As soon as the news broke on Friday that Rick Sanchez called Jon Stewart a bigot, everyone was waiting with bated breath for Monday night’s ‘Daily Show.’ When Sanchez got fired from CNN later that day for implying that Jews run the media, people started to expect an epic smackdown. So perhaps those smelling blood in the water were let down when Stewart came back on the air and only mildly mocked Sanchez – and actually offered a bit of a defense of the man: “I think the guy’s probably got a good heart.”
Stewart painted the picture of Sanchez as a bumbling but well-meaning dope like Michael Scott from ‘The Office.’ “I want to clarify something here,” Stewart said. “We weren’t making fun of Rick Sanchez because of some slight to his ethnicity. It’s just that we here see him as kind of a complex television character who is flawed but fascinating to watch every week.”
Cue a montage of Steve Carell’s Michael saying silly things intermingling with clips of Sanchez saying similarly silly things. “They’re the same guy. I’m telling you, they’re the same guy. Carell is leaving ‘The Office,’ NBC’s looking to replace him, Danny McBride ain’t gonna do it… Sanchez is available!”
His summation of the mess was surprisingly kind, given all the expectation. “If CNN got rid of Rick Sanchez because they didn’t like his show, fine. We weren’t that crazy about it either. But if they fired him for making some intemperate statements and some banal Jew-baiting, I gotta tell you, I’m not even sure Sanchez believes what he was saying, because I know when Rick Sanchez has time to think things through and doesn’t necessarily think he’s about to get fired anyway, he has a slightly different take on the topic.”
Then, in the true ‘Daily Show’ tradition of unearthing old clips that contradict the media’s preferred narrative, he showed a segment of Sanchez’s August 11 show, wherein he takes a Nazi to task for referring to the “Jew media,” calling him a hateful bigot and saying it’s important to call people out like that.
“Rick Sanchez,” Stewart said, “consider yourself un-busted!”