Speed Reads

The Daily Showdown

Jon Stewart explains why Hank Greenberg suing the U.S. over AIG is comically despicable

"When is the last time you got good and angry" about the bank-fueled, economy-tanking 2008 financial meltdown? Jon Stewart asked to kick off Thursday night's Daily Show, a twinkle in his eye. "Want to?"

If you're not familiar with former AIG chief Hank Greenberg's lawsuit against the federal government, Stewart will give you the rundown. Not only that, he will probably convince you to despise Greenberg, grimace at the absurdity of this lawsuit, seethe about the federal bailout of the insolvent company, and make you laugh all the while.

Stewart mocked Greenberg's charge of "extortion," noting that while most extortionists demand money, the U.S. government poured $184.6 billion ($85 billion at first) into Greenberg's effectively bankrupt former insurance business. He derided Greenberg's complaint that the U.S. treated bailed-out banks better than AIG, summarizing that argument as: "Waaaaaaah! It's not fair!" Stewart pointed out that for insurance companies, "putting the screws to people in their lowest moments" is routine business. And he drove it all home with a delightful one-man show. Feel better? --Peter Weber