Jon Stewart kicked off The Daily Show last night with a lengthy introduction of Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, whom Stewart credited as a “vigorous critic of anti-Semitism,” giving a laundry list of Hikind’s good work in combating the misappropriation of Holocaust imagery and challenging anti-Semitism in all its forms. Stewart added:
“Some of this may seem like a bit of an overreaction, but the guy is standing up for a group, whenever he feels this group has been unfairly maligned or held up for ridicule. So what’s he been up to lately?”
If you haven’t been following the news, the answer is that Hikind has been fending off criticism for wearing blackface on Purim, apologizing once half-heartedly, calling a press conference Monday, and then apologizing more sincerely yesterday.
This did not shield Hikind from Stewart’s wrath last night, who took him to task for using Purim as an excuse to be offensive and for dressing up in blackface during Black History Month. We’ve heard plenty about this story already, but what comes next is a fantastic piece of satire.
Is it overkill that Stewart devoted five minutes of his show on this issue? Probably.
Should ‘The Daily Show’ have been following closely enough to note Hikind’s more substantive apology came hours before this segment was taped? Absolutely.
Despite the frustration of having this embarrassing story go national, isn’t it also kind of impressive that the smallest details of the story of Purim–even in sketch form–can be fed to American audiences without any real fear of the message being lost? Definitely.