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Saturday, April 19, 2003  

Frank Rich praises The Daily Show's war coverage.

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Stewart caused a stir by shunning comedy entirely. He shut down "The Daily Show" for a week, then returned with a tearful monologue about the attack on his city. "This time," Karlin says, "we all thought at the beginning there's no way we're going to be able to do the war." The default position was to stick with jokes about the media. But the war itself increasingly became the subject, and the jokes about President George Bush depart from the late-night clich├ęs. The Bush on "Saturday Night Live" may still be frat-boy simple, wishing that "Shock and Awe" had been named "Tango Cash," but "The Daily Show" sees a slicker operator. After the president told the Iraqis in a subtitled TV address that they were "a good and gifted people" who "deserve better than tyranny and corruption and torture chambers," Stewart cited it as proof that "condescension knows no borders." Nor is the show taking at face value the White House's professed devotion to postwar Iraq. "We won," said Colbert in his "report" from Baghdad 10 days ago. "Rebuilding is for losers. Time to party! Then it's off to Syria for the next invasion."

I don't know, possibly I'm missing something, but what I've seen of The Daily Show here hasn't exactly left me gasping in awe at its genius. Possibly, though, the reason why I might be missing something is that here we only get the weekly 30-minute edit of the show on SBS and not the uncut daily thing, so maybe the really outstanding stuff is getting left out...

posted by James Russell | 3:29 PM


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