Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a huge fan of Jon Stewart and the Daily Show. After a long day "consuming" media online, then catching the cable news shows in the evening, I love to curl up in bed every night (or at least Monday -Thursday), to watch Stewart and his crew make a mockery of all I've seen, read and heard..
His shock, awe and sometimes utter disbelief about Washington and those who cover it, is exactly how I see it - albeit with a much funnier delivery. He's the voice of my own reason. More than a few times, I've called out to Jon (or at least the one dimensional version of him on my screen) to say 'No shit, exactly! I'm right there with you."
In some ways he reports the news just as anyone else does. Because let's face it, watching Fox and/or MSNBC has its moments of hilarity as well. But what makes him different isn't that he's funny or sharp or adorable (Jewish NY girls unite in their Jon Stewart crushes), it is that he is what he says he is - he's a comedian. He also happens to be an amazing satirist. And that is what makes him different than the "pundits" - a group he latestly seems to be thrown in with, even by Barack Obama. Stewart knows all too well the topics he covers are serious - very serious - that's clearly his interest. But he can also see the absurdity of it all, turn it around, twist it about and provide the clarity the topic deserves. It's a true gift, a rare gift. One that most don't possess. Which leads me to the Rally to Restore Sanity.
The concept probably was hatched as a punch line in response to Glenn Beck's absurd March on Washington. And that's how the rally itself felt. The three hour rally (yes I watched it all minus a few cat naps) felt pretty much like that one joke gag. It just wasn't very funny, nor very musical. But that, I could live with - it's pretty much what I expected. My biggest criticism - and disapointment - is that somehow while trying not to be political, they tried instead to be somewhat sincere - especially in his last bit, his impassioned speech. The beauty of Stewart and the Daily Shows' cast of characters - aka correspondents & the Best Fucking News Team - lies in the fact that they don't have to tell me how they feel - because through their schtick, their point of view comes through loud and clear. Stewart doesn't have to BE sincere or even try to be sincere. His satire is his sincerity.
Not everyone has the gift of comedy, of satire, of universal likeability.That he is able to embody the voice in all our heads is, well, the reason he's got a television show. And the reason I turn in four nights a week is because I believe that he fundamentally sees the world as I do, that he speaks for me. And because his slant on our 24 hour news cycle and those politicians who feed that beast is downright hilarious and spot on. I don't turn in to see him be sincere. I already believe he is.
Upon finishing watching the rally, it felt like i just saw my favorite movie star in a major flop. I wish I hadn't seen it, it's something I'd rather forget - but it's been done. So instead of looking back (now that this has been written), I'll go home tonight and turn on Stewart hoping he's back to his old self. That he's lost the sincerity and is back to just being serious.