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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.”
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.
(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.
“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.”