There ought to be a law against The Daily Show going on hiatus just when the political sh– really starts hitting the fan. The series aired its last episode of 2012 on Dec. 13; Newtown’s horrific school shooting came the very next day, spearheading the gun-control debate that’s since grabbed hold of the national news media. It wasn’t until last night — his second episode of 2013 — that Stewart finally got to weigh in on the issue, devoting two thirds of his program’s run time to a segment called “Scapegoat Hunter” — which detailed gun proponents’ reluctance to even entertain the notion that the United States needs stricter gun laws.
NRA head honcho Wayne LaPierre was a frequent target of the segment, as was Fox News host Mike Huckabee. And while Stewart made plenty of joking suggestions for ways to help curb gun violence — replace cool shooting sounds with goofy, cartoonish boings; have Woody Allen star in the next Bourne movie — he also got serious as the show’s first commercial break drew near: “We can dance around the issue all we want,” he said. “We can blame movies, or video games, or the mentally ill, or God. And it’s a complex problem, and all solutions have to be on the table. But it is time we talk about guns.” The host’s hoarse voice — the result of a winter cold — only gave more urgency to his words.