Late Night: Colbert and Stewart pile on Santorum's 'snob' remarks
On most nights, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert find their own distinct ways to satirize the news. But every now and then, a public figure will say or do something so inflammatory that a pile-on is inevitable. Over the weekend, Rick Santorum provided irresistible late-night fodder when he called President Obama a “snob” for promoting post-high school education.
Both Colbert and Stewart suggested that Obama’s desire to expand access to education is anything but elitist. “Yeah, what a snob. Obama thinks everybody should go to college like he did,” Colbert sneered. “Some of us weren’t handed a ticket to Harvard by being the biracial son of a single mother on food stamps. Must be nice.”
In a segment called "How Is It That Mitt Romney Hasn't Crushed This Guy Already?" Stewart struck a similar note. “Ooh, look who’s educating his children,” he said sarcastically. “Rick, I don't know if you know this, but snobs are exclusionary in nature. Ooooh, do you know who Muffy wants to join the country club? All the Mexicans -- what a snob!"
For his part, Colbert took particular exception to Santorum’s claim that young people of faith are likely to abandon their beliefs while in college. After pointing out the fact that Santorum, a famously devout Catholic, has a bachelor’s degree, an MBA and a law degree, Colbert joked that “when he enrolled as a freshman at Penn State, he was a 14th-century monk.”
He also ridiculed the idea that post-high school vocational training -- which Obama has advocated along with traditional four-year degrees -- might lead young people astray. As evidence, Colbert introduced viewers to "Hank," a monocle-wearing repairman who had become an atheist after "two years plus evenings and weekends at DeVry." "God is dead, and baseboard heating is an abomination!” Hank proclaimed.
But Santorum wasn't the only candidate who took a beating for remarks made over the weekend. When asked Sunday if he was a NASCAR fan, Romney said, "Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans, but I have some friends who are NASCAR team owners." The comment fueled the perception that Romney is unable to connect with "Average Joe" Americans.
Colbert had some advice for the candidate: If Romney is asked whether he likes hot dogs, "He should mention that he goes yachting with Carlisle Hot Dog IV, the great-grandson of the inventor of the hot dog." On "The Daily Show," Stewart cracked a remarkably similar joke, comparing Romney to Thurston Howell III from "Gilligan's Island."
It's been said that this year's crop of Republican candidates has been a boon to late-night comedians, but sometimes they make it a little too easy.
-- Meredith Blake
Photo: Rick Santorum, left, and Stephen Colbert. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times and Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times