There is a certain amount of anger and frustration that lurks beneath all great political comedy, parody and satire. Jon Stewart invited viewers to join him at the Lenny Bruce table that sits smack in the middle of the comedy kitchen where he cooks up his daily takes. During an episode of Crossfire Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson made the mistake of joining him. It’s likely that they were fully expecting to be seated in the Carrot Top section instead.
Here are just a few outtakes from the show. Carlson clearly was not amused. But comedy is not pretty (which he should sort of know being that he is so often its unwitting messenger).
Stewart: And I made a special effort to come on the show today, because I have privately, amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad … And I wanted to — I felt that that wasn’t fair and I should come here and tell you that I don’t — it’s not so much that it’s bad, as it’s hurting America. So I wanted to come here today and say… Here’s just what I wanted to tell you guys. Stop. Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America…
Stewart: See, the thing is, we need your help. Right now, you’re helping the politicians and the corporations. And we’re left out there to mow our lawns. No, no, no, you’re not too rough on them. You’re part of their strategies. You are partisan, what do you call it, hacks…
Stewart: To do a debate would be great. But that’s like saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition…
Stewart: Now, this is theater. It’s obvious. How old are you?
Stewart: And you wear a bow tie.
Carlson: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you’re accusing us of partisan hackery?
Stewart: You’re on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls.
Carlson: I do think you’re more fun on your show. Just my opinion.
Stewart: You know what’s interesting, though? You’re as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.
Maybe the lesson in all of this is that network executives really are some of the worst talent evaluators on the planet. Time and time again, they have had to opportunity to give Stewart the late night chair that has long been so duly deserved. Instead, they give us Leno. Meanwhile, Jon Stewart has become the most intertesting comedic voice of his generation (certain bloggers excepted), and maybe the most fantastically irritating Crossfire guest of all time.
In a somewhat related story:
David Brooks, not funny.
I find Brooks career to be unbelievable. I also find it difficult to answer my mom when she asks me why he has a gig at the NYT and all I’ve got is this little blog.