Jon Stewart meets the divisive country he helped create

March 8, 2023

By Christian Toto

Jon Stewart isn’t getting a taste of his own medicine. He’s gargling a nectar of his own creation.

And, without a whiff of irony, he’s none too pleased about it.

Stewart supported the pandemic lab leak theory more than a year ago on “The Late Show,” confounding both host Stephen Colbert and Progressive Nation.

Don’t listen to comedians, we were (suddenly) told. Why would he put his credibility on the line to support a fringe theory, others cried?

His critics took the bit personally, understanding some may start to question the Official Narrative on a subject they deemed closed. He had betrayed the group by stepping outside the liberal bubble and flexing some common sense.

“Oh my God, there’s been an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pennsylvania. What do you think happened?’ Like, ‘Oh I don’t know, maybe a steam shovel mated with a cocoa bean?’ Or it’s the f***ing chocolate factory.”

The blistering proved so shocking he’s still talking about it.

The subject came up again after the Department of Energy announced it, too, supported the lab leak theory along with the F.B.I., a gaggle of formerly banned scientists and a public exhausted by media lies on the matter.

Suddenly, Stewart realized America isn’t willing to embrace debate on contentious issues.

“The larger problem with all of this is the inability to discuss things that are within the realm of possibility without falling into absolutes and litmus-testing each other for our political allegiances as it arose from that … my bigger problem with that was I thought it was a pretty good bit that expressed kind of how I felt, and the two things that came out of it were ‘I’m racist against Asian people’ and ‘how dare I align myself with the alt-right.’”

The bigger question is clear.

Why is Stewart shocked by that response? Has he been hiding under a rock since leaving “The Daily Show” in 2015? What he faced is a microscopically small version of what’s happening across the culture.

Over and again.

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