In a new interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, comedians and pals Jon Stewart and Dave Chappelle discussed just about every topic the trio could think of. Louis C.K.’s ongoing comeback, sexism in stand-up comedy, President Donald Trump’s disparaging remarks about the press — all of it and more was up for grabs. Yet when Amanpour asked Stewart if he regretted not taking Trump’s initial candidacy more seriously, the former host of The Daily Show buckled and seemingly admitted as much.
In true Daily Show fashion, Amanpour showed the comics a clip from the ex-television host’s segment about Trump’s infamous escalator ride. “Like many of you I heard some interesting, let’s call it, news today about a certain, let’s say, gift from heaven entering the presidential race,” Stewart joked back in 2015. “Apparently, Huckabee-Santorum wasn’t far-fetched enough.” His response three years later?
“I thought America was going to go, ‘Is that an escalator in a mall? I’m not going to vote for that dude.’ I didn’t think he meant it. And when he gave that speech, quite frankly, I really thought when he said ‘Mexico sends us their worst, the rapists and murders,’ I really thought he had disqualified himself.”
Stewart made sure to note that this was what he thought, and not necessarily what a sizable chunk of the country had thought at the time (or much later). “Clearly I don’t speak for [everyone],” he added. As for whether or not the current president is good for comedy, both were quick to dispell the popular notion. “He’s getting too much credit,” Chappelle explained. “He’s not making the wave, he’s surfing it.”