Best comedy often rooted in truth

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

I complain a lot. But recently, I’ve felt blessed.

It’s blissful that the worst thing that’s happened to me on recent shifts is getting home just in time to miss “The Daily Show,” and having to wait for reruns on the latest tit-for-tat.

In one corner is “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, who mocked MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” news program for its uncomfortable tie-ins to the Starbucks coffee franchise. They landed the first show, with video edited together of in-show praising of Starbucks beverages.

Scarborough punched back a few days later, of course, saying the product placement was “sarcasm” and intimated Stewart and his writing staff were too dumb to pick it up.

So I guess that means Scarborough sarcastically drank coffee. I should have also picked up that he sarcastically interviewed Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz by not asking about the company’s financial troubles. And for the next few years, parent company GE will sarcastically cash $10 million in endorsement checks.

In Scarborough’s honor, I think I’ll go to a restaurant I don’t really like, eat their food and pay my bill — but I’ll later say I chewed sarcastically. Stewart wins in a knockout.

“Daily Show” broadcasts are best when Stewart calls out 24-hour news networks, like Monday night when it hammered Fox News for deceptively editing Obama speeches, MSNBC for aligning Congressional Republicans with Rush Limbaugh and CNN for desperately seeking Twitter followers.

Or there’s the final clip, which Stewart calls, “Your moment of Zen.” My favorite of the past month was former sitcom star Craig T. Nelson on Fox News’ “Glenn Beck Program.” Nelson said some businesses are doomed to fail and we shouldn’t throw taxpayer money at them to delay the inevitable. Fair enough … until he followed with, “I’ve been on food stamps and welfare. Did anybody help me out? No.” Or maybe the comedy was that Beck sat there and listened, instead of telling Nelson government helped him out by temporarily paying his bills and buying him groceries.

But one of the show’s best qualities is it proves no one side is right about everything. The free market, for instance, is mostly a Republican ideal, and the viewship of the “The Daily Show” is mostly a Democratic audience.

Yet, “The Daily Show” thrives because of the free market, through a voting block that doesn’t endorse the concept. It’s through the free exchange of ideas and values that viewers decided Jon Stewart’s show is at least as capable of intelligent news comment as shows with sponsored news segments who scream “sarcasm” when backed into a corner.

Just this morning, I read about possibly inappropriate financial ties between former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Roland Burris, who Blagojevich appointed to the Senate. And I saw an interview where South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said a “federal takeover” forced him to take stimulus dollars— except he was ordered by his state’s Legislature and his state’s Supreme Court.

Don’t be surprised if these things are best reported on Comedy Central. Because after all, the best comedy is rooted in truth.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail:
kevin_wilson@link.freedom.com