Trevor Noah and his Daily Show crew spent last week showing us just how nuts the Republican presidential campaign has become. Ben Carson is insisting he really did try to kill someone! Jeb Bush is barely awake! But Noah and his team went deeper on the absurdity of the election process, offering looks at how candidates pick up on viral news stories and on how their campaigns are funded. Here are six clips from last week that diagnose the mania that is the Republican presidential race.
On Monday, Noah slammed Ben Carson for his strange, nearly pathological tales about his hardened past. When media critics called into question a story from his autobiography — in which he wildly bragged about trying to stab a relative — and video surfaced of Carson relaying his theory that the pyramids were built as ancient storage units, Noah nailed how ridiculous the media circus around the former neurosurgeon has become. He particularly enjoyed how Carson defends the weird stories — and thinks they prove he'd be a great President. "The presidential frontrunner feels like the media is out to condemn him as a non-violent, amateur archeologist," Noah said. "This is weird for me. The media is saying, ‘Those rumors about you having a clean record and being an upstanding member of society, those things are true,' and Ben Carson's like, ‘Bullshit! I'm dangerous! And I try to kill people! I'm a bad person! I should be President!'"
On Tuesday, Noah started the show by going after the easiest Republican target: Donald Trump. When reporting the newest non-story in the War on Christmas, Noah showed a clip of Trump commenting on Starbucks' new seasonal coffee cups: red and green, sure, but with a notable lack of Santa or reindeer or the Baby Jesus. Trump suggested a massive boycott of the coffee chain, then promising, "If I become President, we're all going to be saying Merry Christmas again." It's would be the most backward Christmas movie ever made, Noah said: "The rich, out-of-touch businessman is trying to save Christmas!"
If The Donald is running the save Christmas, among other things, what's Jeb Bush in it for? Noah pointed out that the former Florida governor's low numbers in national polls barely rival his own lack of enthusiasm for his own campaign. But he saw a similarity between Bush and another famous Sunshine State resident: Like one of SeaWorld's killer whales, he's being forced to run even though he doesn't really want to and can barely pretend to be interested in it.
On Wednesday night, Noah tackled the latest Republican presidential debate, which included a new feature: a ringing bell that alerted the candidates when their time was up. It made the debate feel almost like a game show, although, as Noah quipped, "If this was a game show, it would screen out all the crazy people and everyone would actually have to answer the questions." Other highlights from the debate include Ted Cruz's inability to name five government agencies to which he'd reduce funding, Jeb Bush's failure to land his jokes, and Trump earning boos from the audience after shushing Carly Fiorina.
On Thursday's show, Noah opened with the news that the 2016 presidential campaign are expected to spend twice as much money as was spent in 2012 — and that 158 households have provided half all donations to super PACs so far. But maybe that's not so scary, Noah pointed out, because some of the super PACs have warm and cuddly names, like the latest supporting Marco Rubio: Baby Got PAC. "What names didn't you use?" Noah asked. "I Like Big Bucks And I Cannot Lie?"
And, finally, The Daily Show did offer a look into how election rules and regulations actually get made — and the government office that sets that manages campaigns. Correspondent Jordan Klepper sat down with the Federal Election Commission member Ann Ravel. Made up of three Republicans and three Democrats, the commission's votes usually end in deadlocks, accomplishing nothing, Ravel told Klepper. "You do know you're on TV right now," he asked. No wonder everything's so crazy.