Jon Stewart did fine, much to the relief of those of us who enjoy his show regularly and feared the worst. He fit in, although he has nothing to do with the movies. He made a few political jokes, mainly making fun of Hollywood, but a decent one aimed at oddball entertainers and Dick Cheney. His ad-libs were funny and timely.
Nevertheless he and the show were roasted by Tom Shales and under appreciated by others. Why?
The answer is that none of us is used to watching a show complete with commercials, let alone a three and one half hour show complete with commercials. We are used to skipping commercials on our DVRs and to watching DVDs, HBO or Showtime.
I have not calculated how much of each hour was actual program, but I showed my son the first ninety minutes in about half that time, skipping a few bits, but capturing the parts I thought were entertaining. I was taken by the comment in Nikki Finke's blog that those in the audience thought it went better than those who had to watch it on ABC. There is just no momentum when one has to pause to ponder the effects of various beverages produced by Coca-Cola. I probably would not like The Daily Show either if I had to watch the ads.
This would have been a snappy two hour show if it had kept rolling. Next year they should run it like a soccer telecast and put commercials up in the corner or on the slides identifying the winners. Or else they need to go to HBO.
As for Stewart, he should probably take a year off and then assume his rightful place as the Johnny Carson of our decade.