When all is said and done, there are three late night talk show hosts that should be considered la creme de la creme—Carson, Letterman, and now, Stewart. Jon is up there, man. He's way up there. And yes, it didn't hurt that he was able to blast those who deserved it with 10 and 12 letter expletives, even if those expletives were bleeped. Give the man credit. That's some cultural trailblazing right there!
One thing Stewart shared with both Carson and Letterman was the ability to take material that was rather stinko and turn it into comedy gold. All three of them made that look easy, and it's anything but. And I will greatly miss Jon's impressions of Dubya and his classic New York gangster “fuhgeddabout it” voice, which he used a lot.
My fave moment on Jon's final show was the one that took place after Colbert hit it out of the park with his perfect tribute to his old pal, and then all the old correspondents like Steve Carell, Ed Helms, John Oliver, and more came out and gave Stewart the group hug he so richly deserved. It was a special moment of genuine emotion, the kind that TV so badly wants to capture and so rarely does. Way cool.
My Jon bias now firmly established, let me mitigate it with some numbers, serious numbers that give us a footing in that nebulous world known as reality, because despite all the lib media love shown for Stewart, the truth is his finale was watched by about a quarter of those who watched the last shows of Letterman and Leno. Dave had 13 mill, Jay had 14, and Jon had 3.5, just to put things in fair perspective. That's the reality of CBS, NBC, and Comedy Central. Perhaps these numbers make Colbert's decision to take Letterman's job a bit more understandable.
Of course, the big number of the week had nothing to do with comedy. Or did it? It was the 24 mill racked up by the Republicans for Debate Numero Uno. 24 million! There's one guy, and one guy alone, who made that number happen. The guy who immediately crowed, “If I'm not on the stage, you get 2 million.”
So who moved in the polls after Debate One? Ted “Machine Gun” Cruz bumped up to 13 percent. Ben Carson moved up, somehow, to 11 percent. Carly Fiorina showed that you could make something happen at the J.V. debate with a six-point jump to 8 percent, and all of a sudden she's got some cred.
Jeb Bush and Scott Walker both got noogied a little, and dropped to 7. Gee, what a shame. And goddamn, Trump showed that style is still kickin' ass on substance at this stage of the game, as he hung tough with 23. Still the clear front runner, he's just making a big ole mess in the GOP kitchen right now, and it's a beautiful thing, if you're a Dem, to behold.