After a week away from people’s televisions, the Comedy Central news teams are back in action as The Colbert Report and The Daily Show aired on Monday. In the October 27, 2014 recap, Slate Night TV looks at how Colbert and Stewart turn Ebola into laughs right at a time when New York needs them most. Colbert also tackled United States representative and “confused piece of gnocchi” Louie Gohmert’s general aura of annoying and interviewed Emmy winner Meredith Vieira. Stewart was in Austin, Texas last night as part of his midterms coverage and he interviewed State Representative Wendy Davis who is a Democrat running for governor in a state where people bleed tiny red elephants instead of blood. The kings of political comedy are back after a long week of down time and they are just as good as ever.
The Colbert Report
Stephen Colbert started off his show with a literal taste of Ebola in the form of an ice cream sunday. Taking issue with the fact that the virus has made it to where he lives, the conservative satirist pointed to the media’s handling of the news by giving his own advice on how to avoid the virus. Ice cream in a bowl represented a sterile hospital room with an Ebola patient and the toppings of the Sunday made up the various bodily fluids one could catch the virus from. Chocolate sauce, strawberry syrup, lots of whip cream (representing saliva, because the patient probably had rabies, too), and cherries on top representing bleeding eye balls: once complete the Ebola sunday actually looked pretty good. All Colbert had to do was not eat it and he would stay Ebola free. Luckily for Stephen, it was his “Ebola cheat day” and he ate a good portion of it. Never has Ebola looked so good.
Next, Colbert talked about Representative Louie Gohmert, whose statements on homosexuality in the military were a little… strrange. Gohmert apparently appealed to history, saying that while the Greeks may have been gays with a military and lots of gay massages, that would never work in today’s guerilla warfare. Gay massages in the military would make soldiers vulnerable to terrorists and he can say this because he knows history. As Colbert pointed out, Gohmert is not the only person to have been called stupid for what he says. Colbert himself has been told he is “so stupid” and “pervasively ignorant” that people are surprised he knows how to wear clothes. To which the satirical show host said, “You haven’t met Louie Gohmert.” Take that, “confused piece of gnocchi.”
Finally, Colbert interviewed Meredith Vieira who has a new show called quite originally The Meredith Vieira Show. Vieira has a reputation for being genuine on screen and that took up most of the interview. When quizzed about why she told America on The View that she does not wear underwear, she said it was because she wanted to be genuine and sincere. When she asked Colbert if he wore underwear, he told her that “underwear has not been woven that can handle my balls.” From there, they discussed the furniture on her set, at least one chair of which is her own living room chair, complete with cat scratches and all. Colbert understood that since his set is an exact replica of his living room at home. They concluded with a good-natured “award off” in which they compared Emmys and other trophies. Vieira had 14 Emmys, beating Colbert’s 10, but he topped her in Peabodys and Grammys. She, however, had two bowling trophies, which was two more than he had. “I have balls, too, honey,” she said and Colbert had to admit defeat. Nothing beats a bowling trophy in show business.
The Daily Show
Jon Stewart on October 27, 2014’s The Daily Show also talked about Ebola, but unlike Colbert, he did so from the safety of Austin, Texas, or as it is known on the show, “the one part of Texas where we won’t get shot at.” In the largely liberal state capitol, Stewart cut to his various correspondents in places all over the country, or at least in front of a green screen. Samantha Bee was in Dallas to explore the measures the city took to combat Ebola, including shooting it, the death penalty, and praying for the virus in a way that made it feel patronized. None of that worked, but once they used actual medical practices everything was fine. Across the country (or the studio), Aasif Mandvi was in New York and feeling very put out that Ebola was not in Texas because he had refused to go there to avoid the virus. The best laid plans of mice and Aasif Mandvi have gone astray.
Jessica Williams was outside an “espresso bar and bike co-op” isolation center in Austin talking about Ebola and how the city does not need to catch it from Dallas. Instead, they are brewing their own “locally sources, small batch, fair trade organic, cage free” Ebola in the most liberal way they possibly could. Finally, Jordan Klepper showed up proclaiming that he had Ebola. All the symptoms were there, including fever and irritable bowels, but they only showed up after he ate meat for three meals in a row from food trucks. Stewart diagnosed him with the meat sweats and told him not to eat any more meat, but how could Klepper resist his traditional Texan “meat lei.” The smell of barbeque attracted all the correspondents from their various green screens and they chowed down on the barbequed lei, thereby ensuring a small epidemic of meat sweats in Austin, Texas.
But it was not all barbeque sauce and moist towelettes on the show. The more important side of Ebola, namely, Chris Christie was next on the list. The mandatory Ebola quarantines in New York state and New Jersey crossed Stewart’s sights and drew fire from the consummate comedian. When a respected medical doctor said that quarantines were a terrible idea, Stewart shouted, “Shut up, science!” Obviously, medical science is not the way to fight Ebola. Chris Christie, however, had the right idea by quarantining and asymptomatic nurse returning from volunteering in Sierra Leone. He noted that after she had time to think about it, the nurse would agree that he had done the right thing. Obviously, the four days alone in an uncomfortable quarantine tent with no heat, no shower, and a box to poop in would keep her too busy to reflect on her situation. On the other hand, anyone looking for a place to live in New York would probably try to rent that tent as soon as possible.
Stewart wrapped up his show by interviewing State Representative Wendy Davis, who is running for governor of the state. She first rose to prominence by filibustering a bill to close down women’s health clinics in the state, standing for 13 hours straight in the process. As she sat down at the desk, he courteously asked her if she would rather stand. These days, Davis is doing more sitting down and will hopefully sit as Democratic governor of Texas after the next election. Stewart questioned the wisdom of that by pointing out the extreme conservatism of the state, but she reassured him that it was getting more liberal. On that hopeful note, Stewart ended the show, promising that the rest of the October 27, 2014, interview would be posted online at the show’s website.
Opinion By Lydia Bradbury