The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

I was so bored yesterday afternoon, marooned by incessant rain, that I caught "The Daily Show with John Stewart" for the first time in years.

It sucked. Sucked hard. Really really bad.

I used to consider this show to be bullet-proof, because it had news and current events as reliable comedic source material. Something ludricrous happens every single day, so naturally a news parody show should have an unending supply of material to work with.

Unfortunately, the writing has to hold up, and at this point, the writing just plain stinks. They pick up on some Bush press conference or public appearance, then proceed to milk it far longer than they have to, just because they don't feel like doing more than a couple of news items. Stewart doesn't help; he's pretty much going through the motions. And the live studio audience is a hindrance in my eyes; they prod them to go nuts over absolutely nothing, so Stewart feels compelled to showboat for the crowd. All adds up to pretty lukewarm stuff. Even the Moment of Zen sucked!

On the plus side, the one-on-one interview was pretty good. Stewart seems to do really well with that; it's a natural flow when he chat it up with his guest, and doesn't seem as scripted as other talk shows (although I'm sure it is to some extent). But it's not nearly enough to carry the whole show.

I'll admit, I liked the show a lot more when Craig Kilborn was on it in the first couple of years, when they had all those odd components to it like Godstuff. I don't think it has to morph back to that. But right now, the writing sucks, and it'll be a cold day in Hell before I waste another 30 minutes of my life watching this dreck.