Speed Reads

The Daily Showdown

Jon Stewart returns from vacation to a world gone mad

On Monday night, after a two-week vacation, The Daily Show returned to the air — and a tanned, chill Jon Stewart wondered aloud what possibly could have happened in two slow weeks of summertime news. A lot, it turns out, and little of it good. Stewart gave his viewers a brief glance at the news while he was away, then focused on a handful of stories — America's child immigration situation, ISIS's steady takeover of Iraq, the asymmetrical Israel-Hamas fight, and the CDC's mishandling of deadly pathogens.

This being The Daily Show, Stewart didn't lament the news so much as point at its absurdity and break out the black humor as if his sanity depended on it. That's true especially of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But he ended on a note more humorous than dark: He came back after just two weeks, Stewart said, "to find that things are so f--ked up in our world that the two happiest places on earth right now are Germany and Cleveland." Zing! --Peter Weber