Yesterday afternoon, we attended a delightful event at the New Yorker Festival: an interview of The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, conducted by David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker. Stewart was in fine form, and he “stopped the show” several times, reducing the audience to laughter so loud they had to pause before continuing. Several notable folks, including Maureen Dowd and screenwriter Paul Haggis (winner of last year’s Oscar for “Crash”), were in the audience.
Some good quips from Stewart (which we paraphrase, since we don’t have a transcript). On Ann Coulter:
I actually feel sorry for her. Once your career is based on denigrating 9/11 widows, what’s your second act? Unless you dig up Mother Teresa and stick a dildo in her eye, nothing could be more offensive.
On the Mark Foley scandal:
We do have pages on The Daily Show. I just want to make one thing clear to their parents, and to everyone else: We WILL sodomize them.
On John McCain, and the media’s general adoration for him:
You know, he has the Straight Talk Express. And he’s driving it to Bullshittown.
When the Q-and-A session began, we were the first ones to the microphone. We often ask questions at these events, but we try to (1) ask funny or interesting questions, (2) keep them brief, and (3) keep them as questions (as opposed to never-ending rants that the moderator eventually cuts off).
An account of our questions and Stewart’s responses, after the jump.
Again, this is from memory, not a transcript; so it may contain errors. Audio clips will eventually be made available here.
ATL: Hello Mr. Stewart. I have two questions for you; you can answer whichever one you like better.
[JS feigns giddy excitement and starts singing a few bars of "Here comes the sun."]
ATL: My first question is whether you read blogs, and if so, which ones? My second question is: What do you think of Hillary?
[At this point David Remnick chimes in, "Actually, why don't you answer both?" Guess Remnick liked our questions. We were flattered.]
Then, on Hillary, he just referred to her as “a quintessential modern politician” — which he clearly did not mean as a compliment — and said that he has “no idea what she really thinks about anything.”
Finally, some comments from Jon Stewart that we appreciated as bloggers who traffic in gossip, satire, and humor. Stewart pointed out that his talent is for making jokes, something that he’s uniquely good at, which he offers as his contribution to the discourse. He said that when people ask him why he doesn’t do more “substantive” stuff — i.e., real news and commentary, as opposed to “fake news” — he basically says:
It’s not a dodge for us to say, ‘We’re a comedy program.’ We don’t have to do their [the MSM's] job too. It’s like asking a movie critic, ‘Why don’t YOU make a movie?’
[We are a comedy show,] and that to me is enough.
Well said, Mr. Stewart. There is no need for writers who traffic in lighter fare to feel “guilty” for not writing 3,000 word pieces about Darfur. Some writers are good at one thing, some at another, and everyone should be free to write what they enjoy and excel at — not what some outsider tells them they “ought” to be writing.
Jon Stewart Interviewed by David Remnick [New Yorker Festival]
Stewart Dispels Rumor of White House Run [Associated Press]