Watching ‘The Daily Show’ last night felt a bit like we were seeing Bizarro Jon Stewart. The strongly liberal host ripped into Democrats, lauded a speech from the late former National Rifle Association leader Charlton Heston, and he even reminisced with Jennifer Aniston about the disastrous date they had back in the early 1990s.
After haranguing the right wing in the days prior about the erroneously-named Ground Zero Mosque controversy, last night he made a point that he understood the sensitivities.
“Even though many innocent Muslims also died in the towers and the Pentagon – and the Pentagon has a mosque in it with no problems – you feel there should not be a mosque down there. At least symbolically, it doesn’t sit well with you, and I can accept that. I can respect that argument,” Stewart said.
He then invoked a similar controversy from back in 1999, when left-wingers (and he admitted that he probably would have been one of them) overreacted to a planned NRA convention in Denver a short time after the Columbine shootings, and played clips from a speech given by Heston that directly apply to the current debate. “The point is I was wrong and Heston was right, and if you replace ‘NRA’ with ‘Muslim community’ and ‘second amendment’ with ‘first amendment,’ he’s still right.”
“It gives me hope,” he continued. “Because if there’s anyone who can bring Muslims, Christians and Jews together, it’s Moses.”
Stewart later made a point of mocking Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ conspiratorial response to the controversy. “So your answer to an attack on freedom of religion is an investigation threatening to chill freedom of speech,” he noted, sardonically. “What is wrong with you people? There is an all-you-can-eat buffet of things you could be saying and doing right now to win the hearts and minds of the country, and instead you’re acting like… like f-ing Democrats.”
But after all that topical talk, Aniston was his guest, and instead of addressing any of her various recent controversies, they spent much of the interview talking about a time back in her early Friends days where Jon asked Jen out, and she apparently didn’t even realize it was a date.
“I asked you out. We went out to an Italian restaurant, and it was lovely. Here’s what was nice about it. You brought so many of your friends.” The crowd laughed, and he continued. “I remember thinking ‘she’s so excited to be on a date with me, she wants me to get to know her posse.’”
Jen then sheepishly smiled and said “That’s really sad,” claiming she was under the wrong impression. “Wasn’t it sort of like ‘hey, a group of us are going out, do you want to join?’ It’s unclear, but I just chose my commitment to friends.”
He later made light of his own embarrassment about the whole situation. “By the way, if this gets uncomfortable, do you want to invite other people into the interview?”