VIENNA, Va., October 7, 2012 — Forget “Saturday Night Live” and any of the other stupid, dorky pseudo-comedy shows on television. The “debate” last night between Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart took the cake and all the trimmings for a fun 90 minutes, for hilarious humor and good sarcasm, by two guys that could carry it off with no rehearsals and no teleprompters, and kept everyone at the George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium (lucky dogs) and all of us at home literally rolling on the floor.
I’d say it was by far the best $4.95 I’ve ever spent and to hear today that the charities that will receive 50% of the take are Wounded Warriors, Doctors Without Borders, the USO and the NYC Coalition for the Homeless made it perfect. What’s not to like? Only other biggie they could have included was the Humane Society of the U.S.
Even a technological interruption about five minutes into the show could not dampen the ardor of the watchers, the demand was so heavy that the primary server crashed, and it took about three minutes to get it up and running again.
The combatants are well known and extremely popular, if only to their respective fan clubs. Bill O’Reilly, one of the voices of Fox Network, who strode confidently in at all of his 6’4” height, against the vertically challenged Jon Stewart, whose humor and self-deprecation are legendary, at 5’6”.
Being numbered as one of those in the short category, I found it hilarious to see him on a well-decorated and discrete hydraulically lifted platform, where at the push of a button, he suddenly was as tall as O’Reilly, if only in his dreams.
It was an obvious shtick and just extremely funny to watch, as he rose up and down at appropriate times when challenged.
The moderator, unfamiliar to some of us, was E.D. Hill, who used to be a “Fox News” anchor and now has those duties for CNN. She knew exactly when to cut into the two talkative combatants, when to let ’em go, and when to laugh along with them. Her presence was a welcome one and she helped to contain the one-on-ones, which at times threatened to get away from her. Besides, in a low neckline and with legs that seemed to go on forever, the odds were that all eyes would be on her. Nice touch!
The set was, of course, all red, white and blue, mock columns on either side, decorated with (what else?) stars, and it looked far more serious than the speakers were able to be. Since those of us at home saw it by cable live streaming, the language could be a tad more normal with four letter words sprinkled here and there, not gratuitously, but as one more bit of humor.
The one-liners flew thick and fast. I couldn’t even write them down, they were so numerous, and the shots of the audience showed a packed crowd in a dozen age groups who loved every one of them. I can’t remember who accused whom of “living on b–s–- mountain,” but the comment came up frequently.
There were echos of some of the sentiments of both President Obama (with some silent versions of his falling asleep) and challenger Gov. Mitt Romney, but there were also some serious discussions on Social Security, Medicare, and the like. And they agreed that the O’Reilly followers had “won the battle for Christmas.”
It would be good to see the stats on how many millions tuned in to the show and how much money was raised for charity, but it’s the best five bucks I’ve spent in a very long time and absolutely hilarious to watch.
Nothing that Biden, Ryan, Obama, and Romney can say in coming weeks can possibly be as hilarious. Sometimes it’s darn good to laugh at ourselves. Well done, guys.
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