Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Daily Show, night two: More politics = more funny

Since apparently discussing "The Wire" and late night talk shows is going to occupy 90 percent of my blogging time for the forseeable future, some brief thoughts on the second evening of "A Daily Show" coming up just as soon as I TiVo the "Classic Krusty" episode where he discusses collective bargaining with the chairman of the AFL/CIO...

Nice to see a man who can pay attention to constructive criticism. After Monday night's odd, often bitter episode devoted entirely to the WGA strike, Jon Stewart came back and apologized for it, in amusing fashion. Other than a gag segment with John Oliver on the picket line (and was I the only one disturbed when the green screen version of Oliver started to dwarf the real one?), Stewart went back to doing what he does best: skewering the fools and hypocrites in both politics and the media. The media orgy over Hillary's crying episode was (pardon the pun) crying out for the kind of angry incredulity that Stewart gave it, and he had himself a ball picking apart his conservative book-plugging guest, who tried valiantly to stay on message but eventually had to start laughing himself at how well Stewart was skewering him. Vast improvement, all around.

Also, because I just got around to watching Monday night's Letterman this morning, Tom Hanks again proved why he's one of the best guests in the business when he came out and explained to Dave that getting a shave on-camera is the sort of thing that hosts without writers should be doing.

13 comments:

cg said...

Daily Show was definitely better. My question though - Daily Show seemed awfully scripted. How could they do the video bit, props, etc., and say there are no writers? Seems like this is far more of an issue than Leno (although that's only from what I've read -- I don't watch Leno).

SCS said...

That Tom Hanks interview was strange. Letterman barely seemed interested; Tom Hanks seemed to be out there alone. Perhaps it was the blood loss.

Andrew said...

With a Daily Show, it seemed more like "let's play some clips" and Jon will say something extemporaneous about them, than the usual script. The researchers and editors putting together the clips is a large part of why TDS works as media criticism and information. The jokes, which were generally missing (or weaker than usual) is why it works as comedy.

Although I'm not too optimistic, hopefully The Daily Show will be back with its writers before long.

WGA Supporter But I Need My Daily Show said...

Question: Am I screwing over the writers if I watch and enjoy the Daily Show? What about Conan? I'm getting a kick out of his German Discotecque Laser Light Show. I miss the writers, it isn't the same, but it is still pretty good. But am I prolonging the strike by supporting these shows with my viewership?

Jim said...

explained to Dave that getting a shave on-camera is the sort of thing that hosts without writers should be doing.

In fairness, that's the kind of stuff Letterman has been doing for twenty-five years or so.

The Daily Show was definitely better, though Stewart should've taken two segments with Frum and compared his last book to the new one. Rare to find someone as dumb-and-thinks-he's-smart as David Frum, a perfect foil for Stewart.

Nicole said...

The Daily Show did noticeably pick up last night, and the John Oliver segment was pretty funny. I have to say that I was sorta tuning out when David Frum came out because he is such a hack and considering his mother Barbara Frum was one of the most respected journalists in Canada until her death (read: intelligent and balanced), I can't help but be disappointed that he worked for the Bush administration.

Now Colbert used parts of a script written on October 29, 2007 - was that a bit, or was there actually an extra script?

Also - the German Disco Light Show is awesome. Conan really has stepped up his game.

Dark Tyler said...

What the hell is Stewart doing? How was this not scripted? It wasn't just him following up videos with jokes, most of the time it was him leading videos with jokes. I don't know much about such technicalities, but A Daily Show looks way more scripted that it should, and I'm not able to enjoy it.

Meanwhile, Conan rocks. I've never watched his show in the past, but after hearing some good stuff about his strike shows I went back and watched all 5 of them. Boy, the guy certainly embraced this new reality and produced some comedic gold out of it. Don't know how long before this "let's flip a coin and drink some water for five minutes" routine gets old, but so far I'm loving every second of it. Plus, notice the complete absence of bitterness. Comedy Central golden boys, this is how you show your support.

Tosy And Cosh said...

wga supporter . . .: If you aren'ta Nielsen family you can watch whatever you want without giving actual support to anyone, no?

Figgsrock2 said...

I must admit that I'm torn--I have a college buddy who writes for Conan out on strike, yet I've found myself enjoying what Conan has been doing since he's come back.

To go O/T for a minute:
Alan, for those of us who are Monk and Pysch fans, will you be doing a season preview of those shows, even though you are indifferent about them?

Mo Ryan said...

Stewart's show was much better the second night. I enjoyed Colbert a lot his first night back, but I found his second episode painfully dull. The gag about using an old script wasn't funny, and I hope is not an indication of things to come.

jim treacher said...

Without bitterness, Jon Stewart would lose all molecular cohesion.

filmcricket said...

If you aren'ta Nielsen family you can watch whatever you want without giving actual support to anyone, no?

So long as you don't post about it on the internets afterwards. I have no idea how much attention the AMPTP pays to websites and blogs, but I have to imagine some networks, at least, have an intern watching well-frequented sites to see how many people are posting about the shows. It may not mean anything in terms of their ad dollars, but then again, it may.

Wga supporter, if I may make a suggestion, at least don't watch any of these shows online, or at least not on the sites hosted by the networks. They might not be able to tell what you're watching on TV, but they can definitely count page hits. I've stayed away from The Daily Show website since the strike began, and it's been painful, but it feels like crossing a picket line to me. (I also didn't watch the show last night, but that's because David "axis of evil" Frum makes me want to throw things.)

jim treacher said...

Sounds peaceful!