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August 30, 2015

TV critic doesn't "get" Jon Stewart

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 31st 2006 4:53PM

Jon StewartHey, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not quite sure that I like seeing Jon Stewart as host of The Oscars, but that has nothing to do with whether or not he's "right" for the job. I just don't want to see Stewart be perceived as a bad host because I like the guy so much (like Letterman - Letterman was a fine Oscar host but history is twisted and says otherwise).

But Richard Huff over at the NYDN says that not only does he not understand why Stewart was picked to host the awards show, he doesn't "get" Stewart at all. He's tried to watch The Daily Show and doesn't find Stewart funny, and doesn't understand why he's gotten all the accolades from critics.

We all have our opinions, but...how can you not "get" Stewart? Huff makes it seem like all that Stewart has ever done is The Daily Show, the political/current events humor for the past several years, when he's actually been a fairly famous standup comic for the past 10-12 years. Is he including all that in his "I find Stewart unfunny" talk?

He also doesn't understand why The Daily Show gets praise when, according to Nielsen, it doesn't get good ratings. Um, yeah, I wonder why Comedy Central can't compete with ABC, NBC, and CBS? Besides, since when does quality/critical acclaim equal great Nielsen ratings? He also says that means "there are a lot of people not getting Stewart's comedy." Well, doesn't someone have to actually watch something to get it? (Oh, a side note: I don't believe that many viewers get all their news from TDS; for one thing, you have to actually watch the news and know what's going on to get the jokes, right?).

I don't buy that Stewart's appeal is "limited at best." He has hosted the Grammys, Tom Snyder's old show on CBS, filled in for Larry King, has done his own talk shows on MTV and in syndication, has appeared in movies, been in every magazine the past five years, and is now going to host the Academy Awards. I don't know if that could be considered "limited" in any way. 


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The Bush Administration is a joke. The democrats are a joke. The news media is a joke. The only sanity-saving thing to do is laugh at them all. Jon Stewart has discovered this and it makes for smart, funny, often insightful television. If Huff doesn't get it, it's his problem not Stewart's.

February 04 2006 at 8:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not "getting" Jon Stewart is like not understanding the hilarity of the TRUTH in all it's glorious absurdity.

February 02 2006 at 1:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Matt-It wasn't the best analogy, I know, but it was the first that sprung to mind. Whenever I read some blowhard badmouthing the popularity of someone as astute, dead-on and funny as Stewart, it's usually some conservative idiot who doesn't understand sarcasm. Someone who doesn't "get" the jokes Stewart makes and likely doesn't realize why they are jokes in the first place. You know, someone deluded who thinks Bush is awesome and smart and is otherwise oblivious to any sense of reality about the world around him or her.

February 01 2006 at 12:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh my God, someone else who thought that Letterman didn't do such a bad job hosting the Oscars! I have faith in humanity again!

(No, really, I didn't mind him on the Oscars. I also thought Steve Martin did a good job. I can't stand Billy Crystal, he annoys me at this point.)

February 01 2006 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Angela Alverson

This is way more attention than Huff deserves. He is a sad harmless man. He probably lobbed this lame piece out just to stir up folks.

January 31 2006 at 10:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Like Bob said, Stewart's appeal is more than just his show. He's a known comedian, an author, and has appeared all over the media, big screen and television. His show is also a "daily" show, not a serialized drama. People tune in when they can, and if a person watches his program once a month, that in no way means they don't enjoy Stewart, or get his humor. To point out ratings is an incredibly weak and naive argument to make, especially when dealing with a person's popularity. I personally don't care if Huff gets Stewart's humor, but for a writer to actually come out and speak for America and say they don't like him is absurd. So we Stewart haters put his America book on the bestseller list for months just to be ironic?

Figures Huff writes for the Daily News.

January 31 2006 at 10:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel Keller

Richard Huff is a fair and rational critic, from what I've seen, and I read his column regularly. He usually writes about the local news, and brings up issues that a lot of viewers wonder about themselves as they watch. So if he doesn't like Jon Stewart for one reason or another, you can't begrudge the guy his opinion.

But, his argument about lack of viewership is off the mark; even if TDS doesn't get a lot of viewers compared to network shows, it gets a lot compared to other cable shows. It really doesn't speak to how well Jon will do at the Oscars. I mean, how many people saw Chris Rock's HBO specials? He didn't seem to be scrutinized nearly as much as Jon has.

I have no idea if he will do well at the Oscars; I don't think any edgy comedian does well there, due to the general nature of the jokes they have to write. But Stewart does have a charm and ability to improvise that serves award hosts well. Jeez, it's not like the end of the world if he sucks; Letterman's been milking his disasterous hosting stint (which I actually liked) for laughs for ten years.

January 31 2006 at 10:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jeff stiefer

So the point of the story is that dick Huff is an idiot. He's just hatin' cause he doesn't have his own show. Jackass.

January 31 2006 at 10:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If my 65 year old mother can get Jon Stewart, anyone can.

January 31 2006 at 9:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mase, it's almost not even worth pointing out how stupid some of these people are. I thought it was pretty generally accepted that The Daily Show is one of Comedy Central's most successful programs... ever.

January 31 2006 at 7:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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