My Favourite Type of DAILY SHOW Routine


It’s the type of routine where Jon Stewart is not the straight man. Usually Stewart feeds straight lines to the “correspondents” and reacts to their replies, and that’s fine; he represents us, the normal person trying to hold onto real-world logic while under bombardment from news-media inanity. But every once in a while, as in last night’s piracy routine with John Oliver, the writers will reverse it: they’ll make the correspondent the straight man, trying to do a serious report on an important issue, and Stewart will be the guy who’s focused on trivialities.

Not only is that kind of routine welcome as a change of pace, but it also parodies a very typical TV news dynamic, where the little-known but serious reporter will do a back-and-forth with the famous airhead anchor. In last night’s routine, Jon represented the vacuous celebrity anchor who only cares about soundbites, and John played the serious journalist, humiliated at having to fit his report into this stupid format. It’s funny because it’s real; every TV news anchor has incorporated some stupid pirate jokes into their coverage of this story.

It seems like when they do this kind of routine, it usually involves John Oliver. He’s so good at playing the self-hating reporter that it almost seems like a waste when he plays the more typical role of the arrogant reporter giving stupid answers to Jon’s questions. Which means that, unusually, he’s actually funnier when he’s cast as the straight man (because as the straight man, he gets to do the slow-burn anger at taking orders from Jon).


My Favourite Type of DAILY SHOW Routine

  1. Favorite line:
    “John, people are dying over here!”

    “They arrr?”

  2. The Daily Show is relatively cheap to produce, as television programs go. So how come there’s no Canadian equivalent?

  3. John was always more the straight man when doing stand-up. Not rigid though. Maybe straight with a slight lean.

  4. “So how come there’s no Canadian equivalent?”

    There are two.

    Rick Mercer, once a week, for 22 weeks.

    And Question Period, five times a week, for 30+ weeks.

    Plus Canadian politics doesn’t have colorful people.

  5. Rick Mercer is no Jon Stewart. And half of what Stewart does is lampoon journalists and the media.

  6. Because Canadian comedy is lazy?

    Plus, generation after generation of Royal Canadian Air Farces and This Hour Has 22 Minutes..es, no matter how unfunny they may be, have ingrained in too many people the idea that politicians shouldn’t be held to a higher standard, whereas a lot of the humour in The Daily Show is based on the belief that they should be/outrage at the fact that they don’t live up to it.

  7. “Rick Mercer is no Jon Stewart.”

    Sure. Mercer is funny. Stewart is the worst thing about his show.

  8. Matthew

    I think you’re on to something, but I’d put it differently.

    It takes guts to do what Jon Stewart does.

    And it would take a broadcaster who wants to produce Canadian programs–as opposed to import US content. And who would have the guts to let a Canadian go after our politicians and media in the way that Stewart does.

  9. RDC can do it — for Quebec provincial politicians, on whom its funding doesn’t depend.

  10. No, the Daily Show audience is the worst part of his show.

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