The Daily Show is not live TV, so when Jon Stewart responded Wednesday to Anthony Weiner’s inability to identify “with certitude” whether a certain Twitter photo was of his own crotch, Stewart noted that the show had not had time to generate a full segment. The show made up for it last night, with an opening segment that managed to fold in Tom Brokaw, Don Rickles and a slow-jamming-the-news session in which Stewart wrestled with reporting on his friend’s embarrassment, with the aid of a soul singer.
I present this on the one hand because it’s simply funny. (See the full episode at TDS’s website.) But also because it works so much in: what’s newsworthy about the story, what’s ridiculous about it, the surreality of Weiner’s interviews, Stewart’s frustration with his friend’s caginess, the murkiness of the facts in the case, the conflict over spending time on it and the absurdly rich comic potential of the situation. “Comedians don’t have friends!” devil Rickles tells Stewart. “They have ex-wives and irritable bowel syndrome!” And at least in this room, a breathlessly laughing audience.