Jon Stewart joined Trevor Noah on The Daily Show Thursday night where he chatted about his new film Irresistible, the removal of Confederate statues and the world’s continuous battle with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Stewart and Noah first engaged in a candid discussion about the outcry for the removal of Confederate statues amid the ongoing nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality.
“People say you’re erasing history. By the way, I don’t remember the Conservatives during the Iraq war, when the Saddam Hussein statue fell in Baghdad, I don’t recall Republicans going, ‘You don’t want erase history! That is your history! Leave it be,'” Stewart explained to Noah, adding that he believes the “plaque on the statue is not history.”
“It doesn’t say, ‘this motherfucker thought that he should fight a war to ensure that he could have slaves,'” he said. “We put it up to instill fear in the people that we kept as slaves and their descendants,” Stewart added, arguing that the removal of the statues “should have been done in short order by a normal functioning society years ago.”
The late-night host and comedian later discussed COVID-19 and though “all over the world, people are dealing with the same thing,” Noah argues that “America might be the only country where it’s seen as a political issue as opposed to a pandemic.” “It seems like something you can choose to believe in or not,” Noah said.
Speaking of the virus, Stewart added that he finds issue with the outcry over wearing masks. “The mask thing is kind of what blows my mind because you know surgeons wear them in operating rooms and they don’t wear them because they drive Volvos and sip chai tea,” Steward explained. “I just want to say to people on the mask thing, ‘next time you’re having an operation and the surgeon comes in with washed hands and mask, just don’t be a pussy. Don’t be some little puss. You take off that mask and you unwash your hands and you stick your paws in my open gaping wound cause apparently sanitary conditions are a liberal myth.”
Later on, Stewart discussed his new film Irresistible — he directed and wrote the screenplay — which stars Steve Carell and Rose Byrne as campaign strategists on opposing sides of a small-town heartland mayoral race. Of his political satire film, Stewart explained why he didn’t “want to make a movie about the political moment.”
“I feel like that’s The Daily Show and that’s what you guys do so well is you do the weather every night, you come out and you talk about the political moment and you bring the funny and the insight and the context to the political moment. I really wanted to think about it as the climate and the system,” he said.
Throughout his film, Stewart says he wanted to center on the “idea that we have kind of created this complex of media and moneyed interests and politicians and they all work and enrich each other.” “There’s very little accountability and it grows. You know those types of symbiotic structures don’t dismantle themselves,” he said.
Of the current political climate, Stewart says he feels optimistic about the “talented, committed energized people ” who are “taking the reigns of these really rotted out husk of institutions.” “You get the sense that they’re committed to rebuilding them in a manner that is going to create a studier foundation.”
He went on to emphasize that “so much of this country is what’s essential.” “All the people in this country who are essential to its functioning are the lowest paid,” he said. “The pendulum has sung away from valuing work.” He also expressed empathy for the many whose health insurance is tied to their jobs and have to rely on food stamps. “That’s not really freedom. We have to find a way to make those in this country, who are essential, to give them more liberty and more liberty comes from being able to live a life that is built on granite and not on quicksand.”
Watch more for Stewart and Noah’s interview below.