The genius of Jon Stewart, the mock news anchor, and Stephen Colbert, the pitch-perfect mock bloviator, is their ability to expose hypocrisy while getting laughs. In a wild election year, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, a spin-off created by Stewart's Busboy Productions, offered up the most memorable and trenchant campaign coverage. The payoff: around $120 million in ad revenue, not to mention the books and other paraphernalia that Stewart and Colbert fronted.
For Comedy Central, the duo's dead-on satire -- from Colbert's skewering of the media for its Obama swoon to Stewart's postelection interview/debate with Mike Huckabee about gay marriage -- gives it a late-night prestige brand in a sea of Scrubs reruns.
Busboy's latest gambit, Important Things With Demetri Martin, will try to extend its smart franchise to sketch comedy. For those who doubt that Stewart's witty pranksters can skewer Obama, these guys wrung laughs from bank failure. Now that's entertainment.