1. “Jon Stewart: In Conversation.” What do you do after 16 years turning The Daily Show into an American comic institution? If you’re this comedian, you might spend a summer making a movie about torture.
“No. It’s harder to make humor when there’s no consensus, when there’s no issue that has galvanized a decent amount of mind space. If you have to spend the first five minutes of a bit going, ’There’s this thing called ‘corporate inversions,’’ you can still create something, but the synapses fire much quicker when people are already focused on something. I can remember right after 9/11, when all those anthrax scares came and TV news started putting up that ticker at the bottom of the screen. There was a real electricity to it, and you could do any joke. People are scared, but they want to remember, Okay, we’re still human. There is a certain heightened awareness to things, but it’s not Mad Max. When you look at this Ebola thing, it’s fucking crazy how overwhelming the coverage has been. One guy had it, he brought it here, and then two people that cared for him got it. More people are going to die from the flu, more people have been killed by cops since this happened! But all anybody can talk about is that we’re all going to die of Ebola. You’ve got congresspeople out there: ’Let’s completely shut off Africa! Let’s submerge it!’ What was it Ted Cruz said? Somebody told him, ’The medical experts say that would actually not be helpful.’ Cruz says, ’Let’s just not listen to the experts and use some common sense.’ Of course, let’s not think about the people who study this. Let’s go with the gut. The gut is, Ewww.”