Anyone who is criticizing her is 100% correct to do so. To those who think otherwise – if someone threatened the life of anyone in your family, would you think such actions are acceptable then??

    • John O

      Nicely put…..

  • gabby

    Even Stewart realizes it’s hard to make jokes at this time. It was strange watching him tonight. Colbert somehow was okay. He did begin very seriously, though.

  • AntonioSaucedo

    JS didn’t explicitly link political vitriol with the AZ assassin but smartly pointed out that the rhetoric of some pundits and politicians resembles too closely that of many a mad man. And added that eliminating this resemblance would make spotting crazy much easier. Funny, poignant.

    • Ann

      That was my favorite part! It was the most succinct explanation for why even if the rhetoric wasn’t to blame in this situation, it still needs to be addressed.

    • Lisa Simspon

      That was the part that resonated the most with me. If our day-to-day ramblings are over-the-top and crazy, how do we distinguish what truly crazy is?

    • Lilac

      I immediately posted this quote from him on facebook–“It is important to watch our rhetoric…if for no other reason than to draw distinction between the manifestos of paranoid madmen & what passes for acceptable political & pundit speak. It would be really nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn’t in any way resemble how we actually talk to each other on TV. Let’s at least make troubled individuals easier to spot.” He is so right. We have become more and more used to talk that is crazy. We can hardly tell the difference anymore!

  • The Blur

    “Wouldn’t it be a shame if we didn’t use this opportunity to make sure that the world we are cerating now […] wasn’t better than the one we previously lost.”

    I saw that. :D

  • Ron G

    It would have been very, very easy for Stewart’s gang to put together a dazzling video of the cable tv idiots all blaming each other for this tragedy. Pretty classy move that they chose not to do that.

    • Flyer

      Colbert did that, but to good effect, as a segue. He started serious, then showed the cable tv idiot montage and reacted like “OMG, how did I get behind the times? We’ve got to get on this!” And that enabled him to then slide back into his humorous persona and proceed with the rest of his show.

  • cliff f

    It just goes to show that jon stewart is the smartest journalist. He makes fun of all political parties, never backs down to confrontation and knows when its innappropriate to make a joke.

  • Megan

    I just watched this from my home less than ten minutes from where this shooting occurred. If I hadn’t overslept, I would have probably attended this event to meet my Congresswoman. Little things like forgetting to set your alarm or having another drink can sometimes change your life drastically. Jon Stewart did a fantastic job of putting into words my own thoughts that I’ve been unable to articulate properly. It was nice to know that we’re not alone. Despite it being all over the news, and seeing vigils and memorials and all kinds of outpouring of support, I felt very lonely until I saw his show tonight. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching him four nights a week since I was twelve that this was more comforting than anything else. I’m not really sure why, but I took solace in everything he said and appreciated the hilarious distraction. I remember seeing it a few years back. So thanks, Jon, and thanks to everyone else whose expressed so much love to all of us down here.

  • Daniel

    It goes to show why Jon Stewart is the greatest political commentator of our time.

  • Upset American

    A class act all the way! There’s too much finger pointing and blame throwing from both sides. It’s time to stop.

  • topazbean

    While I respect and appreciate Stewart’s attempts to deal with the shootings and not appear to make light of people’s grief, I am also somewhat ambivalent about his tendency to apply relativism to which stories he treats with the most gravity, and this raises questions to me about his genuine conviction in the power of satire to provide, in his own words, “catharsis”. He has said it is difficult to know how to crack jokes when “reality is sad” yet for people across the world reality is generally sad and brutal, but that does not dissuade him from using satire to draw attention to hypocrisy and injustice, as is his job. For example, during the protests in the wake of the Iranian election, Daily Show correspondents were over there cracking jokes about the absurdity of the government’s approach by highlighting the intelligence of the pro-democracy campaigners. People were being killed in these protests, yet Stewart and the Daily Show producers still believed that humour was appropriate. The same can be said for violent events and tragedies across the world – yet when Americans suffer he feels he mustn’t touch the subject. I can understand the difficulty he faces but it strikes me that he feels able to harangue the media and American government about issues affecting people internationally because of a sense of distance – as he only sees these stories reflected through the media the events, and the lives they affect, themselves feel unreal.

    Stewart will condemn shows like Crossfire for “hurting America” and, when America is not facing any major crises or is not reeling in the wake of an event like the Arizona shootings, will approach genuine anger when criticising the violent rhetoric used by right-wing pundits and their tendency to casually throw in threats and endorsements of violence to drive home their point. This seemed particularly noticeable when an extremist website encouraged violence against the makers of South Park for their episode featuring a censored image of Mohammed (while not actively saying they would pursue an attack against Parker and Stone themselves). Obviously they are his colleagues and so he felt personal solidarity with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but in the wake of these threats he suddenly claimed that he saw presenters on shows like Fox as sorts of partners in crime or friendly foes – yet many of their presenters encourage the use of torture in Guantanamo bay, present the President as an anti-American terrorist and frequently make off-the-cuff remarks endorsing acts of violence against those who oppose their worldview. Essentially the website was saying “Watch your back” and I do believe that many pundits in the US make similar comments about those they oppose all the time. This is not more okay simply because the violence they endorse is not presented under the banner of an “un-American” religion like Islam. Basically, for all that Stewart likes to position himself as a liberal pundit that rises above the stupidity and pandering, when it comes to the crunch he falls back on all the same fawning over this superficial interpretation of patriotism as devised by the US media and Republican party for fear of being accused of being anti-American. When he is asked to make hard and fast statements about his beliefs, he falls back on saying he just makes this funny little show, thereby abdicating any real attempt to change how people think about and discuss politics. He may have greater insight than many, and he says all the right things about international issues, but in reality he is as inward-looking as the rest of them.

    Finally, I agree with Stewart when he says that we cannot easily untangle the causes of the shootings and to try and offer an A=B explanation is stupid – I do not think he was wrong to say that. However, it seems to me that he is only really comfortable when he discusses the news as reflected through the media, and when reality hits home and suddenly he has to deal with tragedies happening in his own backyard he loses his backbone and suddenly cannot bring himself to stick to his guns and say that satire is as vital, if not more so, than ever before. Frankly, it would be a sad state of affairs if satire was only appropriate when everything is hunky dory – I like to think that satire is, in fact, more vital than ever precisely when “reality is sad”. How awful it would be to say to all those countries and individuals facing daily hardship and turmoil that they were not to laugh at their leaders for fear of making light of their own situation.

    • nitegram

      HUH? Get carried away much? Wow, you sure do like the sound of your own mind turning or is the sound of your fingers clap, clap, clapping the keys?

      • catlady


      • Matt

        What, do you struggle to read more than 3 lines of a reply. The poster’s thoughts were pertinent ones: satire should consume all.

      • BG 17

        But what can be satirized in this story? Mental illness? Oh, people would be rollin’ in the aisles on that topic…

    • catlady

      If you understand JS’ difficulty in this situation, why are you critizing him for “holding back” and not making the tragedy into a satirical backdrop? Do you expect him to mask his emotions for the sake of laughter? He has not lost his backbone, rather he has shown the proper restraint on this issue at the right time.

      • topazbean

        But that’s exactly my point. He was upset by the events, and his own feelings overwhelmed the role he takes on as a comedian and satirist – that strikes me as unprofessional and he himself admitted that what he said was more for himself than the audience. Having said that, what I really think he is doing is telling the audience exactly what he thinks they want to hear without looking hard at the logic gaps in his own audience’s thinking, and the more he strays into seriously trying to influence dialogue in the US, the more I feel this tendency is exposed. If you look at a satirist like Chris Morris, his approach is to bite hardest in the most vulnerable places – not just for those he doesn’t like, but so that even the people who enjoy his work are made to squirm and question their own gut reactions to an issue or event. If Stewart doesn’t believe that that is his role as a satirist that’s fine, but I disagree, hence my post. When I say I understand his difficulty I am saying that I can see it is hard to say “my audience is upset, but this is the best time to create something really critical and original that will make them sit up and think while they laugh.” I am a fan of Jon Stewart but I think his response to this issue was complacent and lazy.

    • Flyer

      I am sure Stewart will find plenty of opportunity for satire as the results of the AZ shooting shake out. (Will there be renewed calls for gun controls? Will Fox News canonize the little girl born on 9/11? Will gun crosshairs be changed to archery targets in news story graphics?) There’ll be plenty of cable news talk about blame and significances and blame and ramifications and, oh yeah, blame, and I don’t expect Stewart to back down from covering any of that. But last night’s show was “too soon,” and kudos to Stewart for recognizing that.

      • ALM

        Speaking of “too soon”, the NRA cold-called my home number on Sunday night, soliciting donations. Good thing I didn’t make it to the phone on time, or I would have torn them a new one for their insensitive timing.

      • The Fall of Rome

        Looks like Beck has already used the little girl.

    • Kelly

      Eh, I think you’ve missed the mark here, topazbean. Stewart has a history of stopping the show to reflect on what happens when it’s something that directly affects a large portion of his audience – the best example, of course, is going to be the show’s return to television after the WTCs were attacked and destroyed.

      Just because he acknowledges that when faced immediately with tragedy (and it’s worth keeping in mind that at least some of the writers/staff/talent know Rep. Giffords and/or her husband, Commander Mark Kelly) it can be hard to know what to do or say or how to react, doesn’t mean that skewering of the media won’t come – after all, look at the amount of 9/11 fodder that has been handled on the show in the nearly-ten years since that tragedy.

      Satire is about changing perception – showing that people are being foolish and unaware of how they’re being foolish. Right now, it’s literally too soon to use satire to discuss the weekend, because the normal targets of both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are showing awareness of their role in creating a hostile environment of over-the-top rhetoric. Unfortunately, this awareness will die down and the talking heads will go back to extreme and violent rhetoric – or hijack this for their own agenda. And when that happens, satire is then appropriate; the jesters can return to pointing their fingers in an effort to correct perception and to ridicule.

    • cw

      spare me

  • Andy9

    I do not think that Stewart is running from this situation simply because it is on our soil. He will be able to find the seeds of satire in these events as well. But today is not the time it will take a week or so to feel the mood of the nation and judge the time they need to re-balance themselves..

  • MikeyNYC

    While I always enjoy Jon Stewart’s commentary, I find something horribly frightening: the number of people who name the “Daily Show” as their NUMBER ONE SOURCE OF NEWS! There is something terribly wrong when people turn to Comedy Central as their primary source of news!

    • Jason

      The problem, there, though is not with the people who claim it, but with the fact that the rest of the media is untrustworthy and skewed. I watch other news programs and laugh at how absurd their presentations are, often saying “The Daily Show’s going to nail this tonight” – and sure enough, time and again, it does. This is the fault of the networks and cable news not doing a good job – the closest to “truth” many of us without blinders on can get actually IS from Jon Stewart.

      • Mo

        Let’s not forget there are still these little things called newspapers, which can give you much more in-depth information, clearly marked opinion pieces as opposed to the general news, and lots of local and international news. If we are comparing The Daily Show to the half-hour dumbed-down nightly news, or the basically half-hour worth of news on constant recycle that are 24-hour news channels, then it’s a fair point. But you could watch The Daily Show AND read newspapers.

      • Stewart Fan

        Really? NEWSPAPERS? The same companies that own the major news networks own the news papers…have you read the WSJ lately? It’s like reading the thoughts in the minds of the people at Fox News/Limbaugh, olny more articulate so that the WSJ can cater to its audience…I would guess that NYT is on par with MSNBC too, but i don’t ever watch that channel on purpose (occasionally Fox, when I know they are raging about something I find funny). Bottom line is that Stewart doesnt have to answer to a media conglomerate, which allows him to be an actual journalist. Even if thats not what he is, he does it better than anyone else out there.

      • Mo

        Yes, NEWSPAPERS. I occasionally read articles from The Wall Street Journal (the recent guest opinion from the self-styled Superior Chinese Mother was a doozy) but it’s never been my cup of tea. Should I be surprised that the Bible of Capitalism got even nuttier under Rupert Murdoch? But that in no way negates my point, which is that, for depth and breadth of coverage, nothing beats newspapers. If I want to know what’s going on in the world, outside of the usual suspects Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel, I go read The New York Times. And yes, I also enjoy their Op/Ed pieces and contributors, which are clearly marked as opinion, unlike the contributors and hosts on TV shows. If I want to know what’s going on in my small, rural area, I read my local newspaper. I still don’t quite get your point against newspapers. Having read about the issues certainly helps me enjoy The Daily Show and The Colbert Report even more. Reading newspapers and watching those shows is not mutually exclusive, rather, it’s complementary. And Comedy Central belongs to Viacom, which happens to be a giant media conglomerate. Ahem. So defend Stewart all you want, I love his show and I love Colbert’s show; but don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

      • Jordan

        @Stewart Fan- I understand your message and mostly agree, but your facts are wrong.

        Stewart answers to the Execs at Comedy Central, who answer to Viacom, whose Executive Chairman is Sumner Redstone, whose family retains majority ownership of CBS Corp. and Viacom. I grant you, neither of these Conglomerates own a newspaper, but you make it seem like Comedy Central is its own boss, which is not true.

        There is no connection between NYT and MSNBC (NYT Co. owns NYT and GE & Vivendi own MSNBC) Your WSJ and Fox connection is accurate (WSJ > Dow Jones > News Corp).

        Also, do you think Stewart handles the journalistic responsibilities on the show? There is a team of writers (remember that writers strike that shut down the show?) and Stewart is partly/mostly responsible for picking which pieces are worth including. He is an Editor and Host, not quite a journalist. Either way though, he does a damn good job.

        Also, what is wrong with reading or watching something politically slanted that you don’t agree with? You say you watch Fox when you find it funny, but slam people for reading newspapers that recycle the same info (but more articulately as you said). So your argument has been reduced to “I watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart because he’s a good host, and the show compiles news from the day so that I don’t have to. It does this in a satirical manner, which I find funny and insightful. I also watch Fox News occasionally because it’s easier to laugh at stupid Republicans when I don’t have to read.” (Assumption: You find some topics on Fox, a generally accepted to be Republican controlled channel, funny because of its eccentric display of Republican views. Forgive me, if I’m wrong.)

        All of this is to say that I LOVE the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It does add a reality check to the politics you hear, see, and read. It is a reminder to keep some balance and realize that everyone in politics is as stupid as you are (generally speaking). They just chose politics for a career and you didn’t. Jon Stewart chose a career in front of the camera and uses satire, an amazing wit, and great delivery to be one of the best show hosts around. His handling of the AZ tragedy was as professional as necessary for his show and properly timed for his audience.


    • Kelly

      Why is this an issue? Pew has repeatedly shown that people who claim The Daily Show as their primary source of news are more current on the news than people who watch CNN, MSNBC, Fox, etc.

      I mean, yes, there’s something really wrong when one of the best journalists in America, and one of the best sources of accurate news, is a comedy channel – but that’s not Stewart’s fault. ;-)

    • lunot

      Um….if not Comedy Central then what? CNN? Fox News? The Today Show? It is ALL ABOUT RATINGS, may as well watch a news “show” that admits they are on a comedy channel instead of being one of the countless lemmings that believe everything they hear on “serious” news channels.

    • Mindy

      The Daily Show is my *only* source of television news. Does that count? LOL
      Really, this is part of the problem. The vast majority of people get their news primarily from television. And television news right now is beyond horrible. Consequently there are probably a lot of people like me for whom The Daily Show is their only television source of anything relating to “news”. The difference is, I *read* to get real news, which a lot of other people don’t.

  • Michael Zalar

    “The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen. Or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the “dangerous, unexpected flaming-ants epidemic!” If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.”
    Jon Stewart, The Rally to Restore Sanity, Oct 30,2010

    • Captain Obvious

      Yep – exactly!

  • Harrysbar

    Topazbean’s remark is worthy of a nytimes op ed piece and refreshing to see some serious commentary as opposed to the usual bathroom scrawls that litter these ‘ comment’ follow ups ( ie nitegrams comeback).

    One thing is clear in these comments overall however, people who take in JS are smarter than the average and therefore the commentary JS inspires ( evident here ) is a cut above the fray and informed. That says a lot for the JS show and surely the idiots on talk radio are propagating some very different remarks in reference to these events.

  • Steve

    Ken, John is the same as every talking head on Fox or CNBC. However he hides behind the jokes. He is the odd, picking, non violent, bully in high school. He insults and is mean, to put across his agenda..then he starts laughing and says he is just joking. The he starts insulting again. Cannot watch him anymore. He is just the same as the others.

    • Tired of the nonsense

      There’s a show on Fox News for you, then.

      • Steve


      • Rusty

        I’m impressed! You’ve managed the almost imposslbie.

    • Mickey

      Steve, there’s something you don’t seem to understand. John Stewart is comedian, not a news reporter. I know it can be hard to tell the difference sometimes, but believe me, there is one — a BIG one.

    • cw

      is not

      • RichDoode

        Is too!

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