John Stewart is an American comedian journalist, and his show, The Daily Show with John Stewart, is the perfect example of exactly what he does for a living. The episode in particular that I will analyze is the January 13th episode of The Daily Show, this episode focuses mainly on the chemical spill that contaminated the water in West Virginia, the new mayor of New York City and his pizza eating tendencies, the gay rights movement in Uganda, along with movie producer Roger Ross Williams, and it ended with news about Colorado and it’s recent legalization of marijuana. He presents actual news stories to the public; however, he puts a comic spin on all of the stories, so while we get the news and stay up to date on current events, we can laugh and enjoy ourselves while doing it.
The show starts really professional, looking like an actual newscast, with the American colors, a beautiful big desk that John Stewart sits at, a giant display of the world in the background ( which spins the wrong way), and also with his appearance in a nice suit and tie. However, as the stories that he discusses unfold, we see that his “newscast” may be more humorous than it is newsworthy. For example, as he was discussing the issue of the chemical spill in West Virginia that left residents without safe water for up to ten days in some places, he goes on little rants that keep the story upbeat and funny. Specifically, while talking about the chemical tanks, he went to tell us about how the tanks have been maintained and inspected, and then he looked and his paper and said, “IN 1991!” He changed the tone and inflection of his voice to make it humorous to the audience. Then, he showed the actual map of the location of the chemical plant and water treatment thoroughly pointing out the fact that the chemical plant is upstream from the water plant, and how that doesn’t make sense in any possible scenario.
After he talked about West Virginia’s issues, he showed a recent news clip of a scandal involving New York’s new mayor Bill de Blasio, making the audience think that it was a pretty big deal, and it turned out to be an entire segment about how de Blasio eats his pizza with a fork and knife, rather than using his hands “like a real new Yorker”. This is more evidence of how he could be considered more of a comedian than he is a journalist.
John Stewart then brought in the esteemed movie producer and director of God Loves Uganda, Roger Ross Williams, onto the show to get his opinion about the recent gay rights movement in Uganda. Although Stewart and Williams did keep the interview light-hearted and entertaining, this segment was definitely more of the serious journalist side of The Daily Show, The questions and responses actually had to do with the current situation in Uganda.
Then, in his typical fashion, John Stewart ends the show with word about the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, and how the biggest problem that the state is having is that the local government cannot keep the mile 420 signs on the interstates from being stolen.
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