Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's gotta be tough being Jon Stewart...

Now, I must admit...when Jon Stewart first replaced Craig Kilborn on The Daily Show back in 1999, I wanted to hate him. I mean, the Craig-ster was my guy...Kilborn left ESPN (a Sports Center gig...yes, my dream job, but that's another story) and he was the first host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central back in 1996. When he left, I swore that I was done with The Daily Show. I mean, Jon Stewart? Comedian? MTV reject? Puh-leeze!

But, I admit it...I was wrong. Stewart's show didn't miss a beat. As a matter of fact, he has surpassed Kilborn's show in both audience AND relevance. Yes, I've previously mentioned his softball skewering of lefties while at the same time almost bashing the skulls of folks on the right with whom he might disagree. But overall, it appeared to be in the name of comedy...and I'm all for that.

Stewart, himself a avowed liberal, soon became a hero of all things left...from UC Berkeley to Boston College...from NPR to Talk Radio...his show became the ultimate combination of Weekend Update (from Saturday Night Live), National Lampoon, and the CBS Evening News. He became the perfect antidote for self-important talking heads and political hacks. When Stewart found himself being mentioned in the same breath with those he parodied, he was able to deflect it all with a "fake news" wink.

But alas, Stewart is now facing a "liberal conundrum." Sarah Palin...that's right, THAT Sarah Palin...Stewart (and frankly, most political "satirists") love to skewer the one-time (and extremely failed) Vice Presidential candidate. The media and late night comedians have continued to hammer the former Alaskan governor. That's both good AND bad for Stewart. On the one hand, this is good stuff...it's tailor made for comedy. On the other...

Should Stewart continue the Palin bashing (it's just so easy), risking overexposure and quite possibly the nation turning from her to a more solid Republican candidate...a candidate who might be able to send his own President packing? Or does he back off...sort of...hoping that she'll be able to "hoodwink" enough Republicans into being their 2012 "Stepford candidate," or better still, split the vote by going "Tea Party." What to do?

Yep, it's tough being Jon Stewart...well, if tough is making $14 million a year and living in a $5.8 million penthouse in downtown Manhattan...

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