A couple of weeks ago, The Daily Show upgraded their website, adding a free and fully-searchable video database of the past eight years of programs from the Jon Stewart era. For fans of the show, it was heaven. Imagine being able to instantly watch one of those old “Even Stevphen” segments with Carell and Colbert, before their bloated comic egos whisked them away to greener pastures and/or the studio down the block. Or how about something from the Indecision 2000 campaign trail, which as you might recall ended up going into overtime (“Electile Dysfunction”)? It almost sounded too good to be true…and it was, at least for Canada.
Perhaps as a rebuke to our sky-high dollar, the powers that be at Viacom have blocked the new site. Instead, Canadian visitors to The Daily Show or Comedy Central’s webpage get redirected to the Comedy Network, its less funny bastard stepchild to the north. There is no video database to peruse, just a handful of recent videos and episodes on a pumpkin-coloured template of a site. (Need we remind you, this is a network that puts the Ray Romano in comedy.) Their FAQ page insists that “You’ll be missing nothing. NOTHING! So don’t fret.” The natural response to this is somewhere around Lewis Black territory: it’s akin to the crudely super-imposed CTV or Comedy Network logos in the bottom-right corner of the screen during the show that actually end up masking certain punch lines (or at least the last few letters of “Mess O’Potamia”).
But Canadian (and American) broadcasting regulations prevail, so until the border magically disappears (or Stephen Colbert wins the presidency) it looks like we’ll have to settle for the somewhat comforting fact that we live in a country where The Daily Show and Colbert Report air on national broadcast television.