During the writer's strike, I stopped watching both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Recently, I started watching both again.
I was glad to see that Colbert was still at the top of his game. His charm giving center and focus to his charmingly assholish character.
However, the Daily Show has lost most of its steam. I don't think that Stewart or his team realize that the two things that made the show are now lacking. Those two things are: 1. Fantastic correspondents, and 2. A consistent world view.
The great correspondents have mostly moved on, except Samantha Bee maybe. We're getting the Ellen Cleghornes or the Seth Meyers replacing Tina Fey version of correspondents, with exceptions including Bee, a rare Dimitri Martin or PC guy appearance.
And the point of view of the show has dried up. That point of view was generally, Look at this bullshit, look what it's hiding. Stewart's venom at the artifice of politics is his best stuff (more and more I see his humor as a Robin Williams-light like pastiche of all the comedy that has come before him). Nowadays, he seems as stifled by the news media's fetish for chewing on whatever cud you get served up. Stewart is silent on impeachment and fair-to-middlin' on the various investigations which are now unveiling the armor in this administration that he helped crack. But even worse, he hasn't been very funny doing it. The bits are too sketchy and the punchlines too tepid.
This isn't to say that he has to make fun of Bush. It just means that when he's making fun of the left he has to be funnier than Rush Limbaugh. I know Conservative framers love to make it seem like we can't handle Obama being criticized
. It's worse than that actually. I can't stand to be embarrassed by gags like the "Hummer Copter," which if Don Imus did would have him off the air again.
So last night, Stewart tells us it's OK to laugh at Obama. He told a couple of flat jokes about the pseudo Presidential seal Obama's team has been putting on the Senator's podium. He spent two minutes explaining the symbols without one decent joke. When the audience seemed pained. Stewart explained that we are allowed to laugh at Obama.
Yeah, it's OK to laugh at Obama. Stewart has spoken. But what he really means is, Please laugh at me. Unfortunately Stewart's character hasn't been the charmingly assholish one.
But the good news is that if the Daily Show is on, I can put the TV on mute and wait a little bit for Colbert to be an asshole on purpose.