Wednesday is hump day and by 11 PM everyone is struggling to stay awake. Luckily, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are there to make everything better, not only waking people up just long enough to watch their shows, but waking them up to the serious problems that exist in America and the world today. Or at least the problems of Wednesday. This hump day, Stephen Colbert tackled a spurious attack on his person and asked a black man why he could not use photographic evidence of black friends to prove he is not racist. Jon Stewart did not literally tackle Bill O’Reilly during his interview segment, but he may have wanted to. Despite the lack of physical violence, Wednesday’s Slate Night Review still has a few zingers to tell about.
The Colbert Report
Stephen Colbert is the world’s foremost purveyor of “truthiness” and on Wednesday night he set the record straight with Google. In the segment “Who’s Attacking Me Now?” the heroic host revealed how the internet web search giant has wronged him. According to Google, he is on five foot ten inches tall. Colbert called that diminutive height the “lollipop guild,” which apparently includes Matt Damon and Johnny Depp. The “sacred institution” of the Google had miscalculated his height by one inch. In fact, he is five foot eleven inches tall, putting him among the ranks of the illustrious Brad Pitt and Russell Crowe. Stunningly, he revealed that Google CEO Larry Page is also five foot eleven inches in height, prompting Colbert to ask whether Page couldn’t stand the competition. Colbert demanded that the error be fixed, that it be investigated, an apology issued and a cash restitution made. There is no doubt that Stephen was taking this attack very seriously.
After lambasting Google, the show moved on to popular segment “Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger,” in which hardcore not-joking conservative Colbert paid an uncharacteristic compliment to none other than President Obama. When Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, largely because of his commitment to nuclear disarmament, Stephen was outraged. Now he is happier with the fact that Obama has begun a nuclear upgrade for American systems. Why this sudden about-face? Asteroid. Yes, the whole reason why America’s nuclear arsenal is getting a revamp is in case asteroids target earth and they need to be blown up before they destroy everyone. “Planetary defense” is a very important issue, so Colbert gave Obama the coveted “Tip of the Hat” for his foresight and apparently for not decommissioning Armageddon actor Bruce Willis from asteroid warfare. The “Wag of the Finger” went to Stan Lee for his Bollywood film about the first Indian superhero. Colbert was officially annoyed by the outsourcing of American superheroes to India and unrealistic superpower of unlocking human potential. But this was all good-natured ribbing compared to the segment on Sean Hannity that followed.
As a fellow non-satirical conservative, Colbert has a lot of admiration for Sean Hannity, or “my main man-nity.” So in a lampooning homage to the FOX News host, he chronicled the fortunes of a new segment called Hannity’s “Question of the Day.” The question that drew Colbert’s admiring ire was “What is your favorite way to workout?” Unlike President Obama who “jogs delicately,” Hannity does real exercise by practicing “street martial arts,” which includes blade and firearm practice. While Colbert did not ask whether Hannity had joined a gang, he did one up the pundit by outlining his own workout regimen in a new segment called “Stephen Colbert’s Everything I wanted You to Want to Know About Me But I Was Afraid You Wouldn’t Ask.” Colbert’s routine involved such serious exercises as self-flagellation and throwing a protein shake in a jaguar’s face. The results cannot be denied since Stephen has lost about 30 pounds with his discipline, mostly “blood weight from the jaguar.” The only thing he could not best Hannity at was flexibility, since the FOX commentator is so easily able to put his head up his own butt.
The final segment was an interview with black filmmaker Justin Simien who has a new movie called Dear White People. The two men discussed aspects of the film and how much of it was from Simien’s own experience. Then Colbert showed pictures of his black friends, most of whom were famous African-Americans. These were Colbert’s proof that he was not racist, which prompted the filmmaker to drop the biggest truthiness bomb of the evening. “I don’t think anyone wants to be a prop in your life,” he said. In his view, people should be friends because they genuinely like each other, not to prove they are not racist.
The Daily Show
Over on Jon Stewart’s show, he started off by giving his audience and the Slate Night Review a serious reason to be happy to be up late on a Wednesday. At the beginning of his show he announced that his guest would be one William O’Reilly, commonly known as Bill O’Reilly of factor fame. He left everyone on tenterhooks as he went through the rest of the show, saving the best for last. But first, Democalypse 2014 coverage had to be dealt with, primarily all the trouble that Republicans and Democrats were getting into on the campaign trail. First, he noted the long-standing tradition of treating debates as moments to wait for the opponent to screw up rather than as opportunities for cogent and rational argument over substantive issues. Waiting for someone to screw up is always the better option, as it was back when Abraham Lincoln was debating Stephen Douglas and the latter’s penis fell out of his pants. That is the kind of thing that makes debates oh-so special.
Yet that is not the only thing candidates are doing on the campaign trail, as Stewart obligingly revealed. Instead, progress away from severe partisanship was in the air as the two parties found common ground. That common ground, however, was not wanting to have anything to do with President Obama. Republicans were reviling the president, as usual, while Democrats were finding creative ways to distance themselves from the leader of their party. Alison Lundergan-Grimes was one particular case, pleading that the Constitution allowed her not to reveal whether she voted to re-elect Obama. In Stewart’s searing critique, both parties were so unpopular that the only option left for their candidates to enact was to run on how much they hate themselves. So what would everyone be running on in 2014? All that was left was ISIS and Ebola who, along with Obama, constituted the only common ground in politics left.
Speaking of ISIS, Stewart explained how the war on the world’s favorite terrorist organization was going, outlining the United States strategy in this way. America would bomb ISIS and give a tactical advantage to its allies, particularly the Iraqi army, which could operate on the ground. The only problem was that the Iraqi army had apparently disappeared. Somewhat miffed, yet undeterred, young Stewart went on to explain that the coalition against ISIS could step in where Iraq had failed. Immediately the news was about cracks in the coalition. But that was okay, too, since Turkey had stepped in to allow the U.S. to use its air bases to launch air strikes. Actually, Turkey denied that had ever happened and, apparently, they had bombed the Kurds who were actually fighting ISIS on the ground and are American allies. With pretty much no one left to help, who could Stewart rely on to fight against ISIS? A biker group from the Netherlands had volunteered and, as Stewart said, America could not afford to be picky about what kind of boots (in this case, biker ones) were on the ground.
Finally, after stalling for what seemed like around 10 minutes of eternity, the interview with Bill O’Reilly began. Ostensibly he was there to plug his new book “Killing Patton,” but Stewart said he only had one question for the FOX News Papa Bear. All Jon Stewart wanted O’Reilly to do was admit there was such a thing as white privilege. O’Reilly who has often railed against the idea and emphasized opportunity as an example of America’s shining virtue, actually ended up agreeing that white privilege existed. The Daily Show host was so touched he called O’Reilly the Pope Francis of FOX News. But it took some effort to get the hardcore conservative to agree. First, white privilege had to be explained, then given an object lesson in terms of O’Reilly’s own life experience, then the issue of whether it had disappeared after the civil rights movement had to be tackled and O’Reilly had to talk about Asian privilege because, of course, Asians make more money than white people do, but eventually an agreement was reached. Is that a sign of the apocalypse? Slate Night TV does not know, but just in case the world actually ended on Wednesday night, there is video proof that it was Bill O’Reilly who started it.
By Lydia Bradbury