There is currently a debate in the US about the role of Jon Stewart. His attacks on the errors made in the role out of the Obamacare have been interpreted by many as a turning point in the Obama presidency and is even being used by Conservative groups in ads. He has responded by claiming that he is ‘just a comedian.’
This, however, is clearly not true. Stewart is way more than just a comedian. He is the most trusted man in the American media. And the Daily Show is now a major source of news especially for those under 30. And he’s come to function as America’s liberal conscience.
Here’s some classic Stewart:
Britain doesn’t have anyone like Stewart. Ian Hislop has Stewart’s knack for combining comedy and exposition but rather than liberalism offers a nihilistic vision of politics.
But we do have someone who could come to fill this niche: John Finnemore.
While he has a wide range of work under his belt, it’s his sketches on the Now Show that point to his Stewartesque potential. You can hear him in action on this week’s episode about why a parliamentary debate on jam shows how democracy is supposed to work.
In the past he’s managed the remarkable feat of making the Eurozone crisis funny whilst explaining what the whole thing is about:
Or forensically filleting legal aid cuts. Oh and of course being funny at the same time.
I suspect that Stewart is probably unique and couldn’t be replicated easily in the UK. However, I suspect that given a Daily Show like platform, Finnemore would be able to make quite an impact.