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But this time, Stewart was in studio and, after some modifications from the Late Show wardrobe department, back behind a desk delivering a scorching takedown of Fox News in what was likely a welcome sight for fans who’ve missed Stewart this election season.
Stewart first popped up from under Colbert’s desk, joking that he’s usually sleeping there, as Colbert was discussing Thursday’s other big news story: Roger Ailes‘ resignation after being the target of a sexual harassment lawsuit and additional accusations of inappropriate behavior.
Both Colbert and Stewart spent years mocking Fox News but insisted they couldn’t react to Ailes‘ resignation while the camera was on them. But after the camera panned away, Colbert could be heard laughing and, after Stewart popped up, shadows indicated that the two were dancing and jumping up and down.
Then Stewart asked if he could talk about the election for a bit, but to do so, Stewart said, he needed to sit in Colbert’s chair. So the two swapped places and Colbert gave Stewart a jacket and clip-on tie to go with his gray t-shirt and jeans.
Stewart first offered his take on Trump’s speech (“This angry groundhog came out and he just vomited on everybody for an hour”) and the convention as a whole.
Then he got to his main argument and it was about gymnastics, but not the kind on display in the upcoming Rio Olympics, “the contortions that many conservatives will now have to do to embrace Donald J. Trump, a man who clearly embodies all the things that they have for years said that they have hated about Barack Obama.”
Stewart then aired footage of people on Fox News calling Obama inexperienced, divisive, thin-skinned and a raging narcissist.
“A thin-skinned narcissist with no government experience. Yes, that sounds exactly like Barack Obama,” Stewart said as a picture of Trump popped up on the left side of the screen.
And he proceeded to use Fox News anchor Sean Hannity, whom Stewart called “Lumpy,” claiming he forgot his name, to show how right-wing media is now “making the turn” to embrace Trump.
He aired footage of Hannity criticizing Obama for divisiveness, being locked on a Teleprompter, being too elite and not Christian because of his involvement with Rev. Jeremiah Wright; as well as footage of the Fox News host giving Trump a pass for not saying all Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers, praising Trump for using a Teleprompter effectively, calling Trump a “blue-collar billionaire” (Stewart: “That’s not a thing”) and criticizing the pope for saying Trump wasn’t Christian.
“Either Lumpy and his friends are lying about being bothered by thin-skinned, authoritarian, less-than-Christian readers-of-prompters being president or they don’t care as long as it’s their thin-skinned, prompter, authoritarian, tyrant, prompter narcissist,” Stewart summarized.
He then called out those who felt they “owned” the U.S. and want their country back.
“You just want that person to give you your country back. Because you feel that you’re this country’s rightful owners. There’s only one problem with that. This country isn’t yours. You don’t own it. It never was. There is no real America. You don’t own it,” Stewart said, getting fired up. “You don’t own patriotism; you don’t own Christianity; you sure as hell don’t own respect for the bravery and sacrifice of military police and firefighters. Trust me. I saw a lot of people on the convention floor in Cleveland with their blue lives matter rhetoric who either remained silent or actively fought against the 9/11 first responders bill reauthorization. I see you and I see your bullshit.”
“Those fighting to be included in the ideal of equality are not being divisive, those fighting to keep those people out are,” Stewart added, taking a minute to praise Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
In closing, Stewart said, “So Lumpy, you and your friends have embraced Donald Trump. Clearly the “c” next to your names don’t stand for “constitutional” or “conservative” but “cravenly, convenient—”
With that, an air horn went off and Colbert popped up saying it was an accident that he just made a loud noise preventing his colleague from likely cursing on live TV.
Stewart’s 10 minutes of media criticism included a dig at Arby’s and a reference to the Taylor Swift-Kanye West feud but being “out of the industry for a while,” Stewart said he didn’t really know what the latter was about. Watch the full Stewart segment below.
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