The Daily Show: 7 memorable Canadian moments
Stephen Harper, Olympic hockey and, of course, Rob Ford all got nods during Jon Stewart's time at helm
Seemingly every scandal, tragedy and newsworthy absurdity of the last 16 years has crossed the desk of Jon Stewart during his tenure as host of The Daily Show, which comes to an end on Aug. 6.
Under Stewart, the long-running satirical news show focused its attention on U.S. politics as, through the 2000s, Americans struggled with divisive issues including the war on terror, the financial meltdown of 2008 and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. But Stewart and the Emmy-winning show's rotating cast of correspondents also often made time for items and guests from outside the Beltway.
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Here are seven memorable moments when The Daily Show with Jon Stewart looked north to Canada and Canadians:
'Throw down the mic'
Rob Ford got plenty of airtime from late-night comics during his tumultuous reign as Toronto's mayor, starting in May 2013 amid the first reports he'd been caught on video smoking crack.
"Hey, hey, don't judge him," Stewart told his audience. "Maybe he's cleaning up the city — by smoking all the crack in it."
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The May 21 episode featured Canadian-born correspondents Jason Jones and Samantha Bee. Bee downplayed the scandal, insisting that smoking crack is "one of Canada's most cherished pastimes" and that Canadians frequently trade sexual favours for the drug.
Stewart revisited Ford's troubles later that year as the scandal widened to include allegations of drunk driving, snorting cocaine and consorting with a suspected prostitute.
"This [expletive] guy is a one-man episode of Cops," Stewart said, before setting up a clip of the famously profane news conference in which Ford refuted an allegation that he'd sought oral sex with a female staff member with the comment that he was a "married man" with "more than enough to eat at home."
Stewart flailed behind his desk in mock shock as his audience howled with laughter.
"Let me beg you sir," he said, addressing Ford. "Let that be your last statement. Throw down the mic. Make that your last sentence in your entire career in public service. Because that's what we call, in my business, a closer."
Efforts by opposition parties in 2008 to oust Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his then-minority government appeared to surprise Stewart, who quipped Canadians were facing their biggest political challenge since the "controversial decision to reshape bacon."
Stewart seemed puzzled by the crisis in light of Harper's numbers in the polls.
"His approval rating is 46 per cent and they're trying to kick him out," he told his audience. "You know what we call a 46 per cent approval rating down here? President Clinton."
Stewart offered seemingly insincere congratulations in 2010 after Canada's men's and women's hockey teams defeated their U.S. rivals for the gold medals at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
"You are the kings and the queens of the ice," Stewart said.
"The one caveat I'd like to mention is spring is coming. And with it the thaw!" he boomed.
"Then you're back on terra firma! And when the ice is gone, good luck at beating us at — roller hockey, or whatever it is you play then."
Bahari in prison
The ordeal of Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari struck a nerve with Stewart, who in 2013 took a break from his hosting duties to make Rosewater, a movie about Bahari's five-month imprisonment in Tehran.
The reporter and activist's brutal detention followed an appearance on The Daily Show which apparently riled Iranian authorities. Stewart wrote the script from Bahari's memoir Then They Came For Me and brought the drama, his directorial debut, to the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014.
"My feeling was it's an urgent story," Stewart told CBC News. "It's a really relevant story and we couldn't wait 10 years, 12 years to make it."
'Slow, hacking death'
The town of Asbestos, Que., came under heavy fire in 2011 from Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi over the trade and export of its namesake mineral, which has been linked to cancer and lung disease.
"Does 'asbestos' mean something different in French than it does in English?" Mandvi asked during a sit-down interview with Bernard Coulombe, president of the local Jeffrey Mine.
"Because in English, it means slow, hacking death."
'Move to America'
Canadians must turn to The Comedy Network's website to see clips of The Daily Show, because access to Comedy Central's site is blocked.
The message redirecting viewers to the Canadian site was, at one point, rewritten with some comic flare — noting they must "give up your free health care and move to America" to see the U.S. site.
Colbert covers SARS
Stephen Colbert was seemingly unmoved by the SARS outbreak, and by Toronto in particular, in 2003. Colbert, who was still a Daily Show correspondent at the time, told Stewart it was "hard to tell" if Torontonians were panicking as the deadly epidemic gripped the city, describing them as "an incredibly reserved people living in a crushingly dull place."
Colbert also downplayed the danger posed by SARS, which was then getting feverish coverage from media around the world.
"There is some reason for concern," he deadpanned. "If you are in Toronto, if you're in your 80s and you've had a history of respiratory problems, I'd make my peace with the Lord before I licked any door handles."
The segment ended with a dig at Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman who, earlier that week, had seemed uninformed about the outbreak during an appearance on CNN.
"For more information on Toronto," Stewart told the audience, "pick up a copy of the mayor's new city guide, Toronto: What the Hell?"