Jon Stewart returns to ‘The Daily Show’ to shame Congress over healthcare for …

8 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Did Jon Stewart Just Give Us a Taste of What He’ll Be Doing for HBO?.

Donning a gray T-shirt and his ever-growing scruffy beard, Stewart blasted Congress for not automatically renewing the Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act, a now-expired bill providing healthcare to first responders who worked at the site of the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 attacks. “These first responders, many sick with cancers and pulmonary disease, have had to travel at their own expense to Washington, D.C., hundreds of times to plead for our government to do the right thing.” The former host said there is only one conclusion he could draw from law makers’ failure to renew the bill: “The people of Congress are not as good of people as the people who are first responders.” Stewart said that he accompanied some of the first responders on one of their many trips down to the nation’s capital: “I don’t really have a life anymore … I’m unemployed now, so I’m really available all day.”

Many mourned when Jon Stewart left The Daily Show earlier this year, and while he’s popped up here and there since, most of us would like regular doses of him on our screens again.The former “Daily Show” host returned to his old stomping grounds — this time as a guest — to impel Congress to “end the f—ery” and reauthorize the Zadroga Act, a vital health care bill, which expired after Sept. 30, for 9/11 emergency responders. After the 53-year-old comic assured his successor he wasn’t there to reclaim his “Daily Show” throne, he explained the health care act passed by Congress in 2010 had dwindling funds — and that “there was no reason not to renew it permanently, but they did not renew it anyway.” Stewart, who has long championed the legislation, singled out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), speculating he only blocked it from moving forward as political retribution. “Sen. Proponents of the law are seeking its permanent extension, but some Republicans have opposed that, saying they want a chance to periodically review it and make sure it’s operating soundly.

Mitch McConnell of Kentucky doesn’t give a s— about anything but politics,” Stewart said. “(He) pulled it out of the transportation bill when he didn’t get concessions about loosening oil export regulations.” The comedian played correspondent in a taped segment and accompanied first responders to Washington “to see if shame works,” confronting senators who tweeted “Never Forget” on 9/11 but failed to support the bill’s renewal — including Sen. Stewart’s deal with HBO has him focusing, for now, on “short-form digital content” for the HBO Go and HBO Now streaming services. (With a potential for TV series and movie projects down the road.) We got a taste of what a short-form digital piece from Stewart might look like last night. Stewart urged the public to take to social media with the hashtag “#WorstResponders” in an effort to get McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and the rest of Congress to get funding for the bill. (TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. The trip wasn’t totally futile, however: Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, promised to sign the bill after meeting with first responders. “So maybe shame does work,” Stewart said.

To shame Congress into doing something to protect the act, Stewart mustered a full camera crew and produced something that looked a lot like a classic Daily Show pre-taped segment. Stewart then went on to use his temporary Daily Show platform in order to take direct aim at Senator Mitch McConnell and present a stunning visual on the health of 9/11 first responders. In October, a video surfaced of McGregor sparring with one of the strongest dudes in the world: Hafthór Júlíus Björnsson, better known as “The Mountain” from Game of Thrones. As is the case with most things involving UFC’s interim Featherweight Champion – who some believe is now a bigger star than Ronda Rousey – the video quickly spread like wildfire to the tune of nearly 10 million views. “It was a lot of fun,” McGregor said during a media luncheon. “That’s a big man – 6-foot-9, 400 pounds – and I still folded him up. And, on a recent podcast, HBO’s other shiny new star Bill Simmons said Stewart confided that he was worn out from being at the center of a polarized and extreme news cycle.

I was like, ‘This motherfucker is so big, I have to start smacking him to the body.'” For three minutes, McGregor used his size and speed to his advantage by running circles around the Mountain. There’s no indication whether those HBO segments will be bookended by Stewart sitting back behind a desk like his former colleague John Oliver does. But after watching him scream “he’s not nice!” in reference to McConnell, it’s clear that Stewart in disgruntled, bearded anchorman mode would be pure magic for HBO.

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