During Jon Stewart’s long tenure as host of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” there have been moments – relatively rare – when the show’s comedy underpinnings could barely contain the anger Stewart and his staff had over the issues they were covering.
This summer, John Oliver is serving as substitute host of the show while Stewart is directing a feature film, and arguably, Monday’s broadcast was the first where it really felt Oliver himself was seething. It came in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin shooting.
“That we can get a verdict like this, not because the system has broken down, but the system worked exactly as it was designed,” Oliver said. “How does 2013 Florida have a law that seems cut and pasted from 1881 Tombstone? Because – let’s be clear here – according to current Florida law, you can get a gun, follow an unarmed minor, call the police, have them explicitly tell you to stop following him, then choose to ignore that, keep following the minor, get into a confrontation with him and if at any point during that process you get scared, you can shoot the minor to death and the state of Florida will say, ‘Well, look, you did what you could.'”
“You know what, I think it might honestly be time for the Sunshine State to officially change its motto,” Oliver went on, at which point a graphic was put up showing it as “The Worst State.”
Oliver went on to lampoon and criticize remarks by Zimmerman’s brother Robert and lawyer Mark O’Mara.
Incidentally, the third segment of Monday’s “Daily Show,” an interview with “The Newsroom” exec producer Aaron Sorkin, was filmed under rudimentary circumstances, using two handheld cameras, the result of what Oliver said was a power outage on the set.
“You might notice things look a little bit weird,” Oliver said. “Funny story. At the end of the last segment, basically the studio exploded. We lost all power to our cameras and monitors, and it seems I have officially broken ‘The Daily Show.'”