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The February 27 episode of The Daily Show focuses on mergers’ effects on the economy, Italy’s government and a documentary about Dick Cheney.
The episode began with Jon Stewart discussing the United States’ fragile economy. To illustrate the dire straights we are in he showed clips from the news. Instead of casting down doom and gloom, the reporters were jubilant over the new merger mania. A number of large companies, including Office Depot and Office Max, and Budweiser and Corona, are merging. He followed this news with a clip of a pundit saying in the past there have been similar booms and it has not been good for the economy. Stewart asks why are people so excited if the past shows that this is a bad thing.
John Hodgeman interrupts him as he walks on stage. Hodgeman starts giving the famous speech from Wall Street with the word “greed” replaced by “greeb." When Stewart corrects him, Hodgeman informs him that since the wealthy are at their wealthiest, they need a new word for when someone has everything they want and still want more. Stewart asks why reporters are so excited about the mergers and Hodgeman says they are like weddings. They are two big companies joining together to become too big to fail (TBTF), the rich person’s YOLO. Things like this, Hodgeman said, are only irresponsible when normal people do them.
The second segment of the show was focused on Italy’s government. Italy recently had elections for Prime Minister. The Left of Center party won by a slim margin, but was unable to form a government (have 50 percent of the parliament agree to side with them in decisions). Without this agreement a new government cannot be formed and Italy is left without a Prime Minister. The problem was that a protest party led by a comedian and the former Primer Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, got a large portion of the vote. One of the main questions Stewart had in response was who would vote for Berlusconi. He left office in the midst of scandal and criminal charges. However, Stewart said, even though Italy does not have a stable government, at least they have their faith. He immediately cut to news footage about the Pope retiring this week. This news led to a new schadenfreude segment called “We May Have Trouble Separating Church and State But At Least We Still Have Both.”
The guest for this episode was R.J. Cutler promoting his new documentary, The World According to Dick Cheney. The interview was a very interesting discussion of Cutler’s experience with and impressions of Cheney. They talked about why Cutler does not yell at Cheney like many people probably expect. The answer was that the focus was Cheney’s voice and yelling at him would have made that impossible. They also talked about the way Cheney rationalized his actions and decisions by setting up straw men dichotomies.
This episode was pretty interesting and I really enjoyed the interview. I am always happy to see John Hodgeman, too.