Jon Stewart missed being behind an anchor desk.
That’s what he told his old Daily Show co-star Stephen Colbert when he crashed The Late Show on Monday night, crawling out from beneath the host’s desk like a groundhog hoping to see his shadow — or, in his case, a live studio audience.
“I missed this,” Stewart admitted when Colbert teased him about why he’d traveled from his farm in New Jersey to The Late Show’s set in New York, before getting down to the business of calling out President Trump’s ongoing willingness to distort the truth. “Trump lies more in one press conference than CNN does in a year,” Stewart said, brandishing his trusty ballpoint pen. “And this is coming from a guy who, as you know, hates CNN.”
Stewart then addressed “The Media” directly with some real talk about Trump’s ongoing hostility toward journalism.
“So I heard Donald Trump broke up with you,” Stewart said. “Stings a little, doesn’t it? Finally thought you met your match: a blabbermouth who’s as thin-skinned and narcissistic as you are.”
For the rest of the segment, Stewart spoke to The Media as if he were guiding it through a traumatic breakup with a guy who’s just never going to change.
“It’s time to get your groove back, Media,” he continued. “Because let’s face it: You kinda let yourself go for these last few years. Put on a few pundits, obsessing 24 hours a day, seven days a week about this one guy.”
“And the whole time you’re chasing after Donny,” Stewart said with a sad smile, “the rest of us are thinking, ‘Can’t you see he’s an asshole?!’”
What needs to happen, Stewart declared, is that the media has to stop expecting the president to become a more rational man overnight, because “70 year-old men don’t get less cranky or racist as time goes by.”
But Stewart did express some hope that coverage of Trump can continue and even improve, even if Trump himself never accepts reporting that’s critical of him. “This breakup with Donald Trump has given you, The Media, an opportunity for self-reflection and improvement,” he said. “Instead of worrying about whether Trump is un-American or thinks you’re the enemy, or if he’s being mean to you ... do something for yourself. Self-improvement! Take up a hobby! I recommend journalism.”
You can watch the full clip in the video above.
Corrected to reflect that Stewart said Trump lies more in one press conference than CNN in a year, not a day.