Jon Stewart grabs Weinergate by the... funnybone?

No one takes greater delight at a political scandal than Jon Stewart. But when Weinergate erupted over the weekend, he found himself in an unusual situation. For the uninformed, Weinergate refers to New York congressman Anthony Weiner, who allegedly tweeted a photo of the veiled contents of his underwear to a 21-year-old Seattle-area student. Weiner, the congressman, said his Twitter account had been hacked by an outside party and that he did not send that photo to anyone. Weiner also happens to be an old friend of Stewart’s — they shared a Delaware summer beach house 25 years ago — and a frequent guest on the show.

On Tuesday, Stewart was flippant, joking about his friendship with Weiner and the awkward position his show had been placed. “Here is my dilemma,” he said at the opening. “We, a news-based comedy program, are looking at a story about a snapshot that appears to be an ample helping of penis, allegedly posted by a congressman whose name is a synonym for penis. I mean for a program like this, the phrase sweet spot springs to mind…

“The cons of this story is, this is my friend Anthony,” Stewart continued. “As a friend, I really hope this story’s not true. I really do. I would feel terrible if this were true — as a friend of his. And I do have my doubts about its veracity … My doubts stem from this: Uh, no way. No f—in’ way. Seriously. No way. In real life, my memory: this cat had a lot more Anthony and a lot less weiner … You know, I’ll be honest with you. The only thing Anthony Weiner and this gentleman here appear to have in common is that they both lean hard to the extreme left. Boom!”

But friends of Stewart shouldn’t discount his ultimate loyalty to the show. After Weiner poured fuel on the fire by telling journalists that he couldn’t be certain that the photo in question was not actually him, Stewart did what Stewart does. Though he still reminded his audience of his friendship with Weiner on last night’s show, he ridiculed Weiner’s lame attempts to clarify the embarrassing situation. “There are three things in this world that I do have certitude on,” Stewart said. “Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars film. O.J. killed those two people. And the third one is what my erect penis looks like in my own underwear.”

What we have here is Stewart skewering a politician he’d rather not, but his credibility is on the line. Critics will measure whether he treated Weiner the same way he went after Chris Lee, the Republican New York congressman who sent a woman on Craigslist a topless photo of himself earlier this year. Weiner hasn’t received a smooth R&B theme song (yet) like Lee did, but the coverage seems comparable.

What do you think of Stewart’s coverage of Weinergate, in contrast to the less headline-worthy Craigslistgate? Would he be treating the humiliated pol differently if they weren’t old pals, or has he delivered the proper amount of ridicule?

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Comments (25 total) Add your comment
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  • dlauthor

    What, no mention of his brilliant takedown of CNN’s apparent inability to practice journalism rather than hearsay and commentary from professional muckrakers?

    • Amanda Kiwinerd

      Racist birther teabagger pizza jamboree with Palin and Trump was way funnier!

  • Stacie

    I found his coverage perfectly acceptable. If this turns out to be true (that Weiner sent the picture on purpose) I have no doubt that Jon Stewart will let himself have it in full force.

  • Tahoe Mike

    I thought the rant about Trump eating pizza was a lot funnier.

    • Ryan

      100% awesomeness.

  • Dave

    This wasn’t even the best part of last night’s show. The pizza segment was legendary.

    • Liz

      I scrolled down just to say that exact thing. I think I gave him a standing ovation at the end of the pizza segment. (Or maybe I was just motivated to get up and see if I had any frozen pizza in the freezer. That slice looked delicious.)

      • dreamworks21

        Jon’s pizza segment was an insta-classic. He hit on so many hilarious points, and the icing on the cake was the long-form birth certificate joke. Bravo, Jon, bravo!

  • mouse

    When Weiner finally owns up to what he’s done, Stewart will jump on it, friendship or no. I’m not sure why anyone thinks he’s going light on this story – he pretty much called him a liar last night.

  • Vira

    More ridicule, please. Much more.

  • BP

    Clarification, mouse. He’s not saying it’s not him. He’s saying he didn’t send it. That’s kinda an important distinction.

    • TV_Pete

      Yeah, he’s saying he wants to hire a private firm (who won’t disclose their findings publicly) to investigate who may have hacked into his computer and sent this picture to a girl he had a crush on.

  • mike

    Weinergate…I’m more interested in Screechgate. Did you see that Saved By The Bell photo

  • TV_Pete

    Stewart has not pretended to be unbiased in his show since about 2003.

  • Chas

    Stewart’s credibility is on the line? You do realize his is not a real journalist, right? He doesn’t have to put personal relationships and feelings aside of he doesn’t want to. If he came out and said “Anthony Weiner is my friend and I am not going there,” so what? He does comedy. Intelligent and hilarious to be sure, but still comedy.

  • funny man

    funniest pizza escalation i have ever seen!!

  • Comical

    Is that a Hebrew national in your pocket, or are you just happy to tweet me.

  • kaduzy

    I thought the coverage was fine. He was right to acknowledge their personal history but he’s not a journalist and has no pretense of being unbiased so he doesn’t “owe” it to his audience to treat the story one way or another.

  • max

    Well? What do you say now, Jonny Boy?? He got implants from when you last saw him in the locker room? Lol

  • viviennewestwood

    Great article. I caní»t wait to hear more about your research tool. If it is as good as your other products, then you will have another winner. Your article pretty much summed up what I have been seeing too. Great to see some hard data.

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