The appearance of Jon Stewart on Thursday's Late Show was even better.
Stewart has appeared on Colbert's CBS show before, but the appearances always have been in bits for the show (except for his pitch to goad Congress into renewing benefits for the health-impaired first responders who responded to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks). Monday's bit involving Pundit Colbert was Stewart's most extended appearance — until Thursday.
Thursday night, Colbert mentioned that Roger Ailes had been forced out of his job as head of Fox News. After a joke or two on that subject, Colbert wished he could share the news with someone. Cue Stewart, rising from under the desk. The two bantered for a minute, then Stewart asked if he could share a few thoughts on the subject — from behind the desk. A couple of wardrobe additions later (a black suit jacket and clip-on tie), Stewart was back behind a desk again for the first time since he left The Daily Show.
Then ... magic. For the first time in a year, we got our Jon Stewart fix.
I can't help wondering how those Late Show viewers who had never seen Stewart and Colbert on Comedy Central felt about Stewart's take-down of conservative media generally and Sean Hannity in particular, largely using Hannity's own words. It wasn't for everyone. It was brutal, in the vintage Daily Show style Stewart pioneered.
And for that reason, it was glorious.
(On Monday, Colbert had teased that Stewart would return later in the week. I don't think this was what they had in mind: for one thing, Ailes wasn't known to be in serious trouble until Tuesday. Yet if there was furious last-minute rewriting to adjust for Ailes' ouster, it didn't show.)
Jon, I can't tell you how much we've missed you.