Writer’s note: due to a sick puppy-daughter, this edition will be abbreviated so I can continue to play nursemaid. We’ll get back to normal strength next week. Hope you enjoy.
As an occasional pain in the ass myself, I admire disrupters. Of all stripes, from all persuasions. Jon Stewart is one such rabblerouser whom I miss greatly.
The very first time someone spoke naked truth to for-profit-media power, the anchors of Crossfire never saw the bullet train coming. That moment marked the start of old-media structures crumbling—and we didn’t realize how odious they were to dialogue until a light was shown upon them. (Today’s for-profit media is going strong, and has its own set of problems.)
Stewart built The Daily Show from low-def, frat-house funnyfarm to one of the most respected news-gathering and punditry operations in the country. The show was also an astonishing incubator for talent that is continually making us chortle today: Last Week Tonight on HBO and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee are on my must-see list, and truly are as effective as TDS used to be—in some ways more. TDS has also launched the careers of Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Larry Wilmore, Ed Helms, Mo Rocca and many others.
Taking over TDS hosting duties from Stewart last year, you’d think Trevor Noah was the heir apparent. You’d be forgiven for assuming that, but you’d also be wrong.
As Stewart aged into his hosting gig, he also matured, expanded and seasoned himself along the way. The Daily Show and Stewart himself became the funny shame party to which nobody wanted to be invited. It was a skewer and withering watchdog for all things TV journalism—mostly of his nemesis, Fox News.
Stewart’s righteous anger anchored the show, making it feel urgent, giving it both gravitas and heart. Noah doesn’t need to be another Stewart. He just needs to let us in. (Splitsider)
With all respect to Noah’s comedic chops, this is not about whether or not he’s funny. the choice of Noah to helm TDS falls upon showrunners to succeed Stewart in a thoughtful way. I don’t know how long Comedy Central will stick with Noah—his viewership has cratered big time after the initial intrigue of his start. Splitsider puts it best: where the show used to be the gold standard of media analysis and tenacious interviewing, Noah’s Daily Show is a muddy mess of comedy through distance learning. Without authentic outrage, the show has no grounded, comedic soul.
RELATED: ‘BERNIE GOLDBERG FIRES BACK‘ IS STEWART’S FINEST MOMENT
But there’s also the social impact of not having Stewart on a daily basis. We are without the cutting, take-no-prisoners interviewing of folks like Judy Miller, who falsely championed the Iraq conflict. In this moment, Stewart was at his best by taking her to task for questionable sourcing.
Stewart might not have set out to be an incisive media watcher, but that’s exactly what he and the show became. And we were always the better for it. Today, we’re more laughing alongside Noah, not because of him.
As far as farcical-gay comedies go, I can count the number of quality films on one hand. RainBRO caught my attention for a few reasons. First, the trailer is super-high quality and slickly produced. Also, the film is being partly financed through IndieGogo; they have a goal of $50,000 so that they can start filming this fall.
RainBRO wants to be funny about the unfunny subject of bullying. And since folks tend to learn more while they’re laughing, the chances are good that this film will strike all the right notes. If you’d like to support the film’s production, go here and chip in a few bucks. They’re about $36,000 into their fundraising and any amount helps.
We’re knee-deep in Election 2016, so it’s time for some political LOLs. For more of these, go to my JokeBlogger page and share away.
Peyton Manning pays a weepy farewell to the NFL amid brewing scandals… Tennis star Maria Sharapova admits to failing drugs test; sponsors get jittery… Michael Bloomberg elects not to be 2016’s version of egotistical dickface Ralph Nader… What does a new state governor do with a surplus? He doles it out to his millionaire cronies and dicks over average citizens in Illinois… The Trump campaign has made beating the candy out of reporters part of its official platform.
“Electric Blooms” by Will Pollock
That’s it from me Cranker Darlings. Apologies for the tardiness again this week—I’m in full-blown allergy reaction. We’ll see you right back here next Thursday at 2.
Will Pollock is a crabby New York City escapee living in Atlanta. He’s a freelance multimedia journalist and author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram—and check out the book links below.
Don’t forget to comment below. Cranky loves company.