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Editorial: Jon Stewart's Dilemma

Dallas Morning News - Dallas, TX, USA - It's hard to figure out who's more wickedly funny: Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart. Both late-night TV smarties can split your sides, whether it's mock conservative Colbert, with his smack-down of liberals, or genuinely liberal Stewart, with his smiling skewering of conservatives.

Their Comedy Central shows remain so hot they're regular stops for politicians trying to sell themselves to voters. Just last week, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama risked Mr. Colbert's lampooning in order to make their pitches before the Pennsylvania primary.

Both hosts have perfected what The New York Times calls a "wry, anti-political style." But while we laugh along with other Americans at these two, as well as the cracks of David Letterman and Jay Leno, we note that it's not enough to simply puncture the pretenses of politicians.

Politics is hard work. And it's also hard to walk the fine line between satire – even harsh satire – that serves the greater good and satire that inspires easy cynicism.

Satire done well uses the comic's tools to drive a larger point, usually about how absurd the bill of goods someone, including Washington someones, is selling us. Satire gone overboard leaves you feeling as if everyone's selling you a bill of goods – so what's the point of voting, campaigning and contributing?

After years of honing his style, Mr. Stewart does the best job of finding the satirists' sweet spot. He often uses his piercing wit to offer illumination about the latest campaign flap, Iraqi situation or Washington bigwig. He even once lambasted CNN's Crossfire hosts for trivializing politics.
Source : Originally Published Dallas Morning News - Dallas, TX, USA, Apr 20, 2008
Celebrities : Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert
Categories : Actor News, Comedy, Comedian News, Celebrity News
Posted 4/20/2008 09:04:41 AM | Permalink
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