Last night’s much-anticipated “Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium” between The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart and Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly was what we hoped it would be and more: 90 minutes jam-packed with flash cards, name-calling, apocalyptic counterfactuals, a spot-on Jim Lehrer stand-in, and even some policy suggestions, like O’Reilly’s daring plan to weed out the “50 percent” of people — including “Jersey Shore people” and “Colbert watchers” — who just don’t get how government works. “If you sit out a round,” O’Reilly at one point proposes, “you can’t vote next time.” Stewart’s zippy riposte: “Yeah, not everyone’s as bright as a Fox viewer.” Read on for highlights from the mostly friendly showdown.
Best Opening Monologue:
“Talk to your people,” Stewart implores O’Reilly, who he’s dubbed “The Mayor of Bullshit Mountain,” a conspiratorial wonderland where the townsfolk think Obama is a Kenyan Muslim and that murdering Big Bird, that canary king of welfare moochers, will solve all the nation’s woes.
Best Use of Props:
O’Reilly came fully prepared with a handful of posters including “Bush Is Gone” (so don’t blame him), “Iran Not Frightened” (so scare the bejeezus out of Ahmadinejad), and the self-explanatory “Drones Yes, Waterboard No.”
Next Best Use of Props:
The five foot six Stewart used a mechanical platform to hoist himself up to O’Reilly’s stratospheric six foot four.
Obligatory Rumble Freakout
Bill O’Reilly admitted that, “We should not have gone to Iraq. Afghanistan we had to.” Stewart responded by climbing up onto his podium and screeching: “Live tweet that: Bill O’Reilly said we should not have gone into Iraq.”
If the U.S. Was Burning, Who Would You Save?
Why is the whole country aflame? Oh never mind. All that matters is that O’Reilly got the answer right: Oprah. “She’s worth about $100 billion,” he explained.
Finally, a Solution to Congressional Gridlock
Stewart sits on O’Reilly’s lap. Awkward silence ensues. O’Reilly gets creepy and asks, “What would you like for Christmas, little boy?” Now it’s your turn to give the lap summit a try, Congress. We suggest Harry Reid sitting on John Boehner’s lap.
Best Jim Lehrer Impression
“Are you still here?” O’Reilly at one point asks the mostly silent CNN host (and former Fox News anchor) E.D. Hill.
O’Reilly Compliments Obama
“He’s done a good job on terrorism.” Woah, steady there Bill. Before too long they’ll be calling you a socialist. Oh wait, Stewart already did that, when you admitted to supporting Social Security.
The Sexual Revolution, Daily Show Edition
Stewart: “Give me back the $800 billion for the Iraq war … and it’s rubbers for everyone on me.”
The Sexual Revolution, O’Reilly Factor Edition
O’Reilly (complete with “Buy Your Own” birth control flashcard): “‘I’m entitled to my birth control paid for by the taxpayer?’ That’s insane!”
Zingiest Zinger of the Night
“Why is it if you take advantage of a tax break and you’re a corporation, you’re a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of something you need to not be hungry, you’re a moocher?” — John Stewart responding to O’Reilly’s food stamp offensive.
But Friends to the End
O’Reilly: “The thing I like about you is you do take cheap shots all the time, but you defend those cheap shots, and you do it well.”
Stewart: “The man coordinates a mean outfit … [and] comes by his principles honestly.” He even calls O’Reilly “smart” and “funny.”
What a class act, eh?