Wearing a comically long red necktie and some kind of dead rodent on his head, Jon Stewart returned to television last night.
The political satirist and former host of The Daily Show appeared on his protégé Stephen Colbert’s Late Show in a segment mocking US president Donald Trump’s laundry list of oppressive executive orders. Pretending to be Trump, Stewart read off a slew of “new” executive orders, including an edict that China send the United States its wall, and a decree that the official language of the US will henceforth be “bullshit,” rather than English.
“And by the way,” he added, “none of that ‘sure, I’ll speak bullshit at work, but at home I’m gonna use facts and real information.’ No. Bullshit all the time! Immersion. It’s the only way to be fluent.”
Stewart’s carcass toupee was a nod to Trump’s infamously floppy combover, while the giant tie—a clip-on that broke off midway through the bit—served as tribute to the bizarrely long way the president wears his.
But it was not all fun and games. Amid the silliness, Stewart ascribed a sinister purpose to the actions of Trump’s first 11 days in office.
“Every instinct and fiber of my pathological self-regard calls me to abuse of power,” Stewart said, still pretending to be Trump. ”We have never faced this before—purposeful, vindictive chaos.”
After reading off the mock executive orders, Stewart faced the camera (the dead rodent no longer nestled atop his head) and addressed the American public.
“It is going to take relentless stamina, vigilance, and every institutional check and balance this great country can muster to keep me, Donald J. Trump, from going full Palpatine,” he said, referencing the tyrannical villain of the Star War series.
Stewart ended the bit with a more hopeful tone, asking Americans to keep fighting.
“No one action will be adequate. All actions will be necessary,” he said. “And if we do not allow Donald Trump to exhaust our fight and somehow come through this presidency calamity-less and constitutionally partially intact, then I, Donald J. Trump, will have demonstrated the greatness of America—just not the way I thought I was gonna.”
Stewart ended his 17-year run as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show in 2015, and has since stayed mostly out of the public eye. He’s now working on developing an animation production studio for HBO, which will churn out bite-sized satirical videos for the pay-cable network’s online platforms. HBO brass initially hoped those would be ready before the US presidential election ended last year, but it’s now February, and we’re still waiting for Stewart’s project to materialize.