jon-stewart

Amy Schumer Didn’t Back Down on Mass Shootings With Jon Stewart

At the beginning of her appearance, Stewart mentioned the incident in which a Louisiana man opened fire during a screening of Schumer’s movie “Trainwreck” and killed two people. Schumer said that she was shaken by the fact that people were killed while watching her movie. As a result, she plans to be outspoken about reforming our gun laws, including a call to mandate stronger background checks on people who want to purchase guns.

Jon Stewart, Wyatt Cenac, and White Liberal Racism

In two days, liberal broadcasting darling, mediocre stand-up comedian, and sexy silver fox daddy Jon Stewart will make his final appearance as host of the Daily Show. The final 50-minute episode, to be aired this Thursday, will feature a cadre of former Daily Show writers, anchors, and guests, and will take  a moment to mock the first Republican primary debate, airing an hour before the show, and then descend into a quivering, tear-stained orgy of love, back-patting, clip airing, and tender, weeping remembrance.

Early press about the finale revealed that every single former Daily Show staffer was invited to appear on the final show. So, whether you’re a current Daily Show devotee or, like most of us, a jaded liberal Millennial whose need for the show ended along with the Bush Administration, this finale will have something for you.

Stephen Colbert will clutch Jon Stewart to his bosom, clucking like a mother hen; Larry Wilmore will run his strong, capable fingers through Jon Stewart’s perfectly steely hair, while softly cooing; Samantha Bee will massage Jon Stewart’s pert buttocks, and Steve Carrel will make an appearance as the long-missed Produce Pete, and slide grapes and cucumber slices into Jon Stewart’s mouth while Ed Helms fans Stewart with a palm frond.

It will be a lovey, dovey, self-congratulatory fuckfest of the highest order. And each and every one of us is invited, along with every single comedian and actor who has Jon Stewart to thank for their career. However, there is one Daily Show writer and correspondent who may be conspicuously absent from the fracas: Wyatt Cenac.

You see, Wyatt Cenac has some scruples about his past relationship with everybody’s hot Jewish stepdad. On an episode of Marc Maron’s What the Fuck podcast, aired in Mid-July, Cenac described his working relationship with Stewart as tense and chilly from the start. Three years into his time at the Daily Show, Cenac approached Stewart with concerns about Stewart’s impression of former Republican Primary Candidate and Infamous Pokémon Fan, Herman “999” Cain.

At the time, Cenac was the Daily Show’s only black writer, and when the Herman Cain caricature was developed, he was on vacation. Cenac came back to the show to find a huge blowout, initiated by none other than Fox News, accusing Jon Stewart of racist minstrelsy. Stewart planned on defending himself with a segment called “Everything I Do is Racist”, marshalling up one of the favorite defenses of every obnoxious, Generation X ignorant whiteboy who likes to jump into discussions that don’t concern him: “I’m Racist Against Everybody, Man, Get Off My Fucking Dick”. It’s a derailment that we white people, being dipshits, fucking love.

But Wyatt Cenac didn’t buy it. In the writer’s room, he carefully chided Stewart, and admitted that he had, in fact, found the Herman Cain impression to be cartoonish and racist. And yes, I know what you’re thinking: Herman Cain is an actual human cartoon. But he’s a very unique, absurdist, Pokémon-loving, math-hating cartoon of a man, and certainly an individual in his own right – not the generic Amos n’ Andy imitation that Stewart was playing him as.

And when confronted with that fact, Stewart reportedly blew up. Cenac says that Stewart screamed “Fuck off, fuck off, fuck off, I’m done with you” and stormed off into his office. When Cenac followed, to ask Stewart if he’d just been fired, an extensive, fifteen-minute long screaming match ensued, culminating in several of the dogs that were on set that day running into the office, whimpering and having anxiety attacks, trying to break the fight up.

Cenac left the fight with Stewart shaken and tired. He reportedly went out of the office, sat on the steps, and began crying. He quit writing for the Daily Show soon after. For three years, he kept mum about why he left the show. Then, for about ten minutes in the middle of a one hour, forty minute interview, and after considerable prodding from host Marc Maron, Cenac let the truth slip.

Many people are holding Cenac in contempt for airing his dirty laundry, especially at a time when most are preparing to send Jon Stewart off with fond memories and gratitude. I’ve heard people call Cenac’s revelations “inappropriate”, “rude”, and “poorly timed”. I’ve heard him called “angry” and “bitter”. I heard a guy proclaim that Cenac was ‘delusional’, and declare Jon Stewart, quote, “The least racist person in America”.

Of course, all of the people who said these things were white. And dipshits.

This reaction is exactly the kind of tone-policing that keeps black people and other poc from speaking up when racist shit is going on. Setting exact parameters of how and when grievances may be aired is a kind of emotional subterfuge that prevents honest conversations about race from happening. The implicit message is that if you’re black, you can point out racism, but only in people we hate. You can comment on racism, but only if you do it politely. You can tell the truth, but only at the right time. And if you have a white friend who gets things right most of the time, who cares about prejudice and holds liberal values, and who is your boss – you shut the fuck up when he does something awful, and be grateful for what table scraps of equality you get.

This gets to the heart of how being a white dude works in America. When white dudes have some of the right opinions and can at least pretend to not be assholes, we shower them with praise and attention and status, which, paradoxically, is the food and fuel of privileged assholes. And by virtue of their whiteness and maleness, dudes in America are already pretty strongly inclined towards entitled assholedom. So when we massage their egos by calling them “good” and “right”, they get even worse at recognizing when they’ve done bad or been wrong.

When people like Jon Stewart throw us a bone of progressiveness, we cling to it, and suck the marrow out of it, desperately, like we think it’s gonna bust a nut of equality all over our faces. But that’s never gonna happen. The reason we feed so desperately on these table scraps is that we’re starving.

This is not the first time Jon Stewart has come under fire for being a privileged shitbag, after all. For years, there were no women in the writer’s room at all, and no female correspondents. Former female staffers described Stewart as chilly and discouraging. When female writers were fired, they were given the news not by a formal announcement, but by reporting to the office and finding another writer sitting at their former desk.  But hey, Jon Stewart’s made some great abortion jokes over the years, so who are we to complain, right?

Cenac’s comments, if you’ll listen to them, are heartfelt and delicate and raw. They remind us that if you’re white, there is no point at which you get a pass for being “good enough”. You don’t deserve a gold star for trying, one time; you haven’t earned an anti-racist trophy just for running on the field.

If you’re white and you give a shit about racism, then you, I, we have to work constantly to not be shit bags, or at least be less of a shit bag than we used to be, or than our forebears were. Every moment is a choice to either talk over the voices and concerns black people, or to listen and open up to the possibility that we are being dickholes.

And if you think confronting your implicit prejudices on a regular basis is hard…well, then you’ve never experienced not having a choice. On an episode of the Daily Show aired on August 28th, 2014, while reporting about the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Jon Stewart said the following: “Racism is here and it is constant.  You’re tired of hearing about it? Imagine how fucking exhausting it is living it.”

Like many well-intention white people, Jon Stewart knows how to speak out against racism. But it’s time he – and all of us – learn how to listen.

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(this is a test piece for a new live lit show a friend is developing)

In the mid-20th century, America was full of artists telling hard truths: Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye — a list that did justice to the era would fill pages. We had braver political leaders then too, and of many different sorts: Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Gloria Steinem, Ralph Nader. Times, of course, have changed. In the early days of this century it often felt as if Jon Stewart and Bruce Springsteen were the only people telling the truth about anything. We may now be entering a season of renewal, but its buds are still tender and few, and need new artists to water them.

As Stewart prepares to hang up his proverbial boxing gloves, we would do well to recognize how important he’s been

vine

Can’t believe there’s only 3 episodes left! Jon Stewart is gonna go out in a blaze of glory. 

thehollywoodtimes.net
Farm Sanctuary to Honor Jon and Tracey Stewart, Morrissey at New York City Gala  | TheHollywoodTimes

“Farm Sanctuary announces today that Jon and Tracey Stewart and Morrissey will be among the honorees at their Gala, which will take place on October 24 at The Plaza in New York City. The Stewarts and Morrissey, who will be in attendance to receive the awards, will be recognized for their efforts to promote compassion for farm animals, who comprise the largest single population of abused and exploited animals on Earth.”

Press release on FarmSanctuary.org.