Entertainment

Jon Stewart's Night of Too Many Stars and the Entertainment Balance of Power

Who's Actually Relevant Right Now?

By Merle Ginsberg ·
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Comedy Central

HBO airs its annual Night of Too Many Stars benefit for autism this Saturday, created by Jon Stewart and SNL’s Robert Smigel in 2010, hosted by Stewart—but before it does, the premium cable comedy monolith might consider tacking on this sub/hed: “We mean, the Night of Too Many Stars Just from The Daily Show Alone, And, you know, a few movie stars, just for the hell of it, to, like, round out the lineup.”

The heavily comedic lineup of so-far 23 stars is now down one Louis C.K., who last week became comedian-non-grata when his popular brand of sexual incorrectness proved even more unpopular, and incorrect, in practice. Half the rest still on the bill are alumni of Comedy Central’s nearly twenty-year-old anti- social studies program/now institution of comedy disguised as news (or news disguised as comedy?). Both Stewart and fellow Daily Show-grad John Oliver call themselves comedians first–newsmen not even a close second. But in a media landscape now full of fudged news, pop politics as proffered by Daily Show alums/Too Many Stars stars Oliver, Stephen Colbert, Jordan Klepper, Olivia Munn, Rob Corddry, John Mulaney et al. has long felt more credible than much of what passes for real social and political commentary.

What’s notable this year is that the other too-many-stars—Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Ben Stiller, J.J. Abrams, Robert DeNiro—are suddenly demoted to the pop cultural backseat. For now, it seems any celeb not peddling political satire right now isn’t quite as relevant or omnipresent as the Mahers, Kimmels, Bees or Noahs of the world. Joy Behar decreed to Bill Maher on Real Time back on October 27th, “we’re important people right now. We’re on the right side of things. Comedians say the emperor has no clothes. We’re maybe not Socrates and Aristotle, but we are the philosophers right now.”

I buy that. So instead of catching Meet the Press this weekend, I’ll be taking in too many stars for too many hours, when I should be reading the Times. I like my politics like I like my culture (and my men): snarky. I’ll also be savoring my last hit of John Oliver for (sniffles) awhile: the smartest of the smartassiest is about to take a waaaay-too-long hiatus. Our favorite nutterbutter muckraker shot his last 2017 show last week and won’t be back 'til February—an eon in these dystopian times. Senator Roy Moore could announce his 2020 presidential bid by then.

Merle Ginsberg is an overeducated pop culture critic/writer who likes to think she’s an intellectual—except she lives in L.A. and watches way too much TV and reads too many fashion magazines.

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