Thursday night marks the end of the Comedy Central news week and it is always a sad time as people everywhere realize they might actually have to put up with real news for a whole weekend. But this time there is more reason to be down in the dumps as big news broke on The Colbert Report. The eponymous host has finally announced when the popular show will air its last episode. Countdowns to the end of a stellar nine year dynasty can begin and there is far too little time left to enjoy the antics of America’s premier satirist. That news and the last day of Jon Stewart’s stint in Austin, Texas, are ahead on Slate Night TV’s October 30 recap.
The Colbert Report
Stephen Colbert started off his show talking about Ebola, but since he talked about it on Monday, his duty was done. There was more important news to get to, namely the paperback release of his book America Again. In an extended pitch for why people should by it, he gave many good reasons, but the most important was that after December it will be the only thing to remember him by. On December 18, he announced, the show will end and he will be taking a vacation to “someplace warm with goat horns.” With that sad news, he encouraged people to buy his book from an independent bookseller because he is still feuding with Amazon. Or they could by it from Amazon.
While the audience may still have been reeling from the announcement of an actual date, Colbert went on to talk about a different emotion, namely midterm indifference. According to reports, this will be the most expensive midterm election in history, topping out at $4 billion spent by candidates and other political organizations. Still people simply do not care. Colbert, patriotic problem solver that he is, had a solution which he borrowed from an episode of Star Trek. Instead of voting, the results would simply be calculated by a computer simulation and all the money that would have been spent would be disintegrated in his new “Disinteporter 6700.” During a test run of the machine, however, George Takei showed up through some operational mistake. “Don’t do it!” Takei warned. A computer simulation is not the way to solve the midterm malaise. People cannot abdicate their civic duty by not caring about politics. Instead, the only way to solve the problem is to engage more in the issues and discharge their duty as American citizens and citizens of the galaxy. People have to vote because they do have the power to change things if only they will act. All that is well and good, but Colbert had a Disinteporter to test, so he pressed the button again and Takei disintegrated to wherever he came from before. Obviously, there are just no simple solutions to this problem, no matter what Takei says.
Continuing with his roll of problem solving successes, Colbert told the nation about a change in immigration laws which expands the definition of a mother to be any woman who gives birth to a child. This is meant to affect surrogate mothers specifically and FOX News, of course, freaked out about it. Babies born with no American genetics, FOX warned, could be given citizenship. American women could sell United States citizenship for thousands of dollars, they speculated, asking whether that would be taxable income. Not wanting to miss out on this new business opportunity, Colbert announced his new line of “Formula 4-Ovum,” produced by Colbert himself. Paired with his premium American sperm produced locally and organically by Colbert himself, it guarantees an American baby to everyone who uses it. He was not too sure about the taxable income part, but he was going to try to use a womb as a home office.
The interview was with David Milliband, the former British foreign secretary and current president and CEO of International Rescue Committee. Milliband had recently returned from Liberia where the Ebola virus is afecting people by the thousands. As a precautionary measure, Colbert asked how long he had been back in the states and whether he was beyond the 21 day incubation period. Milliband had been back only 20 days. Armed with a little hand sanitizer, the two men talked about the humanitarian mission of the International Rescue Committee. Primarily, the organization tries to help refugees all over the world have some kind of control over their lives. Milliband then asked whether the Colbert Nation would become part of the Rescue Nation. After the show ends, Colbert mused, they would be looking for a new nation to be a part of, so the chances were good.
The Daily Show
After spending a week in Austin, Jon Stewart was feeling pretty sluggish. At one point during October 30’s show he recapped how much meat he had eaten and noted that he felt like a snake that had followed an animal whole. That may explain why most of the show was a concert for the well-beloved band Spoon playing songs from their new album They Want My Soul. Unlike Colbert, The Daily Show ended its week on a high note with good music and a celebration of Austin’s weirdness.
First, Stewart had to talk about the sheer insanity of Democrats believing they could flip Texas to a blue state. According to the host, Texas has been a conservative state since dinosaurs roamed its plains 6000 years ago, which is how old the earth is according to the state’s textbooks. Race after race is simply not looking good for Democrats who are all way behind in the polls. Wendy Davis is behind her Republican opponent by 20 points. There is not even a centrist move from Republicans, most of whom could not be redder. Even at a local level, there is not even a hint of teal as Louie Gohmert showed with his rant about gay massages. Amazingly, Democrats remain positive about winning the state, prompting the show’s host to liken them to the drunk guy at a bar who will not stop hitting on a lesbian.
But the Democrats’ misplace optimism was not the only weird thing in Texas. Austin itself is proudly weird and correspondent Samantha Bee took to the streets to find out just how weird it really is. Most of the people she interviewed were proudly odd, including a man tattooed all over with lizard scales and his tongue split to look like that of a reptiles. But that was not what really blew Bee’s mind. Instead it was that five out of the six representatives in Congress of the city of Austin were hardcore Republicans. When exploring how this could be, she discovered that Republicans had been gerrymandering, or redistricting so that Republicans had more representation than Democrats. This meant that one district extended as far as Dallas in order to make up a Republican majority. Then, Samantha Bee got it. This was just Austin being weird again. That is one way to keep Austin weird and it is also a good way to keep the people of Austin annoyed.
After looking at how badly the progressives and liberals of Texas’ largest city had been mistreated, a little pick-me-up was in order. Stewart stood on stage and introduced hometown band Spoon, who played two songs from their new album. Both were catchy and slightly weird, just like the city they hailed from. All in all, it was the perfect way to end a week’s long love affair with the city of Austin, though there are some questions as to whether this is really the end. Stewart started off the episode chained to the desk declaring that he was not leaving. Who knows? Next week he could be broadcasting handcuffed the weirdest statue he could find, eating brisket from a food truck and drinking local, organic beer.
Opinion By Lydia Bradbury