On Thursday night, Comedy Central colleagues Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert piled on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his widely criticized plan to ban large-sized sugary drinks from the city's delis and concession stands. (If David Letterman weren't in reruns this week, no doubt he would have joined in the fun too.)
First up was "The Daily Show," where Stewart -- who is nothing if not passionate when it comes to the subject of New York food culture -- argued that unhealthy eating is an essential part of the Big Apple experience. He pointed to the futility of banning sodas over 16 ounces in a city where you can get a "14-pound" pastrami sandwich garnished with "7 pounds of beef tongue" from the Carnegie Deli. (Also problematic for Stewart: The proposed ban put him in the unpleasant situation of agreeing with conservative commentator Tucker Carlson.)
Stewart blamed another overreaching mayor for the obesity crisis: Rudy Giuliani. Back when Times Square was full of strip clubs and porn shops, rather than places like the Olive Garden or the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., New Yorkers were thinner, he claimed. "Mr. Mayor, pick your poison," he advised. "Obesity's the problem now. Fine, I think I know how to solve it. Reintroduce crack. It may be whack, but when that weight comes off, it stays off."
As is his wont, Colbert took a slightly more absurdist approach to the subject. He bemoaned Bloomberg's transformation of the city into "an organic, slow-food, nanny state," and suggested the prohibition was contrary to the American can-do spirit because "we haven't even achieved type-3 diabetes yet."
Colbert reluctantly conceded that he, like other New Yorkers, would have to make some major lifestyle changes if the ban goes into effect. First order of business: Putting "Drinky," his 6-foot-tall pet giant drink, out of his (its?) misery. The grim task wasn't easy for Colbert, who wept as he brandished a pistol and fired a single shot at the back of Drinky's head.
We all like a little sugar now and then, but who knew giving up soda could be quite so difficult?
-- Meredith Blake