Nothing is sexier than a man with the perfect combination of intelligence, irreverence and wit – and nobody does intelligent, irreverent and witty political humor as well as the almighty Jon Stewart. Fortunately for us UCSB students, Stewart saw fit to share his talents with a filled-to-the-brim Thunderdome on Nov. 18, as he presented a stand-up act that exceeded everyone’s expectations.
The topics Stewart tackled ran the gamut from the recent election results to computer problems, with pit stops at the debate over gay marriage, the war in Iraq and the similarities between Joe Lieberman and Droopy Dog in between. True to form, Stewart hit each and every subject with his trademark combination of dry wit and fist-pounding, voice-raising, mic stand-moving passion, delivering hilarious comedy and heartfelt political punditry in a way that truly felt off the cuff, despite the clear and coherent organization of his routine.
Not that everything in Stewart’s act was pre-planned, of course. In fact, a good chunk of the show featured his improvised dialogues with the audience on topics such as drug use – Stewart’s confession that he did indeed inhale was met with cheers and a loud Thunderdome stomp from the audience – as well as the merits of UCSB – home to five “Nobel Peace Prize winners” according to a loud member of the audience. Of course, Stewart pointed out that, “If one of them was Kissinger, it doesn’t count.” During these improvised sections, Stewart’s true comedic talents really shined, as he managed to maintain the audience’s almost-constant hysterical laughter merely by engaging in conversation with members of the crowd.
Of course, seeing Stewart live is a lot like watching an extra-long episode of “The Daily Show” from a really, really good seat in the studio. But, the raunchy routine he presented on Saturday night would never have passed the network censors, even at Comedy Central, and that was the beauty of it. Throughout the show, Stewart peppered his political humor and man-on-the-street monologues with plenty of obscenities, licentious jokes, the abundant use of the word “dude” and enough pauses, gestures and eye contact with the audience – hard to do in the cavernous venue – to make it feel like he was just having a casual conversation with each individual member of the crowd. Sure, it was a casual conversation sprinkled with a generous helping of hilarious impersonations – Stewart’s Bush impression has really reached perfection by now, especially in person – great jokes and scathing political commentary. But it felt like a casual conversation nonetheless.
Ultimately, the only flaw in Stewart’s show was that the conversation ended far too quickly. Because, let’s face it – with intelligence, irreverence and wit, Stewart is pretty damn sexy. And nothing is worse than a rendezvous with a man that good ending that quickly. It’s too bad it couldn’t last forever.