Jon Stewart has spent his post-Daily Show life not necessarily being funny. That’s been on purpose: There’s not a lot of jokes to be made when you’re saving animals or scolding an apathetic Congress over 9/11 First Responders. Even when he’s funny, he’s still trying to do good. Case in point: When he went on his The Late Show, hosted by his former co-worker Stephen Colbert, he decided to use it to call out Mitch McConnell for brushing off his hard work.
Monday morning, the Senate majority leader went on Fox and Friends, where he was asked about Stewart’s recent appearance on the channel Sunday, in which the former Daily Show host railed against McConnell for always waiting until the “very last minute” to offer relief to those who showed up at Ground Zero 18 years ago, and always “under intense lobbying and public shaming.”
McConnell wasn’t shamed, though. Instead he was calmly dismissive. “I don’t know why he is all bent out of shape, but we will take care of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund,” McConnell told Fox and Friends, adding, “It sounds to me like he is looking for some way to take offense.”
It only took till later in the day to Stewart to clap back. On Monday night’s Late Show, Colbert brought up the tussle, only for Stewart to suddenly appear from under his desk. Stewart was asked if he was in fact bent out of shape, to which Stewart responded, “No, Mitch McConnell, I am not bent out of shape! I’m in fine shape.” He then added, “Well, I am out of shape,” but only on behalf of first responders.
Stewart did offer an apology, saying of Congress, “I didn’t know that they were busy,” then added, “I didn’t mean to interrupt them… with their jobs!”
Stewart then blasted McConnnel for the speed with which he gets things done. “Listen, Senator, I know that your species isn’t known for moving quickly.”
“Would that be a turtle reference, Jon?” Colbert asked, referring to a classic Daily Show bit.
Stewart also called McConnell out for the way he’s treated first responders. “Basically, we’re saying you love the 9/11 community when they serve your political purposes. But when they’re in urgent need, you slow-walk, you dither, you use it as a political pawn to get other things you want. And you don’t get the job done completely,” Stewart said. “And your answer to that charge is, ‘Yeah, duh, we’re Congress, that’s how we do.’”
Stewart ended by pleading with McConnell to not “jack us around like you’ve done in the past.” He added, “So, if you want to know why the 9/11 community is bent out of shape over these past, let’s call it 18 years,” he said, “meet with them, tomorrow, as soon as possible, and don’t make them beg for it.”