Sometimes the Daily Show is a celebration of ignorance

First – I really like “The Daily Show”. Sometimes the jokes are inspired, they have some of the better talk-show bits, and host Jon Stewart is both funny and smart, and often asks the questions I’d like to ask of guests.

But – every time they talk about anything to do with space, they make one of three jokes: a) that space scientists are nerdy virgins; b) that any space program activity is a waste of money; or c) that nothing we learn from space probes is interesting. Tonight, for instance, they described NASA’s new Gravity Probe B satellite as “NASA’s latest insult to the homeless”. What the hell is that supposed to mean? That somehow, if NASA had no budget, things would be better for homeless people? (They also confused General Relativity with the famous equation E=MC(2), but I’ll give them a mulligan on that one.)

I know “The Daily Show” is just a self-described “fake news” show, for the purpose of comedy. It’s just that their comedy is usually pretty sharp, yet on this one topic it’s consistently lame and based on unfunny, false, hackneyed cliches.

Has anybody else noticed this?

The joke being that we spend billions and billions on NASA for things that you can argue don’t benefit anyone.

I’m not sure how that amounts to a “celebration of ignorance.” Comedy doesn’t celebrate knowledge, it just mocks things. That’s what satire is for. I’ve heard it said that all comedy is conservative by nature because it tears everything down. I haven’t seen tonight’s episode yet- yeah, they do that often. The last space items I remember from them didn’t do this (they were about Mars; one had a correspondent go to the Mars 2112 restaurant in Times Square and treat it like news, and in the other Jon Stewart had fun with the way one scientist talked like Groucho Marx). Yeah, the jokes are simple, but don’t read too much into it. It’s just humor.

I winced a bit at the joke the OP mentions as well.

I watch The Daily Show and Letterman pretty regularly, and I’ve noticed that the jokes that tick me off are the ones that make light of subjects I personally take seriously. (No, I did not need a Ph.D. in psychology to figure this out. I’m just naturally observant.) I.e., I’m sure all of their jokes offend someone; the ones that make light of the space program, and one or two other subjects, are just the ones that get under my skin.

I’m sure Martha Stewart’s family and friends have long since been ordered by their cardiologists to turn off the late-night talk shows.

I’m very much pro-space program, and I think “insult to the homeless” is pretty funny. It’s not particularly true or accurate, IMO, but it doesn’t have to be to be funny. The thing I like about the Daily Show is that they make fun of everything, even stuff I like and/or support. I don’t see that as “celebrating ignorance.” Hell, I’m just happy to see the space program get any media coverage, even if it’s in the fake media. Besides which, if the Daily Show started treating any particular government program or public figure with special respect or deference, I’d be greatly disappointed. That’s not what I watch that show for.

If you let it tick you off, pretty soon you won’t be laughing at anything!
Heck, I cringe whenever he makes a joke about Kerry, because I loathe the thought of anything making Kerry’s chances more tenuous in the fall. But everyone is game. You smile ruefully and say, okay, good one. Next joke.

I’ve noticed the TDS flip-flops on a lot of issues, depending on what’s funniest. For instance, they’ve ridiculed both gay marriage and those who oppose it.

In the many interviews I’ve read with Stewart, he consistantly says that they’re shooting for laughs not applause.

You get up in front of an audience and say X is a great injustice and has to be stopped- people will cheer. You get up and crack wise about X- you get a laugh.
TDS’ goal is to score laughs and there are seemingly no sacred cows.

I didn’t think last night’s show was that funny (caveat: I was half asleep during it), but it seems that most of this week has been Stewart mugging for the crowd. I love the show and hope that either a) I wake up enough to enjoy it or b) it gets back on track soon. Maybe a little less Samantha Bee.

If I hear him say, “I got nothin’!” one more time, I’m finding something else to watch at 8 o’clock. Been VERY lame lately. But I did like the space joke!

Whats yer problem with Sammy Bee? :mad:

“But I’ll always regret that Rwandan thing.”-- Bill Clinton

What about when he said, after saying that the spaceprogram spent all sorts of money on a new space probe, “What, they have not proven it yet? Great job, Einstien”. The thing being proven was of course general relativity.

This joke makes no sense because:
A) They already have proven it (what do you think made the guy famous in the first place?!?)
B) They have been planning to do this space probe all along

Do your research, Planck

That project took over 40 years and employed thousands of people. Think how many more homeless there would be without it! (I mean what else can you do with a physics degree? Nyuk, nyuk.)

Yeah it bugs me, but only because it hits a little close to home. If my husband wasn’t part of the project I’d probably be slappin’ my knee over it.

No scientific theory is ever proved; it can only be disproved by contradictory evidence. No amount of evidence that agrees with the theory can ever prove that we won’t find evidence that will someday disprove it. The process of science works because we are constantly testign the predictions of theories to see if we can find any flaws, so we can replace flawed theories with better theories.

GR is wrong. I would bet my mortal soul on it. The best theories are still only an approximation of reality. Assuming that we keep looking, somebody, someday, will find that one if GR’s predictions, under some special set of circumstances, doesn’t match the observed result. And then they’ll explore the failure of GR, and understand it, and develop a better theory.

On the sobject of the Daily Show, eh, I try not to get too upset when somebody takes aim at one of the heifers my personal herd of sacred cows. The Daily Show doesn’t pull punches with anybody; I respect them for that.


Hunh? Conservatism is all about protecting things from being torn down, to the point of paranoia.

Lame? You guys think The Daily Show’s been a bit lame lately?

I have 4 words for you:


(I’ll leave it to you all to wonder if I’m citing that as evidence of lameness or non-lameness. :stuck_out_tongue: )

It’s ‘conservative’ in the sense that it ridicules anybody who tries to change the status quo, makes fun of progress, etc. Of course, The Daily Show also mocks the status quo, so maybe it’s nihilistic. Whatever. All I know is if the Daily Show writers got a hold of this post, they’d be making fun of me, too. :cool:

Okay, maybe I’m overreacting. I understand that anything’s fair game for a satirical show (Dennis Miller gave up being a satirist when he decided Bush was off-limits). But there have to be better ways to make fun of the space program. I’m just tired of the same jokes. Maybe I should take it upon myself to come up with some new material.

Well said.

I agree that I laugh less at the things I feel more strongly about. I also agree that The Daily Show should keep doing it. It’s like a conservative guy watching a guy burn a flag and defending the act to his buddies.
But it seems to me that they are reaching a lot more to rag on conservatives. It seems more obvious in Jon Stewart’s interviews. It seems like he’s pushing a liberal agenda sometimes.
The John Stossel interview was a good example of what I mean. He seemed to like Stossel and agree with him mostly, but, when Stossel said something about corporations being good for America, Stewart seemed to want to treat Stossel differently.
I don’t consider myself a conservative so I don’t think I’m imagining this but it’d be nice to know either that others are sensing it too or that it’s all in my head (like those pesky voices).
Sorry if this is a hijack.

Keep in mind that conservatives are the ones in power right now, thus making them far more likely to be the subject of ridicule. Don’t forget the comedic boon that was the Clinton administration, after all. :slight_smile:

True SNec. And I do remember the feeding frenzy that was the Clinton administration.
Maybe I’m just imagining it.

Just a word of Caution from the Moderator: This thread is about whether the DAILY SHOW is funny. If the thread degenerates into another political finger-pointing and insult thread, it will be closed pronto. You want a thread like that, go over to the Great Debates Forum and you’ll find 'em aplenty. Here, we talk arts and entertainment. OK?