Jon Stewart is capitalizing bigtime on his war of words with CNBC.
Stewart’s eight-minute screed against CNBC host Jim Cramer has rippled far beyond the confines of “The Daily Show.” It’s generated a torrent of media coverage and 1.3 million online views in the past week, according to Comedy Central.
The feud will get a fuel-injection Thursday night when Cramer goes mano a mano with Stewart as a guest on “The Daily Show.”
Cramer’s “Daily Show” appearance follows a week of counterpunches delivered on various other NBC Universal-owned platforms, which included guest spots on NBC’s “Today” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Stewart threw the first punch on March 4, following the last-minute guest-appearance cancellation by CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli, he of the now-infamous “Tea Party” rant on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange days earlier.
Santelli had called ill-fated home buyers “stupid” for getting themselves into mortgages they ultimately couldn’t afford, and Stewart took him and his network to task, effectively making the point that consumers weren’t always given the best financial information from money media sources like CNBC.
“If I’d only followed CNBC’s advice I’d have a million dollars — provided I’d started with $100 million,” the comedian quipped.
On Monday, Cramer responded defensively in his column on financial site MainStreet.com, claiming Stewart’s clips took his message regarding Bear Stearns and Lehman out of context.
The move caused Stewart to pour even more ridicule upon Cramer on Monday evening’s “Daily Show” installment. But then came Cramer’s back-to-back Tuesday appearances on “Morning Joe” and “Today,” during which he scornfully remarked that he was being “attacked by a comedian.”
This was tantamount to walking straight into an overhand right from Stewart, who playfully noted — in a segment titled “Cramer vs. Not Cramer: Basic Cable Personality Clash Skirmish ’09” — that the pejorative remark made it sound like a “comedian” is “some kind of buffoon, just flapping my arms with crazy buttons and wacky sound effects.”
Stewart, of course, then cut to a series of “Mad Money” clips, showing Cramer flapping his arms amid crazy buttons and sound effects.
Stewart may get the last laugh. Overall, unique usage for the “Daily Show” website is up 65% this week, according to Comedy Central.