Comedy Central’s The Daily Show usually skewers Republicans and conservatives, but last night, regardless of where you stand on the underlying issue of same-sex marriage, the program went beyond the pale with a joke about Republican acceptance of same-sex marriage that involved Sen. Mark Kirk's (R-Ill.) stroke
Stewart started his riff on same-sex marriage by mocking the language of "evolution" that many politicians have used to describe their shift in position on the matter over the years. The comedian referred the audience to Darwin’s chart of gay marriage acceptance, which went from “that’s illegal” to “ congrats Mr. and Mr. Smith.” Stewart added a jab snarking that asking Republicans to accept gay marriage and evolution at the same time would be too much. But as the segment closed, Stewart asked what would it take for reluctant GOP politicians to change their minds on same-sex marriage. That's when he cued news footage of Sen. Kirk’s announcement endorsing gay marriage, citing his recovery from a debilitating stroke. “So, it would take a catastrophic brain injury,” Stewart quipped.
And if mocking Republicans with a joke about brain trauma is legitimate, why didn't Stewart equally slam South Dakota's Tim Johnson, who in 2006 suffered "bleeding in the brain caused by a congenital malformation," as the Associated Press reported in 2006. Sen. Johnson had to have emergency brain surgery, but made a full recovery. Johnson has only recently changed his mind on same-sex marriage.
It's hard not to believe that Johnson's status as a Democrat shielded him from such an insensitive joke.