Jon Stewart's 'Daily Show' Takes On Ebola Hysteria, Wonders What Happened to "the Home of the Brave"
No matter how you reacted to the news that Ebola was officially in New York City (panic, indifference, tasteless jokes), chances are you wanted to see how Jon Stewart would react to the news that Ebola was officially in New York City. And luckily for people who need to laugh (basically, anyone who has lived through this entirely depressing 2014), The Daily Show was new on Monday, allowing Stewart to tackle the Ebola hysteria that's gripping his city. And how does he feel about the disease and the controversial quarantine that followed it into the East Coast?
What is wrong with us? I thought we were home of the brave. Or does the song go, "O'er the land of the free, unless you have a fever, in which case, we prefer you get the f--k out of here"?
Strangely enough, though, Stewart was not in his native New York City during Monday's show — instead, he and the Daily Show team was reporting from Austin, Texas — not a far cry from the site of the U.S.'s first case of Ebola, Dallas. So it was inevitable that he would begin his show on Monday with a nod at Texas' history with the disease. As Samantha Bee joked about how Dallas treated (or, more accurately, botched) its handling of Ebola:
They shot at Ebola. They gave it the death penalty. They prayed for the virus, but in a way that the virus found patronizing, and that made it feels bad about themselves. Turned out, all they needed to do was get their s--t together.
Though the Daily Show's first segment mostly focused on Texas in-jokes for its studio audience (correspondent Jessica Williams joked that "Austin is already brewing its own locally sourced, small batch, fair trade, organic, cage-free farm-to-table Ebola"), Stewart got to the heart of the matter in the second segment, which centered on Dr. Craig Spencer, New York City's first Ebola patient. As the comedian noted, since news of Spencer's condition was released, the news has approached the story with one consistent attitude: "Calm, cool, and catch that doctor and kill him!"
Which, as Stewart — and a few expert pundits — noted is ridiculous, since the only way one would be able to catch Ebola from Spencer is, well, if they became romantically entangled with him while he was symptomatic. Which Stewart joked he did, making a nod at Foreigner's "Hot-Blooded" lyrics (hey, could you resist with the news that his fever was 100.3?): "From the looks of it, this man is hot-blooded."
Of course, Stewart couldn't resist delving into Spencer's extra-curricular activities in New York the day before he struck a fever. Noting the fact that the Doctors Without Borders doctor visited the High Line, went for a run, and ate out before he was symptomatic, Stewart joked:
Why is Ebola guy's life so much more interesting than mine? The jogging, the meatballs, the bowling. That's not a patient history, that's a Tinder profile.
So, clearly, Stewart isn't panicking — even though Chris Christie, who mandated a 21-day quarantine for those who have come in contact with Ebola patients, clearly is. The New Jersey governor came under fire for violating Doctors Without Borders nurse Kaci Hickox's human rights, in her words, by quarantining her in Newark's University Hospital. As Stewart asked, "Why does Christie have to be such a dick about everything?" by placing Hickox in an uncomfortable "Ebola tent."
Still, as Stewart noted, "I got to say, a tent with no heat, no shower, and shit in the box. I still think most new yorkers would be like, what's the square footage?"
Stewart ended his segment by pointing to the calm and collected news coverage of Ebola in Ghana:
And compared our current brush with Ebola to The Twilight Zone. After all, it's downright creepy watching a familiar nation breaking down over an unsubstantiated fear. "Submitted for your approval, a nation gripped by fear of an outbreak. And yet all this time, the real viral outbreak menacing them was fear."
Watch Part 1 of The Daily Show below:
And Part 2 here:
Sing it with me: do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do...