Jon Stewart and ‘The Daily Show’ wrap up their Austin visit

"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" is in Austin, Texas all week for Democalypse 2014 South by South Mess being recorded at the Zach Theatre.  RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” has been in Austin all week, taping Democalypse 2014: South by South Mess at the Zach Theatre.
RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN


By Dale Roe
American-Statesman staff

Jon Stewart wrapped up a week’s worth of broadcasts of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” from Austin on Thursday with cracks about Republicans, keeping the city weird and barbecue.

“I am more Brisket than man now,” Stewart said, referring to a barbecue meal from Franklin’s. Even though it was catered, Stewart said, the popular Austin barbecue restaurant still made him wait 5 hours in line.

In his opening piece, Stewart skewered the Republicans who represent Austin in Congress to cheers, whoops and laughter from the overwhelmingly liberal audience.

Correspondent Samantha Bee appeared in a taped piece in which she talked to a number of tattooed and pierced “weird” Austinites at Jo’s Coffee on South Congress, discovering that what was weird was actually the way our Congressional districts span from Austin to Houston to San Antonio.

At one point, she elicited a definition of gerrymandering from Austin “Lizardman” and professional freak Erik Sprague, who is tattooed green, has a split tongue and sports sub-dermal, teflon horn implants that form ridges above his eyes. After Sprague’s succinct and accurate definition of the process, which shifts the geographic boundaries of voting districts to influence election outcomes, Bee thanked him and asked him if he wanted a cricket.

Stewart seemed genuinely endeared and a little saddened by some Austinites’ hopes that the state would eventually go blue when it currently could not be any redder “if you took Clifford the big red dog and inserted him into Satan’s rectum.”

Before the show and between segments, Stewart prowled the stage interacting with and taking questions from the audience. Like any good news outfit (even a fake one) much of the conversation revolved around food.

When one audience member asked if Stewart considered himself a fan of the breakfast taco, the host admitted that he hadn’t when he and the crew first arrived. But now, he joked, he wraps himself in a flour tortilla every night before going to sleep.

“Daily Show” correspondents Jessica Williams and Jordan Klepper answered crowd questions while the stage was transformed for the show’s musical guest, the Austin band Spoon, which played a trio of songs. in between songs, Stewart joked that he looked like the band manager and intimated that the world’s best comedian would do worse with the ladies than the world’s worst bass player.

“If I was capable of doing that,” he said, extending his hand toward the band, “I would totally do that instead of this.”

Stewart seemed sincerely grateful for the support, hospitality and reception that he and the show have received since arriving, talking about it before during and after the taping.

“I walked to work and you know what people did? They smiled at me,” he said. “And I smiled back.”


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