Still, Stewart has always practiced a form of journalism, using comedy as the delivery system. At “The Daily Show,” that meant reaching viewers who might not otherwise be heavy news consumers, dressing up current events in a more enticing package.
By moving to the less commercially pressured realm of streaming, Stewart has dispensed with the pretense of spooning out sugar to help the messages go down. The not-unreasonable takeaway from that is having spent time surveying the state of the US and the world, the comic — who can’t help but joke at times in asides and while talking to guests and newsmakers — has determined the stakes are too dire to spend much time clowning around.
“We support our troops, unless they actually need support,” Stewart says, proceeding to interview suffering military personnel along with their family members, followed by a very pointed sit-down with current US Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough.
The most obvious problem with “The Problem” is its emphasis on righting and exposing wrongs comes at the expense of being entertaining, at least in the way people have come to expect. The overall effect brings to mind the historic resistance when a comedic actor segues into dramatic roles, and the pushback from parts of the audience figures to be similar.
Stewart has anticipated that potential criticism and seems content to plead guilty to it. Having spent years eliciting laughs, in “The Problem” Stewart has different priorities, embarking, however lofty it might sound, on a search for solutions.
“The Problem With Jon Stewart” premieres Sept. 30 on Apple TV+.