Following the disclosure of financial transactions by a disgruntled former employee, Jon Stewart, star of The Daily Show, has been forced to admit to making clandestine payments to far-right evangelist M. G. "Pat" Robertson, in exchange for making ludicrous comments in public.
Faced with copies of bank statements as evidence, Stewart reluctantly admitted to the payments. When contacted by telephone, he justified his actions: "Hey, really good wing-nut material is hard to come by these days, and Pat has a natural talent for it." He later added "considering the ratings boost we get when lampooning this guy, a few hundred grand is peanuts."
The disclosure is unlikely to affect Stewart’s scheduled appearance as host of the Academy Awards. Anonymous sources in the Academy said that they briefly considered replacing Stewart with Robertson himself, but soon discounted the idea. "Our people talked to his people," the source said, "but apparently he’s not ready to ‘come out’ as a natural comic talent just yet." A spokesperson for Robertson denied any contact, saying "Dr. Robertson has no intention of ‘coming out’ of anything for any reason. We just don’t use that phrase around here!"