Classic Stewart, Colbert and Carell at your fingertips
If you didn't already know it, nine years of archived "Daily Show with Jon Stewart" footage is available on the fake news program's official Web site. As a loyal viewer who once spent two hours trying to find as many Carell-Colbert "Even Ste(v)phen" clips as possible on YouTube, the searchable database provides greater insight into Viacom's (Comedy Central's parent company) copyright infringement lawsuit earlier in the year. If the Viacom suits couldn't beat YouTube, they were going to join the game by boasting the ultimate "TDS" catalog. After all, they owned the clips. Kinda makes sense.
Think about that: more than 13,000 "Daily Show" clips on demand. This could mean serious changes in viewer habits and ad streams - which is what the writers have been barking about on the picket lines. As Dana Stevens writes, "When 'The Daily Show' does come back, I may well start watching even new episodes this way: at my desk in the morning, instead of on the couch at 11 o'clock at night. Multiply that defection by the size of the show's fan base and the subsequent migration of advertising dollars from screen to Web, and the writers' demand for a piece of the online action starts to make plenty of sense."
Because of the site's search capabilities, I was able to type in "September 11" and find Stewart's teary-eyed speech from Sept. 20, 2001 - the first show that aired following the destruction of the World Trade Center. It might be my all-time favorite TV moment - a comedian struggling with the idea that it's OK to be funny, even after such unprecedented devastation, yet succumbing to the reality that nine days later, there wasn't much to laugh about. Watching Stewart as he struggles to wrap his brain around what happened is honest, gripping TV. It also mirrors the country's collective disbelief, and more than six years later, resonates (even for the most cynical among us) on multiple emotional levels.
That said, this post wasn't meant to be a downer. So here's another classic "TDS" clip that also mirrors the country's disbelief, and more appropriately, mocks executive orders for reality-based rubbish. This clip is six years old, but just think: if we're lucky, the programming heads might steal every one of these ideas ("Charlton Heston's Makeout Vault!") while writers sit on their pencils ...
-- Thomas Rozwadowski, email@example.com