I always personally liked Jon Stewart, even though we don’t agree on much politically. Whenever I was a guest on “The Daily Show,” I thought he treated me fairly, and we had a good time jousting and joking with each other. Of course, that was back in the days when liberal hosts could have friendly debates with conservatives without the woke Twitter mobs branding them as heretics.
Still, it’s hard to argue with Matt Purple at the Spectator when he makes the case that Jon Stewart “killed comedy.”
In his defense, I don’t think Jon meant to kill comedy. It was really more a result of too many people imitating him (badly), and audiences becoming too hyper-partisan to be able to laugh at anything other than vicious attacks on the “others” (i.e., Trump Derangement Syndrome.) Jon may have set the template, but EVERY late night comic on TV didn’t have to try to squeeze into it and then stretch it until they broke it.
Late night comedy used to mean Johnny Carson or Jay Leno poking fun at the foibles of both parties and giving all Americans something to laugh at together. Now it means someone sitting behind a desk like a pretend news anchor and lecturing us with DNC talking points, occasionally interrupted by a goofy metaphor, swear word or out-of-context video clip to remind us that it’s supposed to be “comedy.” You can tell where the “jokes” are (“joke” being redefined as “some political point I agree with”) because the studio audience cheers and claps instead of actually laughing.
Marketing experts explain that they do this because the viewing audience is so splintered that they don’t believe it’s possible to reach a mass audience anymore, so they’re pandering to the small leftwing slice they still have left in a desperate attempt to hang onto them. They don’t think conservatives or independents would watch a late night show anymore. Maybe they should try doing one that didn’t insult us constantly and find out. Greg Gutfeld seems to be doing all right with that strategy.