City Desk

When Jon Stewart Called Tucker Carlson a ‘Big Dick’ in 2004…

Stewart vs. Carlson on Oct. 15, 2004 (Photo by Michael E. Grass)

Jon Stewart has everyone in town (including, yes, Washington City Paper) in a bit of a tizzy this week, between the weekend Rally to Restore Sanity and the Daily Show tapings in Chinatown. But it's not the first time the funnyman has come through town and caused a stir.

Remember that infamous October 2004 episode of CNN's Crossfire when Stewart told pundits Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala that Crossfire news theatrics were harming the nation? (Stewart: "So I wanted to come here today and say... Stop...Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.") I was able to score complimentary tickets to the taping, and was lucky to observe things viewers at home would not have seen. What was clear to those in the audience and those at home was how Stewart's exchanges with Carlson, in particular, became more testy during the course of the interview. ("You know what's interesting, though? You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show!" Surprisingly, that line made the transcript!)

But I wish there was a recording of Stewart and Carlson's off-air remarks during the commercial breaks. They were really going at it, as you might be able to tell in this photo I snapped from the audience. You couldn't hear anything, though, because of the stupid in-house studio music—some choice tunes from Bare Naked Ladies, Simon and Garfunkel and Dusty Springfield, to be exact.

As I wrote about the now-infamous Crossfire episode for DCist:

[I] tried to read Stewart's lips, but couldn't make anything out. Carlson's head was turned away from the audience. Paul Begala, meanwhile, just sort of sat there.

Stewart's appearance and skewering of Carlson and Begala made waves and has been credited with Crossfire's cancellation in January 2005. Could a Stewart skewering of Obama help lead to a voter-led cancellation of his presidency in 2012? Might this whole thing be the launch of... the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert ticket in '12?

Watch the Crossfire appearance here:

Photo by Michael E. Grass

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