After watching Jon Stewart’s opening segment on last night’s episode of The Daily Show, all I can say is – wow. There were no jokes or really humor of any kind. Hell, I don’t even think there was a script. It was just Jon Stewart saying exactly what he felt about the tragic shooting that left nine dead in Charleston, South Carolina.
It was surreal moment, especially for Comedy Central as a network. Stewart didn’t mince words as he gave one of the most powerful monologues I’ve ever watched.
“I didn’t do my job today. So I apologize,” Stewart said. “I got nothin’ for you in terms of jokes and sounds, because of what happened in South Carolina. And maybe if I wasn’t near the end of the run, or this wasn’t such a common occurrence, maybe I could’ve pulled out of the spiral. But I didn’t. And so, I honestly have nothing, other than just sadness.”
He then went on to talk about the racism in this country that far too many people pretend doesn’t exist. Stewart expressed the sad realization that even though there’s no denying what this was – an unspeakable act of violence committed by a domestic terrorist and driven by hate and racism – “we still won’t do jack sh*t about it.”
And he’s right. It’s like I wrote yesterday, some within our media didn’t even wait for most people to hear about this story before doing their best to divide us and politicize this attack. It didn’t even take 12 hours before I already saw many individuals who were too busy focusing on “which side” of a debate they were trying to win, people being driven by ego and pride rather than true remorse or sympathy. At that moment, all hope was lost that this event might help some wake up to the fact that we are all humans and it’s about damn time we stop judging one another by the color of our skin.
But I don’t think anyone summarized this entire situation better than Stewart did as he closed out his opening segment last night.
“This wasn’t a tornado. This was a racist,” Stewart said. “This was a guy with a Rhodesia badge on his sweater. I hate to even use this pun, but this one is black and white. There’s no nuance here.”
He then described how the Confederate flag still flies over South Carolina and many of the streets are named after those who fought so that African-Americans who drive on those streets everyday wouldn’t have the right to.
“That’s insanity. That’s racial wallpaper,” he continued. “You can’t allow that. Nine people were shot in a black church by a white guy who hated them, who wanted to start some sort of civil war. The Confederate flag flies over South Carolina, and the roads are named for Confederate generals. And the white guy’s the one who feels like his country’s being taken away from him.
“Al-Qaeda, all those guys – ISIS – they’re not sh*t compared to the damage that we can apparently do to ourselves, apparently on a regular basis,” Stewart concluded.
Last night was Jon Stewart at his absolute best, sadly toward the end of his brilliant run as host of the show.
Watch the segment below via Comedy Central: