Late Night: Jon Stewart on media response to 'Kony 2012' video
"Kony 2012," a slickly produced 30-minute documentary urging action against the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, became an unexpected viral sensation last week, despite its evident lack of piano-playing cats or giggling babies. On Monday's episode of "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart examined the video's unprecedented success -- and the backlash it has sparked.
Citing the 70 million-plus views the video has racked up in barely a week, Stewart joked, "I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney saw those numbers and did a quick 'John Carter' re-edit."
He also suggested that media personalities like Anderson Cooper are "annoyed" by the video, not for its various factual inaccuracies or its emphasis on the nebulous goal of "raising awareness," but because their own attempts to get Americans to pay attention to Joseph Kony have failed. Stewart mocked their dismay: "We’re handsome. We’re on TV. Why won’t Rihanna retweet our Kony stories?"
Though Stewart reserved most of his ridicule for the news media, he also acknowledged that "Kony 2012" is "not without some weirdness." He singled out a much-discussed scene from the documentary, in which the film's director, Jason Russell, explains to his mop-topped 5-year-old son how Kony "takes children from their parents" and "makes them shoot and kill other people."
Stewart steered viewers to a supposed "Time-Life collection" of Russell's work called "Family Tragedies, Horrible History and Mysteries of Human Illness, as Explained to a Small Child." He joked that the box set includes classics like "People You Love Can Die Unexpectedly and For No Good Reason" and "Sometimes When You’re at the Beach, a Giant Wave Can Sweep Everybody Away."
Sounds like a blockbuster in the making.
-- Meredith Blake
Photo: Jon Stewart. Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.