Tuesday, January 8, 2008

He's back!

I watched The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Monday night. (Or as it will be known until the writers strike is settled, A Daily Show).

Stewart was his usual funny self, joking about growing a solidarity unibrow to compete with the other hirsute late-night hosts. He seemed perfectly at ease, even without his writers. (I don't know exactly how this works. Does that mean everything he said was just improvised on the spot?)

In fact, it seemed pretty much like any other episode of The Daily Show. If you showed me two episodes and told me one had writers and the other didn't, I doubt I would have been able to tell you which one was which.

Stewart said the toughest part of being off the air was not covering the presidential campaign. He made a few jokes about Iowa and New Hampshire. "Cold white people have had their say in Iowa. Tomorrow is New Hampshire, where colder white people will have their say." There was an extended segement where he riffed about the issues in the strike. It was funny, but it went on a little too long, and made me wonder what he's going to talk about tonight.

His guest was Ron Seeber, a professor of labor relations at Cornell University, who admitted that he had gotten some criticism for agreeing to appear on the show while the writers were on strike.

Stewart asked him about the Writers Guild making separate deals with certain talk-show hosts. He asked a clearly startled Seeber whether he thought anti-Semitism was involved. "The whole reason I got into this business is because I thought we controlled it."

On Friday, HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher returns. But according to this story in the Hollywood Reporter, Maher won't be delivering a monologue or offering his New Rules. Instead, drawing on his background doing standup comedy, he'll go into the crowd and talk with audience members for his opening segment. Maher will have his regular roundtable discussion with guests and satellite interviews.


Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, I love Jon Stewart and certainly watched last night. But I wondered how anybody can give him, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno or others a pass in crossing an active picket line in the midst of a strike.

While Stewart talked a good game of solidarity with his writers, the fact is he literally crossed a line that doesn't square with his words.

Esther said...

True, he did seem to try and have it both ways - expressing solidarity yet resuming the show. I don't know what kind of separate contractual arrangement people like Jay Leno, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart operate under. They may have had the choice of going back or risk being sued. I'm just not sure.

I thought Stephen Colbert was pretty funny, too, btw.