So many great lines there. And delivered impeccably to boot.
AASIF MANDVI: Oh, absolutely, Jon. It's not often that an entire region is given this kind of chance. Every day the outdoor markets and cafes explode in anticipation. We're like children on Christmas morning. From what I'm told. It's very exciting.
STEWART: Really? The violence and the instability doesn't color that view?
MANDVI: No, no--not at all. As one gentleman told me while standing in the smouldering remains of what was once his village: "you can't get hummus without mashing some chick peas." (ed. Brilliant)
STEWART: Really? Because when I see the news, Aasif, people are really ... they seem angry; people are screaming angrily.
MANDVI: Well what did you expect? As Secretary Rice said, we're going through some birth pangs here. And you know how people tend to scream and say things they don't mean when they're in labor. Nonsense like, "how could you do this to me?" Or, "Death to America." And then, once the baby arrives, all is forgiven. What we're going through is exactly like that. I mean, we all understand it in exactly those terms. (Ed. This is spit-take funny, especially the delivery of the two birth pang lines.)
STEWART: Aasif I'm--forgive me for asking this, but-- [Sound of bomb exploding] Are--are you okay?
MANDVI: (Shaking head dismissively) Oh yeah, I'm fine. That was just an improvised explosive opportunity. I believe it was filled with what sounded like the flying shards of a better tomorrow. I can't wait to see what will rise from the ashes. (Crosses fingers) I hope it's a parliament. (Ed. brilliantly parodies the talking points).
STEWART: There's no resentment there that these changes that are being brought were perhaps foisted upon the region?
MANDVI: No, no not at all. Over the years, we've grown accustomed to thinking of ourselves as you think of us--tiny abstract drops in an oilfield of possibility. Whether redrawing our borders without regard for ethnicity or religion, or experimenting with unfamiliar forms of governance. We always welcome a chance to test the latest theories of your political scientists.
STEWART: That's an incredible way to look at a terrible situation.
MANDVI: Well, I'm sure it's not different from the way your nation views the events of September 11th: tough day; great opportunity.
STEWART: I don't think we, I don't think we really look at it like that.
MANDVI: Oh? Well. I guess not everyone knows how to respond when opportunity knocks their house down. Jon?
Hilarious as it may be (and it definitely is hilarious), the clip ends, though, incorrectly. There was, in fact, a whole group of people that looked at September 11th as "Tough day, great opportunity." And they've taken that opportunity to play out their vastly foolish middle east war fantasy to the hilt. And they're about to turn the dial to 11.
The writers and stars of the Daily Show truly are the Fools of old: telling the truth through barbed jests in ways that illuminate the vanity and error of the true fools wearing the crowns. Comedy and tragedy inextricably intertwined - to weep or to laugh, not a choice but two sides of the same coin these days.