Jon Stewart Compares Rick Sanchez to Michael Scott in Last Laugh

Jon Stewart is seen onstage at Comedy Central's "Night Of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Concert For Autism Education" at the Beacon Theatre Oct. 2, 2010, in New York City. Getty Images

Jon Stewart is seen onstage at Comedy Central's "Night Of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Concert For Autism Education" at the Beacon Theatre Oct. 2, 2010, in New York City.
Getty Images

Jon Stewart compared Rick Sanchez to Steve Carell's character on "The Office" Monday night, four nights after the recently fired CNN anchor called Stewart a bigotand suggested that members of the Jewish faith control the TV networks.

Stewart opened Monday's "The Daily Show" episode spending several minutes on Sanchez's comments. While Stewart didn't wade in too deep on Sanchez's comments about his religion, Stewart specifically addressed Sanchez's opinion of his upbringing.

Sanchez told satellite radio host Pete Dominick Thursday, "I'm so happy he grew up in a suburban New Jersey home with everything that could you ever imagine."

"I do occasionally have my issues with Rick Sanchez and his program, but he nailed what it was like growing up in Central Jersey in the early '70s, the fortunate son of a single mother in the education field," Stewart said.

Stewart also showed his audience a compilation of clips comparing Sanchez with Carell's character Michael Scott, including shots of both wearing similar black hats backwards, both praising popular Internet trends (Sanchez, social media; Carell, Wikipedia) and both using the term "TMI," an acronym for "Too Much Information."

"They are the same guy," Stewart said.

Stewart also suggested his staff had prepared the compilation before Sanchez was fired Friday, saying it would be "mean" to air the entire tape, yet he gave his audience "a little taste."

"We weren't making fun of Rick Sanchez because of a slight to ethnicity," said Stewart. "We see him as a complex television character who is flawed but fascinating to watch every week."

Stewart showed some empathy for Sanchez's sudden downfall. "If CNN got rid of Rick Sanchez because they didn't like his show, fine, we weren't that crazy about it either," Stewart said. But for those comments? "I'm not even sure Sanchez believes what he's saying."

Stewart has previously frequently mocked Sanchez, sometimes by showing a CNN clip of Sanchez being shocked with a Taser.

CNN fired Sanchez Friday, the day after his interview with Dominick. Sanchez said Stewart is bigoted toward "everybody else that's not like him."

"He's upset that someone of my ilk is almost at his level," Sanchez told Dominick.

Sanchez also told Dominick that although Stewart is Jewish, he couldn't relate to the prejudice Sanchez said he had seen in his youth. Sanchez was born in Cuba and started working at CNN in 2004.

"I'm telling you that everyone who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority?" Sanchez said.

  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for CBSNews.com

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