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Grift in Virginia or extortion in New Jersey — what's a comedian to choose?

On Wednesday night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart pitted two Republican gubernatorial scandals against each other: Chris Christie in New Jersey, accused of punitive hardball, and Virginia's recently departed Bob McDonnell, accused of graft and wire fraud. He started with New Jersey.

When the Christie bridge-traffic-jam scandal broke, Stewart wasn't that impressed. The new allegations, that Christie's lieutenant governor threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy Relief funds from Hoboken unless its mayor agreed to a development project, made a bigger impression.

"That is some old-school New Jersey corruption," Stewart said. Could Virginia top that? He ran down the list of things McDonnell and his wife allegedly took from dietary supplement maker Jonnie Williams, uninspired until he came to the last item: 30 cases of an expensive anti-inflammatory supplement. Drugs? Stewart said. "Now you're talking my language!"

Back to Christie. Stewart was now skeptical that the Hoboken allegations could have the same level of tantalizing detail as the McDonnell charges. Mayor Dawn Zimmer gave him hope, however, by noting that her proof of the Christie administration threat is that she recorded it in her journal. Stewart was duly skeptical of the evidentiary merits of diary entries, but he found the idea compelling enough to bring out Jessica Williams for a dramatic recitation (and re-creation) of the journal entry.

The Williams performances are mildly amusing, but Stewart got in his best point of the night when he returned to the McDonnells: Virginia's former First Couple allegedly had to turn to grifting to support living way beyond their income — according to Maureen McDonnell, they were drowning in credit card debt. Matt Lewis sees this as a cautionary tale; Stewart saw it as hypocrisy, digging up videos of then–Gov. McDonnell arguing that government should learn to live within its means, just like individual households. Check and mate.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Stewart brought out Senior Black Correspondent Larry Wilmore to weigh in on the state of black America. Wilmore decided he could be most eloquent though the format of an awards show: His Wimores are given to people for "breaking down racial barriers that nobody asked you to break." The winners included the NAACP, Sarah Palin, and Madonna. Oh, and Jon Stewart. Watch:

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian, and plays in an Austin rock band.

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