February 1, 2017

Jon Stewart does an anti-Trump turn on Stephen Colbert's "Late Show" that is so bad...



... that when I said that might push people toward Trump, Meade said — quite seriously — that he believed they were secretly pro-Trump.

I really don't know how "The Late Show" can have become this bad. Stewart's reliance on yelling, laughing faux-helplessly at his own jokes, and saying the words "bullshit" and "fucking" seemed really pathetic, and I think both men knew the material was awful.

And I don't know why a network show that needs ratings would offer comedy that automatically writes off half of its potential audience. What's worse is that even for the people they are trying to reach — the Trump haters — it is bad comedy. Yelling, dirty words, desperation... that's what you resort to when there are no real jokes to deliver.

And the late-night tradition used to take into account that the viewers were getting ready to go to sleep. There was a certain sweetness, a niceness. At one point Stewart does a little bit that references Johnny Carson — he holds a paper up to his forehead Carnac-style — and it just made me sad at the loss of Johnny. I longed for a make-late-night-great-again champion. I'd thought that's what Stephen Colbert was going to be.

And what was Jon Stewart doing with a dead animal on his head? I know it was a comic impression of Trump's hair, but Stewart's post-Daily-Show way of life has been a big animal-rescue facility, a sanctuary premised on an utterly unironic love for animals.

84 comments:

mockturtle said...

I do miss Johnny. OTOH, I go to bed too early for the Late Show, anyway.

Rusty said...

Althouse. That is where the Trump haters get their news.

Achilles said...

They know they have already lost. They know they were the palace guard for the Oligarchs and they know we know. They have nothing left that is defensible. The overton window has been shattered. The left is dead.

We are never going back to the way it was before.

David said...

Watched it. Stewart knows it's bombing and tries to joke about it. He knows Colbert is bombing and he's really not sympathetic for Colbert, that loser.

rhhardin said...

And I don't know why a network show that needs ratings would offer comedy that automatically writes off half of its potential audience.

It's business. There's no market for Carson. So you go for the audience you can get, the idiot leftists, which often means the young. If there's enough of them, you stay in business.

The same as the MSM news and soap opera women. They're reliable and a big enough group to pay the bills.

AprilApple said...

The sound of irrelevance.

Darrell said...

Jon Stewart, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee should hit each other in the head with pick hammers.
They would at least go out being funny for a change.

Ken B said...

Rusty nails it.

mockturtle said...

Rusty nails it.

Rusty nails. Got it!

Juvenal said...

We've jumped into a different era. Watching Jon Stewart's' schtick today is like watching Laurel and Hardy or Charlie Chaplin.

Matthew Sablan said...

"And I don't know why a network show that needs ratings would offer comedy that automatically writes off half of its potential audience."

-- They wrote off that audience when they brought on Colbert. They never expected to have them, so this was just more of the same.

harkin said...

Stewart has always been this way. Find his mea culpa for calling Harry Truman a war criminal. He doesn't discuss facts or offer honest reflection but just withdraws into a curious version of Jerry Lewis-style noises.

View Bill Whittle's response to Stewart's Hiroshima idiocy if you want to see how an adult makes his case.

https://youtu.be/ylMbvf3sn_g

Laslo Spatula said...

rhhardin said...
"...It's business. There's no market for Carson."

I disagree. The biggest of the bunch of late was Jay Leno, the closest to Carson in the "middle-of-the-road" hosting.

Old but with a reliable audience.

NBC wanted to go younger. Curious if the younger buy as much of the advertisers' wares as Leno's older crowd.

Of course, I am always ready to step in when a network needs a change.

I am Laslo.





donald said...

No Darrell nailed it.

Ann, what about Stephen Colbert made you think he would be any that my less than what he is?

eric said...

Johnny Carson and Jay Leno were it.

The end.

Or maybe I just grew up.

buwaya said...

They do as they are told, as they must, even if their hearts aren't in it.

ridi, pagliaccio

glenn said...

Trump let the media guys reveal themselves to be the shallow ignoramuses they have been all along. They will nev r forgive him for that.

buwaya said...

"Curious if the younger buy as much of the advertisers' wares as Leno's older crowd"

Depends on the wares, but its a dead cert that the consumer market is very disproportionately young and female overall.
This explains a lot.

robother said...

The Trump-supporters were written off long ago. This has to be seen as barely concealed contempt for their own audience, showing how they will laugh at and applaud even the lamest anti-Trump humor. Has Colbert been given the axe?

James Kahn said...

"...It's business. There's no market for Carson."

IMO, if they had wanted a broader audience, rather than make tax-deductible political contributions with its TV business, they could have hired Craig Ferguson. He was funnier than Colbert, Fallon, and Conan combined, and amazingly I have no clue what his politics are. But he's evidently unemployed.

n.n said...

buwaya:

I noticed that with alt-social messaging starting around the 70s, most notably an effort to normalize transgender/homosexual behavior. They returned to their normally scheduled programming after paying their "dues".

Something similar happened with The Andy Griffith show where it typecast the lead male character as a moron, an imbecile, an incompetent jester playing at the pleasure of female chauvinists. That changed, after Andy Griffith payed his "dues".

I wonder why and to whom Stewart is paying his "dues".

buwaya said...

No idea n.n.
Previous to this it seems from the 70's-2000's TV was mainly playing to women for advertisers sake.
Men may make the money but women spend it.
Gays, who knows how they fit in. Mainly in selling to women I suppose.

TML said...

Made it to 4:10 and that was a Herculean effort. Terrible.



Big Mike said...

Jay Leno was funny. Letterman was funny only to the coastal elites and their brainwashed brethren. Since those two retired the latest collection of hosts merely makes me want to go to bed early.

rehajm said...

I'm comforted by the fact that most of these shows tank. Here's a company, okay, a television network. We're gonna make a piece of entertainment, we're gonna bring it to your living room, give it to you for free and the public says, 'We don't want it.'

Patrick said...

These guys are on Trump's payroll. The can be no other explanation.

Patrick said...

I do have a vague recollection of a time when comics could joke about more than just politics.

Yancey Ward said...

I think Colbert will be replaced when his contract is up, but probably with another Leftist host. CBS was caught in a bind after Letterman had allowed himself to increasingly be identified as being hard-core Democrat- any replacement had to hold Letterman's remaining audience as a first priority and that is why I think CBS went with Colbert, but with the plan that he would "drop" the faux-O'Reilly character. So, yes, they were writing off half the potential audience right from the start, but I think the problem is that Colbert just isn't that funny outside that one character, and maybe it was a mistake to give that up at all.

Jay Leno is the one late night host that managed to have appeal across the political divide, and it why he was consistently ahead in the ratings. I think NBC has to some extent tried to replicate that with Fallon, but time will tell whether or not Fallon withstand the peer pressure the way Leno did.

PB said...

Just think, Carson's show has been over for 25 years.

Millenials were never exposed to Carson in a meaningful way. YouTube doesn't count. The nightly presence, humor and grace. Who cares if he was a fairly unpleasant guy in real life?

Kansas City said...

Not funny but interesting to watch. They did realize it was bombing even with their audience primed to laugh at left wing Trump bashing. Colbert sort of bailed and let Stewart flounder. Stewart seemed to just want to get to the end and go home. Two talented guys who were lost with bad material.

Colbert presumably is dead man walking. I assume they realize the only realistic additional audience is on the left.

Bay Area Guy said...

Never caught the appeal of Stewart or Colbert. Just boring and unfunny. But, likely I'm the wrong demographic.

Che Dolf said...

Achilles said... The overton window has been shattered.

The Overton window has moved slightly right. "Shattered" would mean that cannibalism and slavery are open for debate.

In the 1960s, even a lefty like Ted Kennedy expressed the view that it would be undesirable to alter America's 85% white demographics through immigration. On most mainstream "conservative" sites today, if you say you'd prefer 1965's demographics to the current arrangement, you're a "Nazi."

Ted Kennedy circa 1965 is a "Nazi."

We've moved so far left so quickly that just slowing progressivism feels like a conservative revolution.

Gusty Winds said...

When it comes to Colbert, or Saturday Night Live, its really a non sophisticated audience pretending to be sophisticated. Everyone has to laugh. It's the John Stewart and Colbert reunion ripping on Trump. It's one massive group think.

The worst are the live audiences at Bill Mahar's show. Even he knows it, and you can tell is sometimes embarrassed by it.

The Baldwin/Trump bit on SNL is nowhere near as funny as Chevy Chase/Ford, or Dan Akroyd/Carter, Phil Hartman/Clinton. Real vitriol isn't funny.

I don't know if I agree with Meade. They don't secretly like Trump. They are blinded by their hatred and their bloated sense of public worth. That's what happens when you turn to the dark side.

Gusty Winds said...

Scott Adams claims the best internet / meme humor is on the Trump side of the aisle. He's right.

Rick said...

I really don't know how "The Late Show" can have become this bad.

I challenge the "become", it was always this bad.

Geoff Matthews said...

Remember when Dana Carvey did his impression of G.H.W. Bush, and Bush invited him to the White House?
Good times.

William Chadwick said...

The "liberal" Hive's Agitprop Division: the REAL hardest-working people in show business. They never rest.

wildswan said...

There are two Overton windows and if you appear in one you are defenestrated from the other. So these days comedians are clutching at the edge of a window while stark terror on their faces registers the presence of a remorseless force pushing from behind. (Get the numbers up but DO NOT appeal to half the country, rather insult them - and be damn sure you get the numbers up while you push the numbers down.) But that terror, from a distance, looks like a smile, a laugh and the left laughs with them. Then - Out.

Wilbur said...

Could it be that advertisers will pay more for a small slice of a youthful, hip, moneyed audience than for a much larger older audience? That you can more reliably get the "right" demographic by offering almost any grade of comedy sprinkled liberally with leftist memes? Same thing with the sitcoms, too.

Forty years ago the leftists loved to say "follow the money" - it was true then and is today. When you're selling ad time, you supply what the ad buyers want. The entertainment is just the means to supply the audience.

Kent Wood said...

These whippersnappers have none of that old school know-how of How To Bomb Successfully.

Sebastian said...

"it just made me sad at the loss of Johnny. I longed for a make-late-night-great-again champion. I'd thought that's what Stephen Colbert was going to be." Your longing is misdirected. Colbert is just another fool -- and I don't mean that in the positive medieval sense. It can't be any other way: in the MSM, the left has won the culture war. Of course, they don't have a conscience, and they're all in for the cause all the time. But Stewart at least has enough brains to know that the continual battle is boring.

Larry J said...

rhhardin said...
And I don't know why a network show that needs ratings would offer comedy that automatically writes off half of its potential audience.


It's possible they're playing to their known audience, which is probably mostly people who don't have to get up and go to work the next morning.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The far left fringe is pro-Trump in that they see him as a shortcut back to power that they never never understood they didn't really have because President Obama was too cool to give it them.

rehajm said...

Could it be that advertisers will pay more for a small slice of a youthful, hip, moneyed audience than for a much larger older audience?

Used to be the 18-49 demographic was considered the most desirable. Logic: Baby Boomers. More purchasing power. Household formation, so buying more things. Key: younger people are more susceptible to influence from advertising.

Now some of the networks are skewing older, claiming 25-54 is the new 18-49. You boomers are still out of luck though.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Jon Stewart's show was a somehow a turning point in the fragmentation of media outlets. He was enraged at Bush Jr., partly I guess because of a Republican son of privilege getting the job because it ran in the family, but he got a lot of humour out of the President's malapropisms, poor logic, etc. I still think his send-up of Glenn Beck--the glasses, the books, the helpless crying at the tragedy of it all--was pretty funny. Now I guess we're supposed to think they're so righteously indignant, they can't be expected to think coherently much less do or say something funny. Stewart wearing a pussy hat; that might be funny. Does he have any frat boy experiences with women to share with his audience?
You've inspired me to look at an old Carson monologue. Academy Award nominations in 1982, for 1981 films. "My favourite picture wasn't actually nominated: Tarzan the Ape Man, starring Bo Derek. [A bit of a laugh]. Actually John Derek should get an Oscar for keeping a straight face while he charges $5.00 to get in to that picture." [Big laugh] Then there'a joke about a movie supposedly produced by Fred de Cordova, producer of the Tonight show, years earlier: "Ma and Pa Kettle get a visit from the public health department." Today that might be a joke about Trump voters.

mccullough said...

Trump is funnier than Stewart and Colbert.

Chris Lopes said...

Of course Colbert is a dead man walking. He's being beaten out by the guy who used to be Ben Stein's sidekick.

wendybar said...

Neither one is funny...How did they stay on TV this long?? Oh yeah, bashing Republicans....

Tank said...

Zero was also funnier than Stewart and Colbert.

damikesc said...

Jay Leno was funny. Letterman was funny only to the coastal elites and their brainwashed brethren. Since those two retired the latest collection of hosts merely makes me want to go to bed early.

Indeed. The myth of Letterman being funny had amazing staying power.

eddie willers said...

Remember when Dana Carvey did his impression of G.H.W. Bush, and Bush invited him to the White House?

I guess it WAS prudent.

Kansas City said...

I think Stewart was very funny until he got too full of himself. I saw a video of him doing standup as a young guy. It was very interesting. He was good, but not as good as he became later. He has now peaked and we should not expect much more from him on humor. He probably would agree with that.

I also think Colbert has talent. He is not good enough to carry a show, but he can be very funny.

The Godfather said...

When I was young, I LOVED the Johnny Carson Show. Truth be told, when I was REALLY young I loved the Jack Paar Show.

But I'm not young anymore (cue Maurice Chevalier song), and I don't stay up for late night TV anymore. The only reason I know who these a**holes are that most of these comments are about is because bloggers like Althouse occasionaly post youtubes of their routines. I don't know what the really desirable demographic is these days; it's surely not us "senior citizens", a/k/a "old farts", because although the statistics show that we're wealthy, it's wealth we have to preserve to live on for the rest of our lives, so we're not a great market for the sale of whatever the marketers want to sell. The best market is probably the young folks who have more money than sense, as we old farts say.

So meaningless as my opinion is, I think these trendy comedians, even at their best, are unfunny and boring.

Ken B said...

I think it's Althouse that has changed, because this seems like the Stewart I remember. True, he's been better, but still basically the same schtick. When I was a child I watched Rochester on Jack Benny. I laughed. It's cringe inducing now. And for pretty much the same reason: it's all pandering to prejudices, and that isn't funny when you no longer share them.

Jim at said...

Who in the hell actually watches this shit?

Martin said...

Question for our Blogress--What on Earth did you see that made you think Colbert would even attempt to appeal beyond the left half of the political spectrum?

Stewart's Daily Show had some wit and style, even (maybe especially) when I disagree with his political point.

Colbert was always just a nasty, humorless little sh*t. And CBS hiring him to do a national mainstream show was just giving the middle finger to half the country. We all got that on the day it was announced.

jacksonjay said...

As I recall, NBC tried really hard to get the King of Fake News to take the Meet the Press job. How appropriate.

Mark O said...

That Carnac was the pinnacle of that bit. I remember it well.
Jack Parr was too urbane for the younger me.
I loved Steve Allen.

Seeing Red said...

Rochester was smarter than Jack and Eddie Anderson was a smart and very wealthy man. He was one of the highest-paid African-American actors. Very involved in raising and training race horses.

But I only listen to Jack Benny's radio show.

DavidD said...

"Make late night great again."

"That's funny right there; I don't care who you are."

William said...

I watched the link Althouse supplied. It had a poignant, Beckett feel to it. Waiting for Guffaws. A comic trapped in a futile monologue tries to escape by a making a connection with the other comedian. Instead of a connection they both become lost in a maze of bad jokes leading nowhere. They try to escape the mutual loathing and self loathing by projecting the loathing onto Trump. The elevation of their target just makes them seem more debased and petty, and ends up magnifying their self loathing. They can't go in, but they keep going on in search of that validating guffaw that lies just one more joke away.

Seeing Red said...

SNL "The Pepsi Syndrome."

Lyin'PB_Ombudsman said...

"Althouse. That is where the Trump haters get their news."

WTF, I thought that folks came here for DJT cheering, not hatred.

Anywho, Carry on.






Robert Cook said...

Stewart had become sanctimonious and terrible in the latter days of THE DAILY SHOW. It's fine to hate Trump--what sensible person doesn't?--but if one is trying to make comedy about it, it still must be funny, and deft, and sharp, and fresh. Pandering to Trump haters is simply hacking.

Lyin'PB_Ombudsman said...

Cook,

This covers most/all of your criteria, imho:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEEgplXwNWk

OTOH, the comedy didn't require much work on John's part.

Lyin'PB_Ombudsman said...

Jon.

Robert Cook said...

"And I don't know why a network show that needs ratings would offer comedy that automatically writes off half of its potential audience."

Do you really think the people who would vote for Trump would ever tune in to Steven Colbert or John Stewart in the first place?

rastajenk said...

More importantly, the current Jeopardy champ is still champ, and she's the most annoying defender since Arthur Chu; even more so than that other woman that had a curious inflection.

harkin said...

Finally got around to watching that clip. It was like talent night at a retirement home and the least funny resident decided to show off his comedy chops. Painful.

Which means I love it, they're turning into everything they claim to hate.

Haven't seen Colbert since election night, which remains a tough moment to top.

buwaya said...

"Do you really think the people who would vote for Trump would ever tune in to Steven Colbert or John Stewart in the first place?"

They used to, for Carson and Leno.

buwaya said...

" It's fine to hate Trump--what sensible person doesn't?"

Hate him? Its like hating a mountain or a rainstorm or an ice age. I don't get it, this personal thing
Trump is.

Tank said...

Why would any conservative hate Trump? He's got the most conservative cabinet ... ever, a Sup Ct nominee to dream of, and is enacting a conservative agenda. And he's doing it now now now. And he doesn't give two s**** if the Robert Cooks of the world hate his guts.

jacksonjay said...

If every Trump moment was like the Gorsuch announcement moment, I could be persuaded! It's what I expected when he said he could be soooooo Presidential.

The Jeopardy champ is very good and reminds me of Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler.

cubanbob said...

I had forgotten how good Carson was. If Trump wants to be a comedian he ought to unbundle cable. Watching people dump most of these Lefty morons and hearing the media companies bottom lines dissolve in red ink will be hysterically funny.

Commander Crankshaft said...

I know it was a comic impression of Trump's hair, but Stewart's post-Daily-Show way of life has been a big animal-rescue facility, a sanctuary premised on an utterly unironic love for animals.

Was this your attempt at making a point?

I'm pretty sure anyone's love of animals doesn't preclude them mocking someone so obsessed with their Dorian Gray appearance as to make their hair look as full of vitality as a bustling woodland.

jeff said...

"The myth of Letterman being funny had amazing staying power." Because Letterman was funny. Was very funny. His daytime show was really good. His show on NBC was funny. His very early years on CBS was funny. But he went from wryly ironic to bitter old man over the years that the Letterman that retired was similar in name only to the Letterman starting out 30 odd years earlier.

"I'm pretty sure anyone's love of animals doesn't preclude them mocking someone so obsessed with their Dorian Gray appearance as to make their hair look as full of vitality as a bustling woodland."

I'm pretty sure that someone coming out looking like their semi-retarded with a dead animal on their head takes the joke away from the person his attempting to mock and puts the mockery squarely on himself. Which is the point.

Michael said...

Quo usque tandem abutere, Schumera, patentia nostra?

OK, so I just read SPQR. I had to use this once before I forgot it.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Duh Trump is coming to kill millions of Jews and you people expect humor from that type of oppressed environ?

I applaud Stewart for being able to garner the courage to muster hisself out the damn bed yo.

Hell if I had 5K I wouldn't work for a few months or half a year, and Stewart has got millions bro. He works twice as hard as the Christians and Buddhist in New York, grindstoning it day and night, just for one shot at making you, dead dear consumer, laugh and hate and destruct others right along side your celebrity betters.

Robert said...

Johnny Carson reruns are shown every night now. That's what I watch. Until they...yes, make talk shows great again!

Lyin'PB_Ombudsman said...

You golden years folks are funny. Total dick Carson was great, from your POV. But, folks who live good lives, like Colbert, are awful because they don't serve up phony BS to gullible viewers.

Boy, the way Glenn Miller played!
Songs that made the Hit Parade.
Guys like us, we had it made.
Those were the days!

And you knew where you were then.
Girls were girls and men were men.

Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again. MAGA

Didn't need no welfare state.
Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great.
Those were the days!

Carry on.








Curious George said...

Althouse: "And I don't know why a network show that needs ratings would offer comedy that automatically writes off half of its potential audience."

" and it just made me sad at the loss of Johnny. I longed for a make-late-night-great-again champion. I'd thought that's what Stephen Colbert was going to be."

OMG. Did you just but your first TV?

tim in vermont said...

I was watching Married With Children the other morning, for a break from politics, on comes some lady comedian doing a dick joke on Spicer. I would rather have my dick jokes from the show. I turned it off. Gas pumps pushing anti Trump propaganda when all I want is to fill my tank.

My vote for Trump in 2020 is locked in at this point. Fuck them all.

Curious George said...

"Robert Cook said...
"And I don't know why a network show that needs ratings would offer comedy that automatically writes off half of its potential audience."

Do you really think the people who would vote for Trump would ever tune in to Steven Colbert or John Stewart in the first place?"

This is Top Althouse comment dumb.

David Blaska said...

Jon Stewart and his insufferable smugness helped elect Donald Trump.