After much media speculation over news that Jon Stewart met with Barack Obama twice during his presidency, The Daily Show host came clean Wednesday night with all the juicy details: “I was brought through the secret White House tunnel entrance at Mount Rushmore,” the host cracked. “It was a round table meeting with the President, Elvis — still alive — Minister Farrakhan and the Area 51 alien.”
Clearly relishing the ridiculousness of his momentary place in the 24-hour cable news cycle, Stewart downplayed his visits with Obama, noting first and foremost, they weren’t actually secret. They had been written in the White House visitors’ log, where Politico discovered them.
As for the what the pair discussed, Fox News speculated that a crack about a shirtless Vladimir Putin, made not long after Obama warned Russian about further military intervention in Ukraine, was proof the president and host were in cahoots.
In actuality, the meeting went more like this, according to Stewart: Obama scolded him for turning young Americans cynical, Stewart explained he was actually “skeptically idealistic,” then they argued about fixing the VA and Healthcare.gov. It was essentially the same as his recent interview with Obama on The Daily Show — except with delicious salmon.
For Stewart, the meeting with Obama was no different than those he’s taken with big wigs in finance, tech, news and, even, Billy Joel. “And the general thrust of all those meetings or phone conversations are the same,” Stewart joked. “Basically, it’s this: ‘Jon, why are you such an asshole?'”
The only meeting Stewart ever took that actually was secret was, coincidentally, with Fox News president, Roger Ailes. Stewart cracked he was summoned to Ailes’ office by a raven, and illustrated their chat with a clip from Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal in which a character confronts the Grim Reaper.
“Was the President of the United States trying to influence or intimidate or flatter me?” Stewart asked. “My guess is, uhh-huh. Did it work? Might’ve. Was it sinister? I don’t fucking know. In fact, in my entire tenure here of being yelled at by some very influential and powerful people — and Billy Joel — only with one of those people has a phone call ever ended with, quote, ‘This conversation never happened. And if you say it did, I’ll deny it.'”
With a picture of the Reaper and the cheeky subtitle, “I am Roger Ailes” hanging beside him, Stewart concluded: “And it wasn’t the fucking president.”