As Trevor Noah has spent the last several months learning, Jon Stewart is a one-of-a-kind comedy phenomenon. His television return on the Thursday (July 21) “Late Show” was a reminder of this fact, and it also reminded viewers of certain Stewart trademarks: The doodling with the pen, the quick back-and-forth with cleverly edited video depicting political hypocrisies — and of course, the nicknames.
Insisting that he’s been gone so long from “The Daily Show” that he can’t recall the name of his frequent target Sean Hannity, Stewart dubs the Fox News anchor “Lumpy,” a gag he continues throughout his currently-viral takedown. Of course, those who loved Stewart for years on “Daily Show” remember his knack for taking a stiff political figure and capturing his essence in absurd pop culture caricatures, so the “Lumpy” thing is a welcomed return to form.
As we hope that “Lumpy” catches on, here’s a rundown of some classic Jon Stewart nicknames that have endured.
Mitch McConnell the turtle
A Republican icon and the longest-serving U.S. Senator in Kentucky history, McConnell would often enter the news cycle during Stewart’s “Daily Show” years. He also happens to be pretty old and wrinkly, and talks really, really slow. One day, Stewart began mixing his McConnell news with an imitation of Cecil, the sad turtle who appeared in a handful of classic Bugs Bunny cartoons. Stewart’s hilarious imitations grew with each passing week, to the point where he eventually dared McConnell to prove that he wasn’t a turtle.
Michael Steele is ‘Sesame Street’ guy
Once upon a time, Michael Steele was one of the most powerful Republicans in the country, heading up a pre-Reince Priebus RNC. But Stewart saw him as something far different, remembering the recurring “Sesame Street” sketches that cast Grover as an inept waiter constantly messing up the order of a disgruntled bald man. Much like McConnell, the comparison was completely random — and somehow, spot on. The gag became so popular that Stewart eventually just began using a lookalike Muppet to represent Steele.
In 2013, a pre-presidential Donald Trump got into a Twitter flame war with Stewart — which is almost always a bad idea. After Trump tried to take down the “Daily Show” host by tweeting “I promise you that I’m much smarter than Jonathan Leibowitz – I mean Jon Stewart,” the comedian picked up on Trump’s vaguely-anti-semitic call-out with his own response. Hilariously revealing that Trump’s birthname was “Fuckface Von Clownstick,” he asked: “What’s he hiding?” Adding “That’s all over Twitter — I hope,” and soon enough, it was.