Jim Cramer Stars as the "Today Show"'s Deer in the Headlights

Last Updated Mar 12, 2009 7:09 PM EDT

People are gearing up, perhaps too much, for tonight's appearance by CNBC Excitable Boy Jim Cramer on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." As you have to have heard, the two have been carrying on a little feud centering on a devastating "Daily Show" bit detailing Cramer's, and CNBC's, wrong calls over the stock market in the last devastating year. But there's one bit of coverage that has gotten somewhat overlooked: the "Today Show"'s decision earlier this week, to make Cramer sit, on live TV, through a tape of Stewart's heavily tongue-in-cheek "apology" and then ask him for a response.

The moment, which occurs about 3:30 into the video above, shows a reaction shot of Cramer as he watches the video, and it's clear that if Cramer knew this was coming, he's a horrible actor. He starts off with a broad grin as Stewart admits that "technically", he was wrong in saying that a certain tape the "Daily Show" ran of Cramer portrayed the "Mad Money" host as recommending Bear Stearns stock. But when Stewart continues, there's a simultaneous droop at the corners of Cramer's mouth; Stewart explains -- and, of course, has the videotape to prove it -- "that [recommeding Bear stock] was something you did five days earlier, on your buy-and-sell segment." As the Stewart video continues with yet another egg-on-Cramer's-face example of Cramer pushing Bear stock, he begins to look positively beady-eyed, as if willing himself to maintain his composure instead of running off the set. At that point, his response hardly matters.

It's a classic deer-in-the-headlights moment, partly because you might have thought NBC siblings would be nicer to one another. it's not that the "Today Show" didn't have an obligation to ask Cramer for his thoughts on his alleged feud with Stewart. But to put the already-beleaguered CNBC talking head in a "gotcha" moment? That was above and beyond the call of morning show duty.

You can check out Stewart's full "apology" at this link.