A couple of months ago, digitially hip Twin Citians were hitting their “refresh” keys like overcaffeinated telegraph operators, trying to grab online tickets for “The Daily Show’s” four St. Paul appearances.
Just a lucky few hundred made it through, and of all the Jon Stewart fanboys in our fair liberal land, only Bill Evenson can claim “first!” — first in line for the first “Daily Show” taping today.
It took some dedication, or miscalculation; Bill and brother Dan arrived at St. Paul History Theater just a shade after noon for the 4:30-ish taping. “There wasn’t a big race,” Bill confessed, motioning behind him. “The second people got here at 1 o’clock.”
By 3 plenty of folks had Evenson envy; even Time magazine’s blogstar Ana Marie Cox was several dozen places behind. Brotherly love topped justice: turns out Dan Evenson had never seen the show.
But he was probably the exception. The line snaking up and down the History Theater sidewalk felt like one outside a DFL caucus, albeit in a parallel universe governed by both “Logan’s Run” (dearth of over-30s) and “Children of Men” (absence of kids).
Instead of contented Republicans celebrating the moral and economic purity of, say, Michele Bachmann, Bill and Dan’s sister Cathy Jensen unfurled the banner of Bachmann’s DFL opponent, El Tinklenberg.
But the Evensons — another brother, Mike, joined them closer to game time — exemplified the deep desire of a “Daily Show” devotee.
“I think Jon Stewart is the most important voice of reason,” said Bill, normally fast with a quip but not in this case. “I don’t want to overstate it, but his voice is unique. He’s considered a radical leftist voice on the media, but when the entire political process is mock-worthy, he’s the rational one.”
While Bill, “a network analyst for a prominent local airline,” played the thinky sibling, Mike, who works at the nearby Bedlam Theater, exuded emotion: “Immediately after 9/11, I started my own fake news show (YXY News) because people were having trouble expressing opposition vitally.” Stewart, he said, bravely battered complacency with satire.
But hadn’t Stewart also built up John McCain, “The Daily Show’s” most frequent guest, who backed the war and then the surge? The Evensons were having none of it; Mike noted Stewart is one of the few who still insists the surge’s success is overhyped and over budget, while Bill noted Stewart’s lack of beholdeness to the Arizona senator.
“McCain’s last appearance on ‘The Daily Show,’ Stewart asked him all kinds of questions about [position changes], and he was struck with McCain’s silence. Jon Stewart talked about it later and said he was embarrased for him.”
The quartet agreed they wouldn’t be mad if, say, Stewart took after Barack Obama in their presence. “I’ve heard the reaction when he’s said things about Obama,” Bill said. “I’ll admit to being suspectible to the crowd mentality, but I’d probably agree with everything he said.”