“Jon Stewart entering the No Spin Zone! Hide the children — pull the shades!” Bill O’Reilly joshed at the top of his Fox News Channel show tonight, by way of warning his fans the Comedy Central star was visiting again. Stewart stopped by as part of his media tour to promote his new film Rosewater. But the host started The O’Reilly Factor segment asking Stewart, “What happened last week?”
O’Reilly asked him if he’d voted. Relevant because, on Election Day, Stewart caused a social media kerfuffle when CNN’s Christiane Amanpour asked him if he’d voted and, to her surprise, he said he had not. That night Stewart had to do some damage control, apologizing to his The Daily Show viewers and explaining he had meant it as a joke but should not make light of such an important responsibility.
But O’Reilly also tried to get Stewart to say for whom he’d voted. “I write in Che Guevara,” Stewart snarked.
“He’s dead. You know that?” O’Reilly responded.
“Oh. My. God. What am I going to do with all those T-shirts now?!”
And so the long night wore on. Stewart tried to pull off an Ali/Frazier Election Night gag, but O’Reilly stepped on it. O’Reilly tried to joke that his job was to make his guests look good, but Stewart stepped on it. O’Reilly made a crack about the Democrats having been slaughtered last week because Stewart’s callow, pot-smoking audience did not show up to vote. Stewart said all the GOP-ers in Congress got together at a Sizzler six years ago and agreed they would undercut anything Obama tries to do, even if it is to the detriment of the country. O’Reilly insisted any undocumented people in this country who watch The Daily Show be deported immediately.
Finally, they got around to discussing Stewart’s movie. “This is a serious movie, so some of your fans might be going in, ‘Jon Stewart!’ and they’re going to be coming out going, ‘That’s not what I expected!’” O’Reilly forecast.
“They’re going to be high – what do they care?” Stewart scoffed.
“You should have put a couple of zombies in there. … Maybe zombie could have eaten Rosewater,” O’Reilly suggested.
“Nobody from your audience was available to do that,” Stewart snapped back. “Boom!” he added for good measure.
“There you go! I knew it! Jon Stewart!” O’Reilly smiled.
“You’re gonna go – full price. No senior discount,” Stewart snickered.
“Callow youth, Stewart. Live it. Learn it. Love It,” O’Reilly responded, swinging but missing his mark. Then he plugged his next segment, “Pot will hurt your brain.”
“So will this show,” Stewart observed.
Stewart has been asked this week about his bromance with O’Reilly; he explained that it’s sexual tension. Last month, O’Reilly visited Stewart’s Comedy Central show, to plug his new book, Killing Patton, though Stewart barely mentioned the book, except to say he hadn’t read it, in order to devote the segment to a debate on “white privilege.”
“I want you to admit that there is such a thing as white privilege,” Stewart exclaimed — O’Reilly having previously said white privilege is a myth. And, because there’s nothing like watching two older white guys with TV series shout at each other as to whether white privilege still exists in America, that episode of The Daily Show bagged 1.54 million viewers – up a notch from its third-quarter average of 1.41 million. The biggest boost came with Jon’s target 18-34 demo, where The Daily Show skipped 36% that night compared to 3Q average: 543,000 viewers vs 398,000.