“For those just joining the story in progress, our government is going to shut down in 57 of your Earth minutes,” Jon Stewart declared around 11:03 p.m. ET last night. To mark the occasion, both he and his networkmate Stephen Colbert kicked off their shows with segments celebrating “Rockin’ Government Shutdown Eve” — though naturally, each comedian put his own spin on the material.
Stewart indulged in his trademark righteous indignation, sniping at Republican explanations for the shutdown – “‘it’s an unconstitutional takings of God-given American–‘ it sounds like ‘a bullsh—ing of random patriotic buzzwordies'” — and comparing the GOP to a losing football team that threatens to shut down the NFL if they’re not awarded more points. (“What I’m saying,” Stewart continued, “is, wouldn’t it be nice if the united states congress aspired to the maturity and problem-solving capacity of football players?”) The Daily Show host ended the bit with his very favorite Willy Wonka clip — words that Republicans should heed, since they’re coming from “a small business owner.”
Colbert, naturally, was a lot more gleeful. “This could be the greatest night of my life,” he crowed before trying to launch the Report‘s very own shutdown countdown clock. (Alas, Colbert never learned how to set the timer.)
Before interviewing that night’s big guest — Vince Gilligan — Colbert made a sly allusion to Gilligan’s work by hyping up the finale of Breaking Gov, a gripping drama that would finally reach its conclusion at midnight. (The series, naturally, was “created by Barack Obama.”) Here’s Colbert’s brief synopsis of the show: “[The government] started out as a highly sympathetic character in the 1770s, but in just 237 seasons, it has transformed into an egotistical, self-destructive maniac.” Man, that was almost too easy.