The End of Hope: Jon Stewart Live
On Friday, we journeyed to . . . scenic . . . Rosemont, IL, to see Jon Stewart. The only bad there is that we were not seeing him in Minneapolis with our peeps up there, but after our cross-country journey with the hound, that was just 10,000 lakes too far. This is the second time we've seen him, so we were prepared for his weeness.
This show was more . . . subdued (not quite what I'm looking for) than the last, which I think was in April, 2005. (I seem to recall that it was the same weekend that JPII died.) I'm not sure whether it's fatherhood, 2 more years of the Bush "presidency," or just being in Rosemont that might have sapped his will to live, but the show had a distinct "Fuck Hope," vibe to it.
As seems to be typical (if "typical" can be inferred from 2 shows), he started out political by mentioning the Cubs/Sox cross-town series. (The Sox had just whizzed game 2 down their legs.) Too soon, Jon, too soon. He also introduced the running Barack Obama gag early on and wound up on an Al Gore tangent, courtesy of an audience shout out to which he responded, "Al Gore isn't eating like he's running anywhere. . . . If you see him at the dessert table, remind him that conservation is a virtue." (Without wishing to read to much into commentary on Al's decided doughiness, which I think he wears well [but I would, wouldn't I?], it strikes me that Dear Jon is one of the few male public figures I can think of who might be working through a few body image issues.)
He then moved on to criticize the conservation movement as incredibly optimistic. Because the the world will end not with the Rapture (although that'd be cool, because the rest of us would be left with all the stuff the righteous will leave behind), but in some kind of super sciencey accident and the words "Hey! It worked!"
After some well-spent time on Dick Cheney (how does one edit that down to 6 minutes, I wonder. So. Much. Material.), he worked his way into religion, globally and personally. The midwest collectively embarrassed itself with the resounding silence in response to the awesome Pope/KKK joke. The fact that my honking, horrible laugh was the equivalent of chirping crickets over the silence has nothing to do my assessment of the joke, I assure you. And, dude, seriously, on the heels of the remarkable sanguinity with which the audience received the piñata-fucking story, we just look like the creepiest comedy-goers evar. We can do better, people.
Finally, he did a brief bit on the personal, reflecting on the corrosion of children and the simultaneous evolution of sarcasm. Seriously great story. It had child alcoholism, child larceny, and a Doodle Pro Jihad. And for his encore, after beating down our faith in anything at all, he restored it with a simple anecdote about a homeless guy beating off on his stoop. I smell a Pulitzer.