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So, Jon Stewart recently did a funny bit that involved parody, physical comedy, abuse of an unpaid intern, and a subtle but staying political point about a controversial new bill. If you've read the internet or watched TV in the last decade, that shouldn't surprise you. But the fact that Barbara Boxer, a senator, then recreated that bit, in its entirety, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, might be a little more surprising.
Stewart was talking about the Blunt Amendment, which would allow employers to opt out of paying for insurance coverage for healthcare procedures to which they have moral objections. Allegedly, it's a birth-control thing, but as Jon Stewart on his show on Wednesday pointed out, an employer could say "Laughter is the best medicine" and then just spray his sick interns with seltzer bottles in attempt to make them (or himself) heal via laughter. Or, probably not really, but there's a point in there.
Boxer agreed, and so, to prove her opposition to the Blunt Amendment, the good lady senator "told" the entire bit, complete with descriptions of Jon Stewart's facial expressions, yesterday. Which is kind of a bad call, since, first off, you can't really "tell" a sketch. And secondly, no offense, but if you're an earnest politician in a tan pantsuit with poor comedic timing, you're going to come off like someone's embarrassing mom. Specifically, you're going to make everyone feel like a sixteen-year-old in an experimental band, listening to his mom telling all her friends how "neat" it is, and, like, totally getting it all wrong.
But thirdly, I'm not sure how I feel about the role-reversal that's happening here. The way it's supposed to work is, politicians politck in the real world, and then goofballs on late-night TV respond. The politicians aren't actually supposed to draw from the goofballs, to cite them as sources. Shouldn't she have her own team of unpaid interns to help her write this stuff?
Jon Stewart's response to Boxer co-opting of his bit is below: