Jon Stewart is back, and after last night some members of Congress might not be very happy about that.
A lot of us have been missing Stewart since he left “The Daily Show” in Trevor Noah’s hands months ago. Sure, Noah and other Daily Show alums like Stephen Colbert and John Oliver have the Donald Trump situation covered, but it’s not quite the same.
Last night, for one glorious episode, Jon Stewart made his triumphant return. Okay, “glorious” and “triumphant” are maybe overselling it, since he kind of ambled on set wearing a gray tee shirt and equally gray beard, but it was still great to see him. And once he gave Congress a thoroughly satisfying beatdown over their treatment of 9/11 First Responders, it's like that old snarky indignation never left.
Once Trevor Noah was reassured that he could still host the show - “Aw man, I heard about this in American TV, are you taking the show back?!” - Stewart said that he was there to promote an issue he cared very deeply about. “But I was realizing that I don’t have a show, and nobody gives a shit anymore. So I thought, YOU have a show and maybe I could come and…”
He explained that Congress passed the Zadroga Act in 2010 to provide healthcare to 9/11 first responders who got cancer due to working in toxic air for months on the Ground Zero site in New York. But this year Congress let the bill expire, and First Responders have had to travel to Washington DC hundreds of times to plead with Congress to renew their healthcare funding.
“The only conclusion that I can draw is that the people of Congress are not as good a people as the people who are First Responders,” Stewart said.
Last week Stewart accompanied some of the First Responders to Washington to try to speak to congressmen like Rand Paul and Ron Johnson, who swore to “never forget” 9/11 heroes and yet have not supported the bill, and “see if shame works.”
Not surprisingly, the congressmen rarely appeared (“they’re like, in many ways, meerkats or prairie dogs”) but they did manage to corner Senator Rob Portman of Ohio in the hallways for a super-awkward confrontation. Senator Portman signed onto the bill that night.
You can watch the full episode online, and the main clip is now circulating online, along with a #WorstResponders tag on social media to increase the pressure on politicians to support the bill. Hillary Clinton was quick to jump in: