Television

Stewart vs. McClellan

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The bad news is that Jon Stewart isn't all that funny anymore.

The good news is, he may be the best serious interviewer on television.

I don't know of anyone who has been better or more consistent than Stewart when it comes to cutting through the bullshit as these ex-Bush administration officials do the talk show circuit to promote their books.

These days I watch Colbert when I want to laugh. But I'm more apt to watch Stewart interview a guy like McClellan than I am Tim Russert or one of the other Sunday morning talking heads.

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  1. I haven’t watched the link yet, but I want to agree that, comedy-wise, Colbert renders Stewart obsolete.

  2. Stewart is still funny* when he’s trying to be funny.

    He just takes (some of) his interviews seriously these days.

    *not Colbert funny, but still funny.

  3. I agree that, with the comic facade, Stewart is able to get people on, then unwittingly grill them.

    Based on Comedy Central’s other programming, they really don’t care about ratings, so who cares if some guests refuse to return?

    Burn those bridges, John, others will build newer, better ones…

  4. Stewart still has some pretty funny correspondents, even if he himself doesn’t do much for the show.

  5. I think Stewart got to a point where he took a hard look at his subject matter and said, “hey, this shit ain’t funny.” I can see him running for a national office in the next 10 years.

  6. Don’t blame me, I voted for Craiggers.

  7. Is it still good?

    I haven’t seen an episode since 2002/2003… And I haven’t seen a full episode of the Colbear Repoor, ever.

    It seemed around 2002/2003, every joke was a bush-basher and/or a conservative-basher joke. Which is fine, I’m no Bush fanboy, it just seemed repetitive and ultimately not real thoughtful…

  8. Oh what a crock. Stewart gets away with saying unserious crap because he’s a “comedian” but still wants to be taken seriously, and has a partisan audience to cheer him on in both efforts.

    I miss Craig Kilborn. He just tried to have fun.

  9. Stewart’s funny started going downhill after Gore lost had the election stolen form him. I think he figured it was his fault (it was mine, natch) for his ‘a pox on all their houses’ style. Since then he rips on Republicans for being evil and contemptible, but he rips on Democrats for being uncharismatic and ineffective. Colbert can bring the funny, but I liked 20th century Stewart better.

  10. After watching McClellan, I’m not sure if I buy the “he was a weasel for this book” story.

    I think he was genuinely too scared to talk about it…

  11. BTW
    Bob Barr is going mano-a-mano with Colbert tomorrow night.

  12. Stewart jumped the shark, integrity-wise (and intellectually) for me when he kissed Evo “Axis of Good” Morales’s ass, and joined him in quips regarding our crooked elections.

    An admitted socialist, and enabler of Marxist stooges, who cocks his head and says when he’s held accountable, “Hey, we’re not heavy, we’re on Comedy Central!” is not my idea of a “journalist” of any kind.

    I’m not validating the ass-kissing of any other parties, but his tends to get me going more. It reminds me of something someone said about how Roosevelt was worse than Hitler, in that Hitler had been discredited thoroughly, whereas Roosevelt’s damages have been enshrined, abetted, and live on as active policy.

  13. Stewart still has some pretty funny correspondents, even if he himself doesn’t do much for the show.

    The whole show, including the correspondents, sucks. Colbert, besides being far more talented than Stewart and correspondingly far funnier, was smart enough to jettison the beaten-to-death-for-30-years-on-SNL “correspondents” bullshit.

  14. Warren,

    I think it just makes more sense for a political comedian to joke about those in power than those out of power.

  15. I actually think the “correspondents” are the absolute worst part of the Daily Show.

    Colbert is kickass!

  16. It’s those Bush impressions, Stewart needs to stop that shit. The gag expired in 2005, I cringe every time he does it.

    The newer generation of correspondents are too transparent. They admit they’re joking, like clowns from the improv circuit. Guys like Vance Degeneres were great because they matched the tone and mannerisms of a serious journalist, very convinced of their own virtue. The Onion News Network does a great job of carrying this style, I think.

    That said, I do like seeing Jon get confrontational with guests who may not be expecting it.

  17. Although, I didn’t find Colbert as funny while he was a “correspondent” either. He really came into his own with his own show.

  18. Indeed, getting off that show seems to be the best career move for many.

  19. Although, I didn’t find Colbert as funny while he was a “correspondent” either.
    And yet, the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner was Colbert at his peak.

  20. Indeed, getting off that show seems to be the best career move for many.

    Who else? You can make the case that Kilborn’s career improved for Craig, even as it plummeted into the suck for his viewers.

    Root of All Evil is the lowest I’ve seen Lewis Black. He may have only had three good years in him.

  21. McClellan acts like he doesn’t know who “leaked” Valiere Palmers but admits in passing at page 306 of total 326 it was Armitage.
    Read Novaks column.
    McClellan’s mother ran for Texas governor and insisted on being called “grandma” and his father wrote a book accusing LBJ of engineering the assisination of JFK.
    Genetically, McClellan is a loser nut.

  22. Who else?

    Steve Carrell.

  23. There really aren’t any good interviewers on TV

  24. The bad news is that John Stewart isn’t all that funny anymore.

    The good news is, he may be the best serious interviewer on television.

    The worse news is, he may be the best serious interviewer on television. 🙂

  25. I think Stewart got to a point where he took a hard look at his subject matter and said, “hey, this shit ain’t funny.” I can see him running for a national office in the next 10 years.

    Please, God. Please, please, please, don’t let Jon Stewart turn into another Al Franken.

  26. Al Franken was never that funny to begin with.

  27. I kinda liked Al Franken when his show aired on the Sundance channel

  28. Rachael Harris is on a moderately successful sitcom. Rob Corddry has had two failed sitcoms and is playing Ari Fleischer in that preach-to-the-choir Oliver Stone W movie. Ed Helms is on The Office.

  29. And I haven’t seen a full episode of the Colbear Repoor, ever.

    Make sure to watch a few full episodes. His last segment, the interview, is where he really shows how quick-witted he is.

  30. Best line Colbert ever had on the Daily Show was as follows. He was interviewing a guy who did Elvis impersonations on the side of a road in the suburbs (this is pre-Bush, pre-hyper political era), and asked what would happen if he stopped.

    Rube: Well, a lot of people would probably wonder what had become of me.

    Colbert: That’s a good question. What has become of you?

    Rube: [confused silence, slowly transforming into stunned silence]

  31. It’s those Bush impressions, Stewart needs to stop that shit.

    Maybe, but his Cheney is an evergreen. What he does need to stop doing is his using a high-pitched girly voice instead of a real punch line. He’s been doing that a lot, lately.

  32. Every time I make the mistake of tuning into Comedy Central before Colbert, Stewart is on there ranting away. He makes Rush Limbaugh seem like a calm, evenhanded guy.

    People said that he’d become funny once the Republicans lost power. Those people were wrong.

  33. “It seemed around 2002/2003, every joke was a bush-basher and/or a conservative-basher joke.”

    Stewart goes after those in power equally. Guess who was in power in 2002/2003 and still is? He also skewers the democratically led congress.

    His Hillary and Obama jokes the last few months have been spot on and hilarious. The correspondents (with the exception of sr. black correspondent) are worthless.

    Stewart and Colbert are the most constantly amusing things on television.

  34. “”But I’m more apt to watch Stewart interview a guy like McClellan than I am Tim Russert or one of the other Sunday morning talking heads.”

    Ignorance is bliss!

    BTW, I loved the Stewart interview with Richard Clarke, where the whole point of the interview was to provide a platform for Stewart and Clark to proclaim, “McClellan’s book isn’t a pile of lies like Clarke’s was and unlike Clarke, McClellan has no motive for lying (unlike Clarke, who wanted a job in the putative Kerry administration). So, all you lemmings can be certain that McClellan’s book is all true.”

  35. There’s no “h” in Jon Stewart’s name.

    And I agree with those who stopped watching around 2002/2003. Show got pretty terrible around then.

  36. Spot on Smappy. I also recall from that segment:

    C: What’s that in your hand?
    R: Microphone
    C: What’s that in your hand?
    R: Microphone
    C: What’s that in your hand?
    R: [looking dejected] Screwdriver.

    Whatever happened to the equally funny Beth Littleford?

  37. Oh what a crock. Stewart gets away with saying unserious crap because he’s a “comedian” but still wants to be taken seriously

    Yeah, comedy can never have a serious point.

    Neither can irony.

  38. Beth Littleford

    Married a producer on the show and had a kid. Bit parts and one off TV roles since then.

  39. “There really aren’t any good interviewers on TV”

    Then you haven’t watched “The Newshour” on PBS.

  40. Whatever happened to the equally funny Beth Littleford?

    Beth Littleford was about as funny as an patient beating a puppy with a hammer.

    The Sr. Black corespondent and John Oliver are hilarious, Riggle has his moments on occasion, and Demetri Martin’s rare appearances are the best…

  41. That should read “…an AIDS patient beating a puppy with a hammer.”

  42. I know it has been a long time, but back in the day Al Franken was a hell of a lot funnier than Stewart ever was. Yeah, Franken is a no fun liberal jackass these days but there was a time in the early 80s when he was really funny. A lot funnier than Stewart.

  43. Stewart goes after those in power equally. Guess who was in power in 2002/2003 and still is? He also skewers the democratically led congress.

    #1) Yeah, thanks for the newsflash.
    #2) Does he really? What would be the average proportion of conservative bashing-to-liberal bashing (I’m honestly asking)?

    To be more clear about my original post:
    I have no problem with Stewart and TDS bashing whomever they please, I only suggest they be funny about it.

  44. I dunno about best interviewer on television. He does really well with shnooks like McClellan, but when he has guys with more Alpha Male in them he kinda falls apart–undercuts any serious jabs by laughing at nothing, laughs uproariously at anything even moderately funny the guest says, etc. He also starts giving out superfluous compliments to the guest.

    McCain is one example.

    Anderson Cooper was the same way when he interviewed Angelina Jolie. Like the star wattage was too much for him.

  45. It would be interesting to see Stewart do one of the presidential debates.

  46. The Daily Show actually got funnier during the writers strike. A little bit.

    It still has its moments.

  47. John McCain is his most frequent guest ever, and Stewart usually does a lousy job with him. Not that he has to be a real hardass on a comedy, show, but he certainly picks and chooses based on who will and who he wants to come back. All his interviews with Bill Kristol (another frequent guest) are awkward and always turn into “ha ha you’re so evil and a liar but we’ll laugh because this is supposed to be comedy.”

    With all the politicos and serious books he has, Stewart has turned into half Charlie Rose and half pre-Bush John Stewart.

  48. BTW, I loved the Stewart interview with Richard Clarke…

    That interview was also awful because both Stewart and Clarke went on and one about how if only some other party (like, oh say, the Democrats) were in charge, we would return to the past competence of Federal government, and Americans faith would be restored.

  49. Surely both Lewis Black and Colbert did their best work on Harvey Birdman.

  50. I’ve liked Lewis Black’s comedy specials but didn’t think much of him on the Daily Show. Maybe swearing is really necessary for his shtick.

  51. Stewart takes himself too seriously. But when he gets called on it, he plays the “comedian” card. So, he’s a lefty pundit who doesn’t bother to defend his own positions.

    Connie Chung killed him by making him think he could be a real news anchor.

    Colbert is great because he can espouse the most right wing views with a deadpan. He seems to grasp them well enough to make a point, but because it’s satire (and he’s over the top) he doesn’t offend the lefty audience.

    When his character says something I agree with, I’m glad that the kiddos are listening, even if they are laughing. When he says something I don’t agree with, I can laugh along with him.

    It’s really quite genious.

  52. “genius”

    and Lewis Black uses the F-word as a crutch.

  53. Yeah, Stewart is a serious interviewer, unless the person is on the left. Then he becomes a fawning, unfunny asskisser.

  54. Best line Colbert ever had on the Daily Show was as follows. He was interviewing a guy who did Elvis impersonations on the side of a road in the suburbs (this is pre-Bush, pre-hyper political era), and asked what would happen if he stopped.

    Rube: Well, a lot of people would probably wonder what had become of me.

    Colbert: That’s a good question. What has become of you?

    Rube: [confused silence, slowly transforming into stunned silence]

    Ha!

    That reminds me of another great Colbert interview. He was talking to a mime, who wanted miming to be an Olympic sport. The guy was passionate but very disheartened, to the point of unblinking seriousness.

    This is how the interview ended:

    Colbert: If your Olympic dream doesn’t happen…where do you see yourself in ten years?

    [long, uncomfortable pause]

    Mime: A grave.

  55. I’d rather listen to Garrison Keillor. And I never listen to Garrison Keillor.

  56. “bad news…Jon Stewart is no longer funny”
    Ditto on everything except for the “news” part.

  57. Other bad news…The Simpson’s aren’t usually that funny anymore either. Happened about the seventh or eighth season.
    And I’m worried that South Park might occasionally be showing the early warning signs of staleness.

  58. Other bad news…The Simpson’s aren’t usually that funny anymore either. Happened about the seventh or eighth season.
    And I’m worried that South Park might occasionally be showing the early warning signs of staleness.

    This is the standard rule of non-British comedy. British comedy gets around the rule by ending every show after three and a half episodes.

  59. Oh what a crock. Stewart gets away with saying unserious crap because he’s a “comedian” but still wants to be taken seriously, and has a partisan audience to cheer him on in both efforts.

    I miss Craig Kilborn. He just tried to have fun.

    I agree entirely. Its like when Stewart went on Crossfire and was a complete jackass when they gave him an opportunity to promote his book. He wants it both ways, he wants be taken seriously, then whenever he’s attacked he plays the “I’m on a comedy show” card.

  60. “The correspondents (with the exception of sr. black correspondent) are worthless.”

    Your opinion is wrong.

    Samantha Bee.

    That is all.

  61. I miss Craig Kilborn. He just tried to have fun.

    I can’t fathom how anyone could miss such a smarmy talentless frat-boy as Kilborn.

  62. Canada never got Kilborn-era Daily Show, but I liked him in the early days of Late Late Show. He always seemed so unimpressed with people, like when Kiefer Sutherland was showing off his tattoos.

    “What’s that, a scorpion?”

  63. South Park hasn’t been funny since the 20th century.

  64. Yeah, Colbert is always his right-wing parody self until his idol’s wife, Michelle Obama, parades onstage for an interview and he gives her nothing but a stale, well-rehearsed, seven-minute advertisement for her husband. Puke. That’s when Colbert really annoyed me. But he’s still funny. Maybe he’s just scared of black chicks.

  65. I think it just makes more sense for a political comedian to joke about those in power than those out of power.

    Given our system, though, one can ‘pick and choose’ who’s in “power”. Republican president/Democratic Congress. All of our problems are caused by the Republican president. Democratic president/Republican congress, now all of our problems are the Republica congress. Democratic president/Democratic congress, all of our problems are being caused by that wascally wepublican minority in congress, causing gridlock and engaging in “divisive politickin'”.

    I’m not accusing Stewart of this, but I’ve lived through enough administrations and congressional elections to realize that one can shift the blame to the appropriate power center- regardless of where that power center sits.

  66. Yeah, Colbert is always his right-wing parody self until his idol’s wife, Michelle Obama, parades onstage for an interview and he gives her nothing but a stale, well-rehearsed, seven-minute advertisement for her husband. Puke. That’s when Colbert really annoyed me. But he’s still funny. Maybe he’s just scared of black chicks.

    Our anger at TV shows says more about us than the shows.

  67. I think Stewart, Colbert, and South Park are all still very funny. Who are you people?

    I am truly alone.

  68. Colbert’s show is all cheap gags and audience-fellating. Stewart is still funnier. IMHO.

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