Jon Stewart started out Monday night's Daily Show by declaring his love for imported West Virginia drinking water. That was a segue, of course, to the toxic chemical spill near Charleston that has prevented some 300,000 residents from drinking, bathing in, or otherwise using their tap water. The problem started over the weekend, when up to 48,000 gallons of coal-processing solution leaked into the Elk River.
Stewart, while noting that he's not a chemical engineer or city planner, suggested that perhaps a toxic chemical plant shouldn't be placed upstream and adjacent to a city's water treatment plant. Then he noted that the last time the leaky tanks were inspected was... 1991. "That's, like, six Batmans ago!" Stewart said.
Stewart then brought on Jason Jones, purportedly reporting from West Virginia. Jones noted that local residents are thirsty, filthy, and angry. Stewart wasn't buying Jones' initial explanation for what went wrong outside Charleston: Terrorism. But the joke is in the difference between Jones' proposed response to a terrorist attack and his ideas for what's permissible to prevent industrial accidents. Maybe joke is the wrong word. Gallows humor?
The next segment is the buzziest part of the show, sort of proving Jones' point: People don't care about environmental regulation, but give us a story about pizza....
Yes, Stewart continued his crusade to push New York standards of pizza onto the world, or at least the U.S. In this case, he jumped on a mini-scandal in New York that erupted last week when new Mayor Bill de Blasio was filmed in Staten Island eating pizza with a fork. Stewart was quick to pass judgment, saying, "Two weeks into your term, and we catch you eating pizza à la Trump? And you call yourself a radical socialist bent on destroying New York City."
Watch Stewart's righteous indignation: