A Night with Jon Stewart

Last night, Bob and I drove to Bloomington to see Jon Stewart at the IU Auditorium. This was no simple trip, since apparently every single mile of street, road and highway in Indiana is undergoing reconstruction requiring huge, slow-moving machines; we didn’t make it in time for our dinner reservations, but we did get to the show. And it was worth it!

Why don’t we have a high-speed train between Indianapolis and Bloomington? We own the right-of-way and it would seem to be a no-brainer. But I digress.

Jon Stewart is not only whip-smart and a close observer of the human condition, he has a great sense of timing, and the audience was constantly in stitches. (Bob began to worry about the woman sitting in front of us, who was laughing so hard he thought she might hurt something.)

At one point, Stewart explained that since he is Jewish and his wife is Catholic, they’ve decided to raise the children to be sad. During a riff on technology, he recounted his trip to the computer store where the 17-year old clerk yammered on about gigabytes and RAM; Stewart translated: “your current computer has 4 magic gerbils inside, but this new one has 8.”

The IU Auditorium is huge, and it was packed for the first of the two sold-out shows. Given that this is Indiana–albeit Bloomington, Indiana, which is slightly ‘bluer’ than, say, Greenwood–I was really surprised by the crowd’s reaction when, during his introductory remarks, Stewart said he’d met Indiana’s Governor. The Auditorium simply erupted in boos.

I have been under the impression that Mitch’s approval numbers remained fairly high; certainly, his press has been somewhere between favorable and fawning. Political nerds (like yours truly) have ┬áserious concerns about some of his policies, but our numbers are small. So I don’t know what to make of this unexpected crowd reaction, and from his demeanor, I don’t think Stewart expected it either.

All together, an interesting and enjoyable evening, except for the drive. Can we talk about the virtues of high-speed rail?