Jon Stewart told a packed New York audience tonight that, no, he didn’t miss his nightly perch even “on the eve of the last American election” ever, but his enthusiastic comic demolition of Donald Trump told a different story.
“We were a beautiful, great country,” Stewart said, kicking off an all-star comic lineup that included Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K. and Jim Gaffigan at the 10th Annual Stand Up for Heroes event at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Bruce Springsteen capped the evening with a four-song acoustic set — and told a few jokes himself — to benefit the Bob Woodruff Foundation for veterans.
Surprisingly, the event was largely apolitical, with Gaffigan, C.K. and Seinfeld doing killer material decidedly in each of their particular wheelhouses. Stewart did the same, except for the apolitical part.
“Rigged?,” he asked in exasperation at Trump’s faux-underdog routine. “You live in a tower with your name on it in gold. How much better would you be if The Man wasn’t keeping you down?”
The meat of Stewart’s dish, though, was his reading of actual tweets Trump directed his way in 2013, when the pre-candidate called Stewart “overrated” and repeatedly referred to him by his birth name Jon Leibowitz. “Oh, I think this guy is trying to let people know I’m a Jew,” Stewart laughed. “Doesn’t my face already do that? I could be on the poster for Yentl!”
Stewart, calling Trump’s tweets “crude and horrible,” then recounted his own response, when he started calling Trump “F*ckface Von Clownstick,” which quickly became a meme and prompted one last, late-night tweet from the “man who might be our next President.”
“At 1:30 in the morning, he tweeted ‘Little Jon Stewart is a pussy, he would be hopeless in a debate with me!”
Stewart ended his routine: “Vote wisely this November 8.”
And in case you think he was making it up:
After the four comedians did their bits, a solo Springsteen performed four acoustic numbers, ending with “Dancing in the Dark.”
Afterward, a blond Fender Telecaster he used — no, not the blond Fender Telecaster – was auctioned off for $280,000, a bargain considering the purchase also includes a ride with Bruce to the Jersey Shore in his ’67 Cadillac. Later, he rode a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy motorcycle onstage, which went for $150,000, including dinner with Stewart, Gaffigan, C.K. and Seinfeld. The four comedians got serious and chipped in an additional $50,000 each.
Stand Up for Heroes is presented by the New York Comedy Festival and the Bob Woodruff Foundation, and kicks off the 2016 NY Comedy Festival. Former American Idol Phillip Phillips started the evening with the National Anthem.