Jon Stewart spent the first half of Monday night's Daily Show criticizing the National Security Agency. Well, more precisely, he dedicated the first quarter to a timely but pretty nuance-free segment he called "That Thing They Said They're Not Doing? They're Totally Doing," cataloging some of the top-secret operations the NSA and White House have denied before news reports revealed some level of duplicity. (Watch below)
The second quarter of the show centered on the new revelation that the NSA and other spy agencies spent plenty of time and effort infiltrating and spying on online games like World of Warcraft and Second Life. And here, Stewart traded his outrage for humor. How could you not?
He brought on senior intelligence correspondent Aasif Mandvi, "live" from the World of Warcraft land of Azeroth, appearing as his dwarf paladin avatar Greychalk. Mandvi (or the Daily Show writers at least) displayed what seemed to be a pretty healthy knowledge of World of Warcraft nomenclature — and a pretty hearty willingness to poke fun at people who spend large amounts of time role-playing online.
Stewart's "That Thing They Said They're Not Doing? They're Totally Doing" monologue is amusing, and there are some good moments, but it feels mostly like a setup to the World of Warcraft revelations. His big punch line: "If you like your NSA spy, you get to keep your NSA spy."
In the middle part of the show, Stewart turned to the death of Nelson Mandela, noting the effusive eulogies the South African leader received from U.S. Democratic leaders and a few big name Republicans, like Newt Gingrich and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Gingrich and Cruz got plenty of grief for praising the man who help end apartheid, Stewart noted, before turning around and lobbing his own criticism at former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).
Santorum also lauded Mandela on TV — good so far — but then he went on to explain that the South African icon fought for freedom from racial oppression... just like Republicans are fighting ObamaCare. "How do I put this in terms you'll understand?" Stewart sighed: "Apartheid is not ObamaCare." Then he makes a song out of it. Watch: