The interview started with Stewart touching on two topics of the day: the debate over tearing down Confederate statues (Stewart said he didn’t recall conservatives getting concerned about people destroying history when Saddam Hussein statues were toppled in Baghdad); and the way COVID-19 has been transformed from a health issue into into a political issue in the United States. For Stewart, the debate over masks epitomized this problem, pointing out that surgeons don’t wear masks in the operating room because “they drive Volvos and sip chai tea and listen to NPR.” (I.E. because they’re liberal.)
He continued: “I just want to say to people on the mask thing, like, great — next time you’re having an operation and the surgeon comes in with washed hands and a mask, just be like, ‘Don’t be a pussy, don’t be some liberal puss. Take off that mask and un-wash your hands and you stick your paws in my open gaping wound!’ Because apparently sanitary conditions are a liberal myth.”
Stewart went on to discuss his new movie Irresistible, which pulls back from day-to-day politics to focus on what he described as the “incredibly enriching and robust and corrupt and corrosive system” of campaigns. Noah asked if he saw any way for that system to be stamped out or overhauled, and Stewart said there were activists and aspiring politicians that made him optimistic for the future.
“You get the sense that they’re committed to rebuilding them in a manner that is gonna create a sturdier foundation,” he said. “And so much of this country, what you learn from this is — and the pandemic exacerbates it — what’s essential? Well, it turns out all the people in this country who are essential to its functioning are the lowest paid… The pendulum has swung away from valuing work and the people that talk about trickle-down are always about freedom and liberty. Well, what’s more liberating than not having to worry about your health insurance being tied to your job? Or working really hard but still having to use food stamps? That’s not freedom.”