The Daily Show: January 7, 2008
So, Jon and his crew returned. Yay. However, the crew didn't include writers. Not so much yay. It was pretty obvious how Jon felt about coming back with his entire team. I was wondering if he would just spend the entire evening going on a free-form rant about the ridiculousness of the situation, but it soon became evident that, despite the unfortunate circumstances, we are in election season and TDS needed to cover the '08 happenings. Oh, by "cover", I mean "touch upon". The brief observations were funny, but not much deeper than "Woah! Mike Huckabee and Chuck Norris are BFF". Naturally, the main discussion was about the WGA strike.
Gallery: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Jon started off by showing off his facial display of solidarity, a fairly impressive two-month unibrow. I kind of wanted to see if he would keep it on for the entire show, but it magically disappeared within the first three minutes. The only thing more distracting than the unibrow was Jon's strangely double-striped wardrobe. Who does he think he is?... Stephen Colbert?
The word is that Jon's production company, Busboy, tried to negotiate a deal where the writers could return with the rest of the crew. Hey, it worked for David Letterman's Worldwide Pants, right? However, it didn't work. That may or may not have something to do with the fact that Comedy Central's mommy company is Viacom, which is the same company that sued YouTube for a pretty $1 billion not so long ago. I just tried to find a link to where I read about that Busboy attempt, but I couldn't find it. Maybe I just totally made that up during the stirke because I was so desperate for some Daily Show news. Well, regardless, Jon's not happy.
"Space Reserved for Clever Pun": And then we were thrown back into WGA business. When Jon dropped "Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers... or NAMBLA", I couldn't help but clap like an overexcited seal. Sorry. It's been a long time. Anyway, for anyone that hasn't been hanging on to TV Squad's every word regarding the strike (you guys, we have a separate category for it) or has had trouble following, watch Jon's explanation regarding the Internet and the related residuals. It was simple but effective. However, all those prepared graphics (including the weird ones with the amorphous blobs and the "SHUT UP" Guild Residual Formula) made me wonder if Jon was breaking any rules and was going to get yelled at, Leno-style.
In other news, I totally want to watch American Gladiators now, but I'm worried that it may brain cells faster than I can develop 'em.
Jon ended this segment by pointing out that the last time shows went off the air for an extended period of time was after the 9/11 attacks, and that absence lasted approximately one week. With the writers' strike leaving late night bare for about ten weeks, by Jon's math, that makes the writers' strike nine times worse than 9/11. Woah. I mean, I know he was joking, but it sent an awkward wave of nervous laughter through the audience. Did he just utter the new "The Beatles are bigger than Jesus"?
The night's guest was Ronald Seeber, professor of Labor Relations at Cornell University, and therefore that night's guest expert on unions. The bottom line of the interview was Seeber saying that strikes always end, but the winning side is determined by who feels the pain the most and gives in first. This part of the show that felt the most natural. Everything else was good, but couldn't help but be tinged with a bit of angry uneasiness. Plus, Jon may be a comedian, but he's not an improv comedian. The jokes were good, but the flow was weird.
Jon/Stephen: How much of this was written or pre-prepared? I'm still super confused as to whether or not Jon has remained within the confines of the WGA's okay zone. I wonder if Colbert's massive, Moses-style beard was a surprise on the other side of the throw. Moment of Zen: Writers picket outside the Daily Show studio. Way to get me totally depressed before Colbert.