As host of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart’s job is to provide fast and fun entertainment for his audience, similar to that of a jester. He achieves this through his short segments, video snippets and short acts with fellow comedians and actors all of whom have attracted a young audience. Does this make him a comedian? Not necessarily. Jon Stewart is a satirist that balances humor with truth. He considers himself a comedian, not an anchorman or a journalist. Gilbert Highet defines satire as “a blend of amusement and contempt.” Whereas a satirist takes more precaution with their material, making sure the facts are provided along with playful comedy, a comedian does not hold any limits in hopes of getting a few laughs.
The informality of satire comedy is able to put the audience at ease. This is why shows such as the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report and Saturday Night Live have gained so much popularity. Satirist “makes them realize the truth and then moves them to feelings of protest.” The way Stewart and his team go about presenting the clips makes the show move in a fast and direct matter without any unnecessary “gerrymeandering.” This is different from the approach of news shows such as FOX news, CNN and MSNNBC where there is constant bickering between the guests and hosts (in boring monotone voices).
When Stewart “attacks,” he makes sure to cover all the points of the issues. He goes after both Republicans and Democrats which results in a balance between left and right in the show. Throughout all this, he remains mindful of sensitive biographical information such as religion. Unless the politician uses their religious background to support their actions, Stewart won’t incorporate it into the discussion at hand.
It is amazing how his work can have an effect on other media and laws. His appearance on Crossfire had such an impact that his arguments were able to cancel the show. He comes on the show to confront them and yet the hosts are doing exactly what Jon Stewart is asking them to stop doing – putting on a show rather than have an actual serious conversation. Both hosts, Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala, keep dodging Stewart’s accusations with empty replies.
January 16, 2014
This episode opens with the promotion of women to top positions including CEOs, admiral and even head of extremist group Hamas. Correspondent Kristen Schaal role plays an abusive, sexist and racist boss while Stewart plays a lady seeking employment. Schaal really exaggerates the character using terms such as “sugar tits” and offers Stewart an alcoholic beverage. She ends scene and admits to liking the feeling of abusing power. She brings up a point that some of the audience members may not have thought of – women are capable of being just as (allegedly) abusive as men.
Being that this was the first entire episode of the daily show I’ve ever seen, I was immediately entranced by the show. Not only because the first topic discussed was embracing the progressiveness of women, but because Kristen Schaal was on the episode. I know her from shows such as Flight of the Conchords and Bob’s Burgers. I’m a fan. Seeing a familiar face can definitely help with the show’s ratings. You instantly connect with the show knowing that it shares the same or similar sense of humor.
February 3, 2014
In this episode, Stewart’s correspondents go out to different parts of NYC to see how the newly appointed Mayor de Blasio is handling the snow. According to Aasif Mandiv, snow plows didn’t get to the Upper East Side as is obvious from the snow up to his head. Samantha Bee seems to be fine in Times Square where not one flake of snow was seen. Jessica Williams was in Brooklyn where it’s 82 degrees. I loved how they went about sensationalizing the situation. Although it was exaggerated, there was some truth in it.
February 6, 2014
This past weekend, I tuned into America’s greatest past time that is football. One of the Superbowl commercials featured Americans of different ethnicities with America, the Beautiful playing in the background but in different languages. As I was watching this, I thought it was a beautiful commercial representing what America is all about – diversity. However, Coca Cola received much criticism for this commercial, with Facebook comments like, “Totally disgusted. American football game, American TV, American company and you slap us in the face in our own country…. Shame! Shame on you!” This issue was discussed on The Daily Show and they too were disgusted by the remarks. Once again, Jon Stewart acts as “surrogate of the people” expressing his feelings that are reminiscent of the zeitgeist.