He's back
September 4, 2013 7:02 AM   Subscribe

After a summer of John Oliver, Jon Stewart returns to host The Daily Show. (slyt)

The full episode.

The Guardian asks what could Jon Stewart do when he leaves the Daily Show, while Salon hopes Jon Oliver will get his own news show.
posted by Wordshore (57 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think the hamburger-defibrillator was my favorite part.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:26 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


John Oliver was very, very good. Sharp and snarky and generally more fun to watch than Jon Stewart, who is also very good.
posted by migurski at 7:36 AM on September 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


I liked the parade of Operation Iraqi Liberation Freedom fuckups being presented as people who should ever open their mouths again.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:37 AM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


more fun to watch than Jon Stewart

Not for me. Welcome back John, I'll start watching again.
posted by davebush at 7:50 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here I'll take the middle road. I don't have cable and rarely watch tv anyways, but from what I have seen, Oliver seemed pretty great at times and so-so at times. Imo he was a good guest host. Not better, or worse than Stewart, a bit different, and that's just fine.
posted by edgeways at 7:58 AM on September 4, 2013


I saw a few of the John Oliver episodes and while I liked the interviews he did with guests, I thought his jokes on the "news" segments felt kind of forced and were delivered with not-so-good comedic timing. As if the writers were still writing for Stewart's style, not Oliver's.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 8:04 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I felt John Oliver was better, if only because a) he didn't drop off into an inaudible mumble in every bit, and b) it seemed like he actually wanted to be there.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:05 AM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


'Crossfire' returns? Seriously?
posted by From Bklyn at 8:05 AM on September 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was surprised by how much more I enjoyed the show with John Oliver as the anchor and though Stewart is fine and the show is good I'll definitely be happy when and/or if Oliver takes over as anchor. Far more funny to me and of course just about anyone can conduct an interview better than Stewart does.
posted by juiceCake at 8:06 AM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love them both in the place where my heart is.
posted by Errant at 8:07 AM on September 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oliver's give and take with the audience and his interview style was a little rushed at first, but got better with each episode. I'd watch the JO show.
posted by ersatzkat at 8:11 AM on September 4, 2013


I get the same "trying to hard" vibe from Oliver as I get from Conan O'Brien.
posted by davebush at 8:12 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


John Oliver exceeded expectations.

But Jon Stewart wilseems to care much more about the serious stuff than he used to. Which is good and understandable, but will be hard to keep finding the right balance between that and funny.

(Though the Syria segment had a couple of really great and vicious dark lines like: "signatures of Sarin perfume... because love is blind... now.")
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 8:12 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


We seem to be presented with an embarassment of riches.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 8:25 AM on September 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


I get the same "trying to hard" vibe from Oliver as I get from Conan O'Brien.

I've watched both and the vibrators they sent me just had the standard low medium and high settings. What do you have to do to qualify for the 'trying to hard' setting? This is something I may pursue!
posted by srboisvert at 8:27 AM on September 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


With the way John Oliver admires Armando Iannucci's On the Hour and The Day Today so much I'm really hoping he capitalizes on his run as host to pitch something in that vein, more of a satirical fake news show than a satirical show about the news like TDS/TCR. In a perfect world he could work with Chris Morris on it.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:30 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was hoping for them to do the bit for his return where he goes all Colonel Kurtz on them, with bizarre, dark poetics born from the land of insanity, and with the threat of a violent snap at any moment, and slowly bring him back to normal.

Actually, Colonel Kurtz would make a hilarious correspondent segment - good for any on-location reporting event, from warzones to school lunch protests.
posted by chambers at 8:39 AM on September 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


Hi. I would like to request John Oliver again. Jon Stewart doesn't seem like he's having any fun any more, and he's also leaning pretty hard on "relativism" as his only comedic punchline.
posted by littlerobothead at 8:41 AM on September 4, 2013


Needs more Zaltzman.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:41 AM on September 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


From Bklyn: "'Crossfire' returns? Seriously?"

Not The Onion: CNN exec: ‘Crossfire’ will be ‘excellent forum’ for Syria debate.

FFS...
posted by schmod at 9:00 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Crossfire will be exactly as good a forum for debate as taking the actual game Crossfire and labeling the balls with logical fallacies.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:05 AM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oliver did well - better than could be reasonably expected - and Stewart is as good as ever. The bit on Syria there was great stuff.
posted by Decani at 9:14 AM on September 4, 2013


I was hoping they'd do an awkward situation kinda skit where John Stewart wants to start with the show but John Oliver is already sitting there and doesn't want to leave.

Anyhow, JO was very good but, to be fair, he also basically hit the jackpot in terms of getting to do the show during a period of time where there was a basically uninterrupted stream of news events of high comedic value. He even made a point of this during one of the shows.
In order to truly compare the two I'd have to see what JO's performance would be like during a period of less interesting or hard to make fun of news.

I like them both but I'm also glad JS is back.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 9:15 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oliver: We have a big problem.
Williams: What? You're still hosting the show?

I just loved the meme of the news team teeing off on Oliver, and how gracefully he took it, even though it was obviously scripted.
posted by Danf at 9:58 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love that John Oliver calls him "Stew Beef". This interview with Tracy Morgan had me crying with laughter when I first watched it.
posted by cmfletcher at 10:04 AM on September 4, 2013


They could start doing a Friday show which Oliver can host. And he can fill in when Stewart goes on vacation. That guy seems to take a lot of time off.
posted by homunculus at 10:24 AM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Crossfire will be exactly as good a forum for debate as taking the actual game Crossfire and labeling the balls with logical fallacies."

The actual game Crossfire would probably be a better way of debating the issue, since at least it's guaranteed to come to a definite conclusion.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:24 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"...I'm really hoping [John Oliver] capitalizes on his run as host to pitch something in that vein, more of a satirical fake news show than a satirical show about the news like TDS/TCR."

May I present....The Bugle!
posted by wenestvedt at 10:49 AM on September 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


TIL The Bugle is still around! Day saved!
posted by Navelgazer at 10:54 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Salon writer seems to be unaware of The Bugle:
I kind of wish that, in addition to announcing Jon Stewart’s return, we were heralding the debut of a suitable vehicle for Oliver — perhaps something more offbeat and globally focused, like “Wacky World News With Jon Oliver.” The title needs work — but you can see it, right?
See it? I listen to it weekly.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:31 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


TIL The Bugle is still around! Day saved!

Still around and going strong. Oliver continued to record episodes while doing The Daily Show. They even have merch now.
posted by jedicus at 11:37 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


John Oliver would make a great host of the Academy Awards. Classy and knowing when not to snark.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:55 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know, I heard that this John Oliver fellow wasn't even born in America.
posted by NedKoppel at 12:20 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


jason_steakums: Crossfire will be exactly as good a forum for debate as taking the actual game Crossfire and labeling the balls with logical fallacies.

Repeated because of brilliance.
posted by JHarris at 12:21 PM on September 4, 2013


Jon Stewart isn't a bad fill-in host, but Craig Kilborne had better come back from vacation soon.
posted by dr_dank at 12:43 PM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


May I present....The Bugle!

Well now I know what I'm listening to this afternoon (if I can pull myself away from the stream of the new Janelle Monae album...). Thanks!
posted by jason_steakums at 12:45 PM on September 4, 2013


Another vote for Oliver over Stewart. I actually watched and enjoyed the interviews for the first time in years.

Colbert > Oliver > Stewart
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:47 PM on September 4, 2013


Oh right! We have to bomb Syria because we're in seventh grade! And the red line... the red line that they crossed is actually a dick-measuring ribbon

And with that, Stewart reclaimed the throne.
posted by Ber at 12:51 PM on September 4, 2013


Oliver seemed angrier than Stewart. The great thing about Jon Stewart is that he's, well, not a pushover to all comers, but he never seems mean.

Meanness stops discussion.
posted by amtho at 12:53 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing I most liked about Oliver over Stewart was the way he didn't let the audience trample over timing. So many punchlines are kind of ruined by them whooping or applauding mid-joke, and you quite often see Stewart urging them to quiet down and sometimes get frustrated with it. John Oliver just shouted over them a bit more, and while occasionally it didn't quite work I think it was still better than waiting for 30 seconds to end a line.

That said, I'm glad Jon Stewart is back. He's what made the show what it is and it's not time for him to stop having this voice yet.
posted by opsin at 1:04 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


If people are thinking about checking out The Bugle (and you should be), note that the hosts are currently on holiday, and the most recent episode ("Bugle Elbug... ") is a dissonant sound collage prepared by the producer, Fuck You Chris, as a sort of joke. Skip back to Bugle 244 or previous, else face total confusion.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 2:07 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love that John Oliver calls him "Stew Beef". This interview with Tracy Morgan had me crying with laughter when I first watched it.

All of them do (Jason Jones has in a lot of segments that I can recall). I'm pretty sure the entire staff made sure that that name stuck the moment Morgan uttered it.
posted by sparkletone at 3:51 PM on September 4, 2013


The great thing about Jon Stewart is that he's, well, not a pushover to all comers, but he never seems mean.

At least one former Daily Show writer, David Feldman, disagrees:
"There is not a single writer who ever worked for Jon Stewart who will tell you that he’s a good man. Everybody who has ever written for Jon Stewart will tell you that he hates his writers, and he’s abusive, and is anti-union. But nobody has the courage to take on Satan in Christ’s clothes. I’m joking about his being Satan but he is anti-union. And the head of the Writer’s Guild out here told me that during the strike, when Jon was working as a writer, doing shows, and being his own scab, the head of the Writer’s Guild told me in his whole history he had never been talked to as abusively as he was by Jon Stewart. But nobody’s going to go after Jon Stewart. Nobody’s going to tell the truth about what a bad guy Jon Stewart is because for some reason he’s got angel’s wings. You know—he is funny, the show’s great, but he is not a supporter of unions."
Of course, in the same interview, Feldman calls Dennis Miller "a great man" (albeit, he qualifies this by saying Miller's politics are "diseased" and "sick") so, make of that what you will.
posted by Atom Eyes at 5:03 PM on September 4, 2013


And the head of the Writer’s Guild out here told me that during the strike, when Jon was working as a writer, doing shows, and being his own scab, the head of the Writer’s Guild told me in his whole history he had never been talked to as abusively as he was by Jon Stewart.

Calling Jon Stewart a scab and union buster runs entirely counter to the full extent of the show I remember from the Writer's Strike, where they changed the name of the show ("A Daily Show") to emphasize that it wasn't going to be nearly as good and show solidarity with the writers, and made constant, repeated jokes about how much it was going to suck. Because Stewart, and Colbert and other late night hosts, were in a bad position there, being simultaneously writers, performers, and show runners with contracts with the network.
posted by JHarris at 6:48 PM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is A Daily Show the first show of the 2007-2008 Writer's Strike.
posted by JHarris at 6:56 PM on September 4, 2013


So many punchlines are kind of ruined by them whooping or applauding mid-joke, and you quite often see Stewart urging them to quiet down and sometimes get frustrated with it.

Right on. Arsenio Hall I believe is to blame for the current levels of over-enthusiastic and barely manageable studio audiences. It's an unfortunate side-effect of what was an initially a good idea - to bring the audience's energy into the show in a way that adds to the moment in a way that 'broke the rules' of how a TV audience is traditionally "supposed to behave". At the time, it really was something different, and something Arsenio was able to work with very well. As time progressed, that heightened level was seen as the norm. Having an audience that was on the edge of controllability was seen as a must-have as a sign of a successful show, whether or not it actually improved the show or not. Arsenio was able to control and harness that energy very well, as it was an element of the show created intentionally.

Since then, the skill at controlling these louder, more enthusiastic crowds has become a required skill that Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert all do well with. If one put an 'excited audience' from a Tonight Show of the 70s or early- to mid-80s next to a current late-night studio audience, I think many would regard it as a 'dead' crowd today. Sure, if you look back at the isolated clips from the old Tonight Show where everyone loses it and goes nuts were, in part, notable because of the difference from the 'normal' way an audience would react at the time.

I'd like to see this aspect of shows be 're-calibrated' a bit. Not in some square, stuffed-shirt way, or to create some extreme, silent abyss like that dark, inter-dimensional void that Charlie Rose conducts his interviews in, but just brought back a bit to a level where it doesn't interfere with the show as much as it does now. There is an actual price to all this excitement - time. A few seconds here, a few seconds there without all the frantic hootin' and hollerin' actually adds up over the course of a 22 minute show, and can actually cause entire segments to get cut out on the fly or shorten the already small time available for interviews.

If I were a producer of a late night talk show, I'd reduce the studio audience by as much as two-thirds. There must be some way to use the psychology of group dynamics to find a point at which the size of the audience and the space they are in can allow for a balance with controllability.
posted by chambers at 7:34 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


It would be nice to go back to a time when the natural response to a great joke was laughter instead of clapping and cheering.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:44 PM on September 4, 2013


John Oliver's Carlos Danger dance.

It's probably a good thing that most American's don't know that this is the only way an Englishman can dance.
posted by Wordshore at 2:14 PM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's probably a good thing that most American's don't know that this is the only way an Englishman can dance.

Aw, c'mon, you guys have Morris dancing, and, um... Morris dancing... let's see... certainly Cliff Richard had to have invented... oh, dear, I see.

Hmmm. Ok, point taken. Well, don't be too concerned, this American was never able to figure out how to dance well in any style that became popular after the start of the 20th century, so you're not entirely alone.
posted by chambers at 2:52 PM on September 5, 2013


It would be nice to go back to a time when the natural response to a great joke was laughter instead of clapping and cheering.

Or going WOOOOOOO. I hate that.

I had always assumed that cheering was somewhat orchestrated. Certainly the chants of "Colbert! Colbert!" at the start of the Report have to have been suggested by someone off-stage.
posted by JHarris at 3:24 PM on September 5, 2013


Certainly the chants of "Colbert! Colbert!"

It's "Stephen! Stephen!"

But I completely agree: Wooo! is stupid, pointless, annoying, disruptive, and must go.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:18 PM on September 5, 2013


Ah, true. (How did I forget that? I've just watched the show every night it's a new program for years.) Still, though, whatever it is, it's probably coached.
posted by JHarris at 6:27 PM on September 5, 2013


Honestly, I doubt they have to do much coaching after this long on the air. People have seen other crowds doing it and its probably expected as part of the experience.
posted by sparkletone at 9:26 PM on September 5, 2013


He's really been back with a vengeance this week: Stewart Slams Syrian Red Line, Begs Cable News ‘Idiot Parade’ to ‘Shut the F*ck Up’

Rachel Maddow seems to feel the same way: Iraq war architects not welcome in Syria debate
posted by homunculus at 11:31 PM on September 5, 2013




It took me a few weeks to get used to Oliver, but he brought a joy and enthusiasm Stewart had been lacking for a while. I think Stewart had become majorly burned out and really needed the time away, and it seems to have benefited him. I would like to see him with his own show, but it sounds like he's busy enough without it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:54 PM on September 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


John Oliver's Carlos Danger dance.

Thank you so much for that link! I will miss that dance terribly.
posted by gladly at 1:00 PM on September 6, 2013


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