Just two weeks ago, legendary anchor Jon Stewart bade farewell to Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” in a grand finale featuring his usual wit as well as sprinkles of uncharacteristic sentimentality. Although famous for his criticisms of American politics and media, the comedian also regularly joked about other governments and bizarre phenomena around the world.
Here’s a look back at some of Stewart’s best quips at “our great Chinese overlords” and some of the absurd situations in China in the past two decades.
A Measured Discussion of the Prohibition of Wordplay in the People’s Republic of China.
In this clip, Stewart calls out Chinese authorities for banning puns on the grounds that they “confuse the public” and may lead to “cultural and linguistic chaos.” Stewart declares, “The Great Chairman says from now on all meanings must be literal, and all entendre must be single! Single, I say! There will be no puns!”
Who Froze Jade Rabbit?
In early 2014, China’s Jade Rabbit, a lunar rover, landed on the moon, but broke down soon after because “the rover could not deal with the lunar environment,” which, as Stewart aptly points out, should be an obvious requisite for a spacecraft designed to study the moon.
Billion Dollar Baba
The Chinese company Alibaba launched its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in September of 2014, and shares soared—even though, as Stewart jokes, no one nobody knows what the company does. In this clip, he clarifies all the facts investors need to know about Alibaba.
Special Olympics Update-Controversies
During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it was revealed that the little girl who sang during the open ceremony lip-synced. The Olympic music director claimed it was for national interests because the child on camera should be “flawless in image, internal feelings, and expression. The decision, he says, went as high as the Politburo.”
“Wow. You thought your middle school days were hard. Imagine if your government got together and decided you weren’t cute,” said Stewart.
Headlines-Mao More Than Ever
“People’s Republic of China turns 50. Wow, time sure flies when you’re oppressing a quarter of the world’s population,” and they celebrated by “partying like it’s 1984,” said Stewart.
Things May Be Bad, but At Least Our Streets Don’t Burp Mystery Goo
In May 2013, Chinese state-run media reported a large, foul-smelling puddle of thick ooze, that reached almost a foot high, appearing in Nanjing. “A foot high. So nearly high enough to touch China’s poisonous air, leaving just a little cushion that the Chinese call the sweet spot, or… air,” said Stewart.
Age of Misinformation-Great Firewall of China
After Google decided to censor search results in exchange for access to the Chinese market, Stewart joked, “Critics say the deal violates Google’s own motto ‘Don’t be evil.'”