Category: Jon Stewart

Late Night: Jon Stewart accuses Spike Lee of 'cyber-bullying'

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As the Trayvon Martin saga continues to unfold, Jon Stewart scolded filmmaker Spike Lee for inadvertantly releasing the hounds on an innocent Florida couple via Twitter. In case you missed the story, Lee retweeted what was purported to be the home address of Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, but which was actually the address of Elaine and David McClain, an unrelated pair of retirees. 

"Yes, sending a lynch mob to the wrong address is a bad mistake," Stewart said. "I gotta say, even if it was the right address, that’s still a bad mistake. Sending a lynch mob to anybody’s address is a bad mistake." 

He urged Lee, 55, to "leave the cyber-bullying to teenagers," and said that Lee's behavior was as "immature as stealing Sally Jesse Raphael’s glasses" –- a dig at the director's distinctive red frames. 

And while Stewart was glad to hear that Lee eventually apologized to the McClains via Twitter, he also suggested that a social networking site was perhaps not the best medium for the mea culpa. "Hold up a sign at a Knicks game, or call them. That’s what they really want. That’s all any Florida retiree really wants. Pick up the phone and call them. And then, help them move."

For the record, it sounds like Lee might have taken Stewart's advice. Let's hope so. 

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Late Night: Jon Stewart says pink slime 'too fake for McDonald's'

 

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On Wednesday night, Jon Stewart took a break from all the talk of Travyon Martin, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney to discuss something that really troubles him: "pink slime." Otherwise known as "lean, finely textured beef," the chemically processed filler that was, until a recent spate of bad press, found in 70% of the ground beef sold in the nation's supermarkets.  

For Stewart, a lifelong lover of the cheeseburger, the issue hit close to home, so he was determined to "get the whole story" before passing judgment. After all, Stewart reasoned, "any food can be disgusting if you take its ingredients out of context." Perhaps the same thing was true of pink slime burgers?

Stewart cut to an animated news report that explained the process for making pink slime: Waste trimmings are gathered, simmered at low heat to make it easier to separate fat from muscle, then put into a centrifuge, sprayed with ammonia gas to kill bacteria, compressed into bricks, flash-frozen and finally shipped to grocery stores nationwide, where it's added to ground beef. Yummy!

"That animation exactly mirrors my digestive process, right down to the pink bricks," Stewart joked. "Sure wish I could figure out a way to cut the corners off of those."

He also expressed his admiration for the beef industry's preferred nomenclature, "lean, finely textured beef." "It makes it sound like something rich beef-eaters can buy from Hammacher Schlemmer," Stewart said. "It’s the cashmere of beef."

But the host was most shocked by the fallout from the pink slime controversy: Numerous chain grocery stores and fast-food restaurants, including McDonald's, have vowed to stop using the filler.

Stewart marveled at the irony: "McDonald's doesn't think it's an appropriate thing to eat? These are the people who molded a pork disc into a rib-shaped sandwich ... that contains no ribs. Nobody knows how they did it! But this stuff, pink slime? That's too fake for McDonald's?"

Too fake – and too much bad press. 

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Late Night: Julianne Moore says ‘Game Change’ is fair to Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin and Julianne Moore
Though John McCain and Sarah Palin loyalists have preemptively voiced their disapproval of HBO's upcoming film "Game Change," based on John Heilemann's and Mark Halperin's bestselling account of the 2008 presidential campaign, actress Julianne Moore insists that she and her collaborators made every effort to be -- ahem -- fair and balanced in their portrayal of Palin.

In an appearance on "The Daily Show" Tuesday night, Moore, who plays the surprise vice presidential pick in the film, said, "We were careful to be as balanced as possible in our portrayal." She explained how director Jay Roach reached out to Palin's representatives, who declined to cooperate with the project.  

"This is less of a story about Sarah Palin than it is those 60 days between her pick and the loss," Moore said. "We're really trying to tell that story. And it really is: How do we choose our leaders? Why is it we're so drawn to magnetism, charisma, good looks, all those things that movie stars have. Do our leaders need to have those too?"

"Game Change": Five craziest scenes in HBO's Sarah Palin film

The actress acknowledged the difficulty of playing such an instantly recognizable cultural figure without lapsing into caricature. Luckily, she said, there was no shortage of research material at her disposal. YouTube was an invaluable resource, according to Moore, as was the memoir "Going Rogue," and even the TLC reality series "Sarah Palin's Alaska."

She said she also worked with a vocal coach to master Palin's peculiar, geographically mysterious accent. "Now I've been to Alaska, and they don't sound like that," observed host Jon Stewart. Agreeing, Moore put forth her own theory as to its origins. "She speaks most like her father, so it seems to be based on the Idaho accent, but then she even takes it further, so it seems to be her own particular way of speaking," she said, noting Palin's habit of emphasizing her prepositions. (Linguistics nerd alert!) 

Whatever you think of Palin or "Game Change," you have to admit: Moore has certainly done her research.



 
 
     

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Late Night: Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart go after Rush Limbaugh

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Photo: Sarah Palin, left, and "Game Change's" Julianne Moore. Credit: Stephan Savoia / Associated Press, left, and HBO.

Late Night: Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart go after Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh has dominated the news cycle since late last week, when he called Georgetown law student and birth control advocate Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" on his syndicated radio show. The insults -- extreme even by Limbaugh's standards -- have led to a widespread backlash and an exodus of sponsors from the show. 

Predictably, his words also have become fodder for Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, who took aim at the bloviating radio host on Monday night.

Calling Limbaugh "the poster boy for contraception," Colbert said he was most concerned about two things. First, that Limbaugh's statements (e.g. "Have you ever thought of not having sex so often?") suggested a tenuous grasp of the basics of contraception. 

"Yes, because that's how the pill works -- there's one for each sperm. They act like little baby deflectors," Colbert said sarcastically. "Rush knows what he's talking about, because every time he's had sex with a woman, he's had to slip her a pill first."

He also criticized Limbaugh's halfhearted apology, in which the radio host expressed remorse for using the words "slut" and "prostitute" but did not address the numerous other insults he lobbed at Fluke -- such as wondering how she procured condoms "back in junior high."

"I don't understand why this man has gone through four wives," Colbert joked. He also suggested that it's Limbaugh, not Fluke, who behaved like a prostitute. "He only apologized to keep his advertisers, proving Rush will do anything with his mouth for cash."

Over on "The Daily Show," Stewart also wondered about Limbaugh's understanding of birth control. "He seems to believe anyone using contraception is automatically having a ton of sex, and that contraception is something a woman has to pay for every time she has sex," he said.

But unlike Colbert, Stewart argued that Limbaugh wasn't worthy of so much media attention: "Personally, I don't get too worked up about the things Rush Limbaugh says because he is, and has been for many years, a terrible person."

Nevertheless, Stewart proceeded to spend the rest of the segment debunking Limbaugh's claims, while also criticizing the Republican presidential candidates and Fox News personalities who agree with Limbaugh's reasoning, if not his inflammatory word choice.

According to Stewart, they all object to the birth control mandate in the federal healthcare law simply because it means paying -- albeit very, very indirectly -- for something they don't support. "Everyone pays for [stuff] they don't want to all the time. Reimburse me for the Iraq war and oil subsidies, and guess what then? Diaphragms are on me," he said, eliciting huge applause from his audience.

So, who do you think won the night? Colbert, Stewart ... or Limbaugh?  

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Photo: Rush Limbaugh. Credit: Brian Jones / Associated Press.

Late Night: Barbara Boxer makes awkward 'Daily Show' reference

Barbara Boxer makes awkward 'Daily Show' reference During Senate debate over the Blunt amendment earlier this week, California Sen. Barbara Boxer quoted at length from a "Daily Show" segment about the proposed measure, which would have allowed any employers -- not just church institutions -- to opt out of mandated contraceptive coverage. 

In the original, very funny bit, Jon Stewart argued that the amendment would create chaos by allowing employers to object to coverage for any reason whatsoever. On Thursday's episode of "The Daily Show," Stewart played a clip of Boxer's stilted Senate-floor recap. 

"Why not just pull my heart out of my chest and eat it in front of me?" he exclaimed. The senator's awkward riff inspired a joke DVD compilation called "Barbara Boxer Meanders Through Episodes of The Daily Show Like One of Your Mom's Friends." 

As Stewart explained, the boxed set includes "all your 'Daily Show' favorites. It's got 'I Can't Believe Fox News Did That.' 'John Kerry Speaks Very Slowly.' 'Dismayed Look.' 'Bemused Look.' 'But John Oliver, That's Absurd,' and of course, 'Newt Gingrich Gets Married a Lot.' "

Correspondent Samantha Bee provided the "voice" of Barbara Boxer, who awkwardly (and at great length) recapped some of Stewart's greatest moments, including his much-beloved attack on Donald Trump for eating pizza with a fork. "So, Donald Trump consumes the doughy wheel of sausage cheese, only -- get this -- he uses a utensil rather than just his hands. Well, Jon is not letting him get away with that. He then proceeds to display the proper method for ingesting the savory New York staple using an Italian accent," Bee-as-Boxer explained. 

We'd love to see how Boxer retells this one. 

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-- Meredith Blake 
twitter.com/MeredithBlake

Photo:  Barbara Boxer at a news conference Feb. 29, 2012. Credit: Michael Reynolds / EPA

Late Night: Lewis Black slams media coverage of Whitney's death

Lewisblack
On Wednesday night, "Daily Show" contributor Lewis Black unleashed an angry tirade against the sensationalistic coverage of Whitney Houston's untimely death. "As with past celebrity deaths, the media observed her passing in the tradition of the Native Americans -- by using every part of the tragedy," he observed. "For instance, did you know with very little skill you can turn a song catalog into hours of terrible segues?”

As evidence, Black presented a montage of news anchors making awkward references to Houston's work. (Sample: "Chances are we wouldn't have to be remembering her soundtrack from 'The Bodyguard,' if only she'd guarded her own body better.")

"Can we cool it with the wordplay?" he asked, getting more and more agitated. "When Cronkite announced the death of JFK, it wasn’t with a clever ‘Ask not, who got shot in Dallas today!'"

Black directed his harshest attack at "CNN's resident hearse-chaser" Nancy Grace, who has repeatedly suggested that Houston might be a victim of foul play, despite considerable evidence to the contrary.  “Of course! She was pushed underwater!" Black replied sarcastically. "It’s the only possible explanation for someone dying after years of drug addiction!"

He even compared Grace unfavorably to bodies at the medical examiner's office: "I've been to a morgue. You know what's nice about it? In a morgue everyone who's had their brains removed, keeps their mouths shut."

Black also ripped Fox News personality Eric Bolling, who urged Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters to "step away from the crack pipe" after she expressed interest in leading the House Committee on Financial Services. “Well, there you have it!" he said. "A beloved pop icon’s death used to criticize the Democrats’ choice for the banking committee!”

Black suggested that Bolling could do more to politicize Houston's death: "Why stop there? Whitney probably wouldn't have had all those prescription drugs if not for Obamacare." 

 

 

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Photo: Lewis Black. Credit: Paul Hawthorne / Getty Images.

Late Night: Jon Stewart mocks congressional birth control hearings

The culture wars are alive and well on late-night television.

Last week, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, and Stephen Colbert memorably lampooned the Catholic Church's objection to government-mandated contraceptive health benefits. On Monday night, the trend continued with a "Daily Show" segment mocking Rep. Darrell Issa's male-dominated congressional hearing on the controversial subject.

Stewart pointed out the unfortunate optics of the hearing, which featured one entirely male panel of conservative clergy members, and not a single pro-birth-control female. "While no ladies actually ever spoke on behalf of ladies, some of these fellas were wearing gowns, so that's something," he said.

The "hyperbolic" panelists did little to quell Stewart's concerns: Republican Rep. Tim Walberg invoked Stalin, while Dr. C. Ben Mitchell of Union University claimed that the mandate was equivalent to "nothing less than the rape of the soul." 

On a bit of a tangent, Stewart also questioned the Catholic Church's support of health insurance plans that cover Viagra: "How is it that women can't get their pill and men can get their pill?" In footage from a 2000 interview, a spokesperson for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops explained that “Viagra actually answers a medical problem. ... Contraception is a choice that somebody will make, but it doesn't answer a particular healthcare need.”

Stewart was not convinced by the distinction. "So the Catholic Church says a[n erection] is a need, but not getting pregnant is more of a want?"

Returning to the subject of last Thursday's hearing, Stewart also took issue with an analogy drawn by Bishop William E. Lori, who likened the birth control mandate to a kosher deli forced to serve ham sandwiches.

After taking a bite from an enormous pastrami sandwich, Stewart took issue with the bishop's testimony. "Your parable about the kosher deli, while delicious, makes no ... sense," he said. "Nobody's forcing the kosher deli owner to serve a ham. In the metaphor, it's more like the owner of the kosher deli is refusing to pay taxes because his money could go to food stamps, which someone could theoretically use to buy ham."

No word on who's paying for the mustard.

(Warning: The clip below includes some late-night language.)

 

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Late Night: 'Daily Show' pushes back against Jeremy Lin mania

At the moment, Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin may be the most popular man in all of New York City, but the Harvard alum already has a few detractors. Chief among them is Larry Wilmore, "senior black correspondent" on 'The Daily Show."

On Thursday, Wilmore feigned outrage at the Taiwanese American player for his superior basketball abilities. "How can it be that in the middle of Black History Month, an Asian kid comes in and does this?" he wondered. 

Jon Stewart asked Wilmore to clarify his position: "You're upset that an Asian person is excelling at a traditionally African American sport?"

Indeed, he was. "I'm not the only one who's not happy," Wilmore claimed. As evidence, he pointed to Knicks player Carmelo Anthony sitting on the bench in street clothes. "He can't even bring himself to put on his uniform."

Stewart reminded Wilmore that Anthony is actually recovering from an injury, but Wilmore would hear none of it. "I'd be hurt too. Have your job outsourced to Asia right in your face."

He suggested that Lin's basketball career was merely an attempt to win back the love of his "Tiger Mom" after earning a disappointing 3.1 GPA at Harvard -- otherwise known as an "Asian F."

Wilmore claimed that basketball is just another thing -- like jazz, rock 'n' roll, and Ebonics -- that other groups have "taken" from black people.

"Nothing is being taken, Larry," Stewart insisted. 

"Oh, really?" Wilmore asked, cutting to a clip of Lin telling reporters, "I feel like I'm in a dream."

"You have a dream?" he said with mock disgust."Knickerbocker, please. Slow down, Martin Luther Kung Pao!"

In the end, Wilmore reluctantly concluded that Lin's rise might just be revenge for Neil deGrasse Tyson, the black astrophysicist (and frequent "Daily Show" guest).

"What was he thinking? Science? That's Asians' turf."

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Jon Stewart accidentally makes things awkward for Letterman

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— Meredith Blake 

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Jon Stewart accidentally makes things awkward on Letterman [Video]

Jon Stewart

"Daily Show" host Jon Stewart has plenty of experience working his way through awkward moments with guests on his own show, but he inadvertently created one himself while appearing as a guest on "Late Show With David Letterman" on Wednesday.

While joking around about Mitt Romney, Letterman suggested the GOP presidential hopeful looked like the guy pictured on underwear packages.

Jumping on the comment, Stewart began riffing on Letterman and underwear. "Do you even have to wear underpants? I would think at this stage of your career, you have people who could just sit there and hug your groin for you."

Stewart continued with the joke as Letterman grew visibly uncomfortable, finally interrupting with, "Jon, I had a little trouble along those lines."

Letterman was referring to his 2009 sex scandal, in which he admitted on the air that he had conducted affairs with women who had worked on his staff. The affairs came to light when the boyfriend of one of his staffers attempted to extort money from Letterman.

The boyfriend, Robert J. "Joe" Halderman, a producer for the CBS series "48 Hours," pleaded guilty to the charge of attempted grand larceny in 2010 and served a six-month jail sentence followed by probation and community service.

When alerted that he was on sensitive ground, Stewart attempted to explain himself: "Can I tell you something terrible? I'm halfway through that bit and all of a sudden I realize ... what am I doing?"

Letterman responded, "You don't owe me an apology. Everything's fine."

Letterman then gave Stewart a pencil as a gift and swiftly ended the segment.

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Photo: Jon Stewart on "Late Show With David Letterman." Credit: CBS

Late Night: Jon Stewart rips Catholic church over birth control

JonstewartStoryMonday night on "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart weighed in on the ongoing standoff between President Obama and the Catholic church over mandated birth control coverage. After a week off the air, Stewart was clearly gunning for a fight.

As he explained, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops objected to a measure that would have required Catholic charities, hospitals, and universities -- though not actual churches -- to adopt insurance plans that provide free contraceptive care.

Stewart went right for the jugular. "We are men of God! That money must not be used for contraception," he said, impersonating the bishops. "That money has been set aside for out-of-court altar boy settlements and of course some priest relocation."

Stewart also suggested that the controversy was being stoked by the "old dudes" who run the church, rather than Catholic lay people.

These same "old dudes" -- and their conservative allies -- also object to the compromise Obama announced on Friday, which would allow religious groups to opt out of the mandate and require insurers to provide birth control directly to consumers. 

"This is simply someone trying to impose their values on somebody else with the arm of the government," presidential candidate Rick Santorum said in a clip from the Conservative Political Action Conference gathering held in Washington over the weekend.

In yet another clip from the campaign trail, the staunch Catholic explained why he believes our legal system ought to have Biblical origins."When God gives us rights, he doesn’t say 'Here are your rights, do whatever you want to do with them.' In fact he has laws that we must abide by," he said.

Stewart suggested it was Santorum who was trying to impose his belief on others, not President Obama: "In the American system of government, you’re saying we should all be free to live by Christian law. "

In the latest development, now some Republican legislators are trying to extend the exemption to any employer opposed to birth control, not just the Catholic church. Stewart warned this would create "chaos" in the healthcare system, allowing employers to object to any kind of coverage for any reason whatsoever.

To demonstrate his point, Stewart invited Elliott, a "sick" member of his writing staff, to join him on stage. "I’m an employer and I personally believe in the healing power of comedy," Stewart said, dousing his employee with seltzer.

"Why can’t you give me Zithromax?" Elliott wondered. 

Stewart's response? "I don't believe in Zithromax."

 

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— Meredith Blake

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Photo: Jon Stewart. Credit: Frank Ockenfels / Comedy Central.

 

Late Night: Jon Stewart tries, fails to dislike Brad Pitt

Bradpittjonstewartstory
Wednesday on the "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart discovered something most of us have known for a while now: It's virtually impossible to dislike Brad Pitt.

Pitt and Stewart discussed the actor's Oscar-nominated role in "Moneyball," as well as the work his charitable foundation, Make It Right, has done building sustainable housing in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward. 

"We came in with a lot of friends to help the families that did want to return to their homes," Pitt explained. "In the process we discovered gross inadequacies in low-income buildings -- toxic materials, crappy appliances -- that was actually keeping families in the poverty trap. We were trying to build sustainable homes that would treat the families with more dignity, and get 'em down to a compatible price to a sub-standard home."

Pitt also announced plans to take the organization nationwide, starting with a new project for veterans in Newark. 

"How many of these can you build?" Stewart wondered.

"There's no end," Pitt said.

Stewart was won over by the actor's optimism. "I wish when you came on I was like, 'Wow that guy's condescending,' but the whole time I'm just like --"  he said, gazing dreamily at Pitt. 

Welcome to the club, Jon. 

 

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Photos: Brad Pitt, left, and Jon Stewart. Credit: Scott Gries / Getty Images, left, and Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

Late Night: Jon Stewart thinks Mitt Romney should pay more taxes

On Tuesday, in an attempt to silence a growing chorus of critics, Mitt Romney released his 2010 tax return and an estimate of taxes to be paid for 2011. The paperwork revealed that Romney had made $43 million over the past two years, while paying out over $6 million in taxes.

That might sound like a lot, but as Jon Stewart pointed out on "The Daily Show," it amounts to an effective tax rate of less than 14%. "The most amazing part," according to Stewart, is that Romney makes nearly $57,000 a day without, technically speaking, actually having a job. 

"How in the world, Mitt Romney, do you justify making more in one day than the median American family makes in a year, while paying an effective tax rate of the guy who has to scan your shoes at the airport?" Stewart wondered. 

He played a clip from a recent Republican debate, in which Romney curtly explained that "I pay all the taxes that are legally required, and not a dollar more." 

The answer wasn't quite good enough for Stewart, who suggested that Romney isn't merely abiding by the country's tax laws -- he's also helped make them. Stewart pointed to a bipartisan bill, proposed in Congress in 2007, that would have raised the tax rate for private-equity investors like Romney to 35%. Stewart argued that, despite support from some Republicans, the bill was killed by a lobbying group comprised of the nation's largest private-equity firms "including -- surprise, surprise -- Mitt Romney's Bain Capital." 

Romney himself spoke out against the proposed increase. "I don’t think it’s a good idea to raise taxes," he told CNBC's Lawrence Kudlow in 2007.

"Yeah, 'cause they're your taxes," Stewart said. 

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— Meredith Blake 
twitter.com/MeredithBlake

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