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Jon Stewart Is a Prophet

Suggests interviewer, despite comic’s demurral

Hadara Graubart
July 08, 2009
Stewart at the Mark Twain Prize ceremony in November, 2008.(Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
Stewart at the Mark Twain Prize ceremony in November, 2008.(Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

Jon Stewart is like a Hebrew prophet, the Reverend Jim Wallis suggests in interviewing the Daily Show star for Sojourners Magazine. Wallis cites Stewart’s combination of humor and truth-telling to make a point (a tactic also used by “Borscht Belt social directors,” Stewart points out), and he likens Stewart’s evisceration of CNBC’s Jim Cramer to the biblical parable of Jesus overturning the tables of the “money changers.” Stewart, of course, rejects the analogy. (Jesus “only had to do one show,” he protests. “We have to do four a week!”)

But might some of Stewart’s other Daily Show antics reflect parables from the Hebrew Bible? Herewith, three examples to boost Wallis’ case.

Eye for an Eye, Tooth for a Tooth
In response to guest Will Ferrel’s spontaneous presenting of his teeth for an extreme closeup, Stewart quickly rises and offers his own chompers for inspection, luckily stopping just short of demonstrating the biblical homily’s lesser known third line, “a testicle for a testicle.”

The Tower of Babel
Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones attends a speech by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without a translator, leading him to conclude incorrectly (one hopes) that the Iranian president was simply stating and restating that he hates Jews.

Jonah and the Whale
And if the signs aren’t clear enough at this point, go back to 2005, when a whale swam up the Delaware River to Trenton, New Jersey, the capital of Stewart’s home state. Jon writes it off as the creature looking for a good time via “champale and condoms,” but we know better: it was waiting for the inevitable moment when Stewart would flee to the ocean, ala Jonah, to avoid his mammoth prophetic responsibilities.

Hadara Graubart was formerly a writer and editor for Tablet Magazine.