Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart
Screenshot: The Late Show

Since his retirement from the late-night wars, you never know where Jon Stewart is going to pop up. Cow on the loose in Queens? Stewart to the rescue. Congress is dragging its feet on reauthorizing funding for ill 9/11 first responders? Hi Congress, Jon Stewart is here, and he’s pissed off. And, on last night’s Late Show, Stewart took his fight for the people he called “the first heroes, and veterans, and victims of the great, trillions of dollars war on terror” once more to the underside of Stephen Colbert’s hosting desk, literally popping up beside Colbert at the top of the show to continue his efforts from the podium of his former employee’s new gig.

You might ask why Stewart is all bent out of shape. Wait, actually, you wouldn’t ask that unless you’re a smirking, soulless ghoul who’s taken advantage of a broken political system to appoint yourself the sole gatekeeper of what does and doesn’t get done in the United States Senate so you can advance your right-wing agenda and that of your dimwitted reality show white supremacist boss. Mitch McConnell though—that’s his jam, according to Stewart. Responding to the Senate Majority Leader’s condescending interview on the vapid morning show of GOP propaganda outlet Fox—in which McConnell not only asked why Stewart’s so worked up, but also claimed Congress was just, like, super-busy right now—Stewart first . . . apologized.

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“I feel like an asshole,” deadpanned Stewart, drawing on those Playing By Heart third-lead acting chops of his, “I didn’t know that they were busy. I didn’t mean to interrupt them with their jobs.” After getting a requisite “McConnell looks like a turtle” dig out of the way (“Some red meat for the base,” Stewart confessed to Colbert), Stewart went surgical with his strikes against the person whose smug hijacking of democracy has seen McConnell and his Republican cronies “jack us around” when it comes to fully funding the first responders medical fund. “You love the 9/11 community when they serve your political purposes,” said Stewart, all mirth draining from his face even as his comedy instincts saw him go in for the kill. Since the House was shamed into action, unanimously passing the bipartisan bill out of committee after Stewart’s blistering rebuke last week, the currently unemployed late-night legend demanded that McConnell pass a standalone bill. “Meet with them tomorrow, and don’t make them beg for it,” urged Stewart.

Winding up with a flourish, Stewart then employed the metaphor of McConnell’s house burning down to continue his campaign of mocking politicians into doing the bare-bones minimum right thing. “If the next time we have a war, or you’re being robbed, or your house is on fire, and you make that desperate call for help, don’t get bent out of shape if they show up late, with fewer people than you thought were gonna pay attention, and don’t actually put it out. Just sort of leave it there smoldering for another five years.” Staring into the camera with thoroughly unconcealed contempt, Stewart concluded, “I’m sure they’ll put it out for good when they feel like getting around to it. No offense.”

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