Who’s my pick to replace on Stewart? Don’t rush me.
I remember watching the first Saturday Night Live in 1975. I was in my first year of grad school, drove a spiffy new MG Midget, still had my real hair color (reddish-brown), weighed 107 pounds (another ship that sailed) and was a huge George Carlin fan: I used to hang with him at My Father’s Place on Long Island after his sets. When the show was first announced as NBC’s Saturday Night and with Carlin as guest host, I had to watch it. I’ve been a fan ever since, through the good years (Radner, Curtin, Belushi) and the what-were-they-thinking years — and the years when Eddie Murphy and Lorne Michaels’ return saved the show. You can imagine my joy and anticipation of seeing a 40th anniversary special. The audience was wall-to-wall stars, from Michael Douglas to Larry David to Sarah Palin to James Franco and I swear I saw Steven Spielberg.
Best Red Carpet Moments: Sarah Palin and Al Sharpton together again for the first time and Matt Lauer chatting with Jim Carrey who asked “Where are you hiding Brian Williams?”
Best Moments: The perennially adorable and talented Justin Timberlake rocking the opening number with Jimmy Fallon; Dan Aykroyd selling the Bass-O-Matic; Chris Rock’s tribute to Eddie Murphy (setting aside Eddie Murphy’s quasi-word salad); and Weekend Update with Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Jane Curtin.
More Best Moments: The ever-amazing Bill Murray as sleazy lounge singer Nick Ocean singing the theme from Jaws; Jim Carrey as the always-creepy Matthew McConaughey; Jerry Seinfeld’s Q&A with the audience.
Even More Best Moments: Melissa McCarthy hilariously channeling Chris Farley; the premature killing off of my personal fave, Jon Lovitz; Jack Nicholson just for being Jack Nicholson; Betty White in a lip-lock with Bradley Cooper; Maya Rudolph as more Beyonce than Beyonce; Miley Cyrus singing Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”; Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler singing to a video tribute to those moments when the cast lost it on live TV; and the perfect ending: Paul Simon’s tribute to the SNL Band and singing “Still Crazy After All These Years.”
There was also a touching tribute to Tracy Morgan and to the late stars John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Jan Hooks, Don Pardo, Andy Kaufman, Danitra Vance, Charles Rocket, Phil Hartman and Chris Farley, plus the many writers, directors and crew.
So-So Moments: Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, the underused Will Ferrell, Steve Martin, Keith Richards (glad to know he’s still alive), Chevy Chase trying to trip, Garrett Morris (who deserved better) and Emma Stone as Roseann Roseannadanna (nice try, kid).
WTF Moments: Kanye West and Sia (‘nuf said), Paul McCartney (who picked that song?), Taylor Swift (L.A. accent needs work, babe), Laraine Newman and the entire segment of The Californians (why?), Christopher Walken (duh-oh!) and Dakota Johnson (they’re really letting her host???).
No More Daily Show? Noooooo!
So one day, I’m standing in the back of the showroom at Caroline’s with its eponymous owner, Caroline Hirsch, while some young kid from Jersey was on her stage for the first time. She asks what I think and I reply with, “He’s a fucking gold mine!” The kid was Jon Stewart and the rest is all, well, history. Flash-forward 25 years and Stewart is the multi-Emmy, Peabody and every other award-winning star of The Daily Show. Now, after getting us all addicted to the truth, Stewart announces that he’s leaving the show. Why Jon, Why? Who will tell us what’s really going on in the world of politics if not you? Well, here’s my choice: John Fugelsang, comedian, actor and TV and radio host. Check him out and tell me what you think.