Top 27 Baltimore mentions on 'The Daily Show'

From morbid reinterpretations of city slogans to souvenirs boasting unofficial rat mascots, Baltimore knows how to laugh at itself -- and just like its citizens, Jon Stewart and his guests have relished poking fun at Charm City for 16 years on "The Daily Show." Sure, Baltimore wasn't the central subject of many of the show's segments, but a look through the archives reveals numerous choice references, some more oblique than others.

Trevor Noah takes over "The Daily Show" tonight, and to commemorate the occasion, we count down the good, the bad and the crabby Baltimore shout-outs during Stewart's tenure, from our least to most favorite. (OK, they're all our favorite.) Did we forget any memorable mentions? Let us know in the comments.

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27. Just after Monica Lewinsky’s post-Clinton-scandal interview with Barbara Walters, Stewart pokes fun at Lewinsky’s claim that her experience with the former president was “the most amazing experience of my life.” That description previously applied only to “reading ‘Flowers in the Attic,’ seeing ‘Phantom’ onstage in Baltimore and helping special ed kids pull taffy in high school,” Stewart says. (March 3, 1999)

26. “What’s black and white and completely over? It’s newspapers,” Stewart quips. Tribune Company (hey, Baltimore Sun!) files for bankruptcy. (Dec. 9, 2008)

25. It was a rough week for the Bush family. First, close friend and Orioles player Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for steroids. Then, friend King Fahd of Saudi Arabia “tested negative for being alive,” Stewart says. (Aug. 3, 2005)

24. It's February 2010, and national media outlets are going crazy with "snowpocalypse" coverage. Stewart keeps thinking he's coming up with an original name for the storm, only to find another outlet that's claimed it (see: “snowmageddon,” “snowtorious,” etc.). He tries to call Kelly Ripken, Cal Ripken Jr.'s wife, to get her take on the weather in Baltimore -- only to find out Fox News called her first. (Feb. 10, 2010)

23. Literary fans around the country celebrate what would have been Ernest Hemingway’s 100th birthday. There’s a look-alike contest in Florida; “Then it’s off to Baltimore’s annual Burl Ives cookoff,” Stewart says. (July 22, 1999)

22. Al Gore comes to Baltimore for an NAACP convention and makes sure to cite a number of prominent figures in African-American history. Give him a minute, and he’ll come up with the name of the guy who invented peanut butter, Stewart says. (July 13, 2000)

21. Ice Cube tells Stewart that shooting for his film, “xXx: State of the Union,” took place in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Baltimore. “Baltimore, you know, it’s right up there with Paris,” the actor and rapper says. (April 26, 2005)

20. Fort McHenry garners a shout-out when Stewart addresses a “Star-Spangled Banner” controversy. The national anthem, he deadpans, was “written in the heat of the most important war in American history -- the War of 1812 -- when America fought Britain for control, uh, of the…overture. The 1812 overture.” (May 4, 2006)

19. Oh, the Clinton years. “In the most significant cultural exchange between Americans since the president stuck his cigar in Monica’s dugout,” the Orioles play in Cuba, Stewart jokes. (March 29, 1999)

18. While this segment primarily centers around politicians employing Spanish phrases to pander to Latino voters, Rob Corddry makes an "appearance" in Baltimore for the Democratic debate, sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus, and pokes fun at that language, too. Clay Davis’ signature expletive is uttered, to significantly less dramatic effect. (Sept. 9, 2003)

17. Stewart reveals secret camera footage (not filmed by his show) of a woman, pretending to be a prostitute, walking into ACORN’s Baltimore headquarters for tax help…and getting it. “You might have to name this something else. … Your business is a performing artist...which you are,” a woman tells her. (Sept. 15, 2009)

16. Stewart talks about the callousness of the U.S. pointing to Iraqi people's acceptance of violence in their country as a measure of success. He cuts to a White House press secretary explaining that at one point, Washington was the murder capital of the U.S., and the government was still able to do its job. “That’s insane. Washington, D.C., is violent, but they’re not finding 30 to 50 corpses in the street every day,” Stewart says. “No, of course not,” correspondent Aasif Mandvi replies. “It’s not Baltimore.” (May 10, 2007)

15. Correspondent Rob Riggle decides to look at waterboarding from a waterboarder’s perspective. “What’s the capital of Maryland?” Riggle screams. “I don’t know! Baltimore!” the victim says as Riggle pours water on him, and Stewart kindly corrects the error. (Nov. 15, 2006)

14. In wrapping up the Ravens versus Giants Super Bowl, Stewart says MVP Ray Lewis is having a hard time pulling together lucrative endorsement deals because of his connection to an unsolved double murder. “You just feel for a guy in that situation. You leave the scene of a double murder but the ‘Got Milk?’ people won’t return your call," he says. (Jan. 30, 2001)

13. Ravens running back Ray Rice receives a two-game suspension for punching and knocking out his then-girlfriend Janay. “A two-game slap. One for each wrist,” Stewart says. (Sept. 10, 2014)

12. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) says he had the opportunity to see the play “Wicked” in Baltimore. He goes on to quote the musical as anecdotal evidence in opposition to an Iraqi resolution. (Feb. 15, 2007)

11. Stewart skewers the NFL for its mild two-game suspension of Rice after video footage surfaced of his domestic violence incident, pointing out the hypocrisy of players receiving four-game suspensions for smoking marijuana -- “The NFL suspends you for twice as long if what you hit is this,” Stewart says, pointing to a bong. He also points out distasteful metaphors used by Rice and others in the media when addressing the incident. One man says Rice is “about to deal with the iron fist of the NFL,” to which Stewart responds, “You really couldn’t think of a non-fist metaphor for this case?” (July 31, 2014)

10. “Daily Show” correspondents round up six fans to go to the Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington. Jon Oliver picks up Baltimore's Lauren King Bolin, checks out her pirate ship cruise business and takes her with him on the Sanity Bus. (Oct. 25, 2010)

9. In Stewart’s segment “Gaywatch: Unprecedented Penetration Edition,” he goes over then-recent advancements in LGBT rights nationally, including former Ravens linebacker and special-teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo’s endorsement of same-sex marriage. Stewart cuts to a pundit explaining that many athletes fear it would be too difficult to come out as gay in a locker room setting. “Really?” Stewart asks. “Because what I can tell from the locker room settings here in New York City, it’s incredibly easy. Maybe not to say it, but certainly to show it.” (Jan. 29, 2013)

8. Ray Charles sings “America the Beautiful” at Super Bowl XXXV, during which many players appear lost in thought. (Cue fictitious voice-overs.) Shannon Sharpe: “Did I leave my good luck charm in the locker room?” Kerry Collins: “Did I leave the gas on?” Ray Lewis: “Did I leave the scene of a double murder?” (Jan. 29, 2001)

7. In Ray Lewis’ Super Bowl pregame interview, when asked what he’d like to tell the families of the two murder victims in the case he was connected to, the Ravens player explains that God doesn’t use murderers for his glory. If that’s the case, Stewart says, murder trials should go a lot faster. “Would God allow a murderer to go to 13 Pro Bowls?” he asks as a fictional lawyer. “I rest my faith.” (May 4, 2015)

6. Author and West Baltimore native Ta-Nehisi Coates explains that his new book, “Between the World and Me,” was not literally a letter to his son, but rather that he used the form as a literary convention. “As a father, the idea that you thought the best way to communicate with your son was through a book had me very nervous about my children,” Stewart says. (July 23, 2015)

5. In an 8-minute “Baltimore is Burning” segment, Stewart cuts to footage of the unrest: “Let’s get right to the story: the lawless, destructive riots shaking our nation. Oh wait, that’s Kentucky fans after losing. No, I’m sorry, that’s Michigan fans after winning. No, I’m sorry, that’s a pumpkin festival gone awry," he says. Stewart also makes fun of the “passive-aggressive” tension between Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Gov. Larry Hogan. (April 28, 2015)

4. Jason Jones interviews former NSA analyst Thomas Drake, who was charged as a spy for blowing the whistle on his agency and exposing inexpensive and effective intelligence-gathering program ThinThread. When Drake’s superiors tell him not to speak out about the “embarrassing” cost-saving measure he’s discovered, Drake takes his story to The Baltimore Sun -- and Jones is disappointed it doesn’t make for a better spy movie. (Aug. 6, 2012)

3. Correspondent Jessica Williams delves into a species threatened by extinction -- pubic lice. Although changing grooming habits are akin to “deforestation” for pubic lice, a doctor tells Williams, crabs are still going strong in Baltimore, where “we get a lot of John Waters types.” Waters himself pipes in: “What do you mean John Waters types?” before waxing poetic about the STD’s prevalence a few decades prior. (April 8, 2013)

2. Ed Helms sets out to report on the phenomenon of “superstores” putting smaller retail locations out of business across the country, and he heads to The Block to do it. He challenges the CEO of strip club megachain Dejà Vu, then opening a location on East Baltimore Street, on the smaller strip clubs he’s potentially putting out. “These quaint mom-and-pop shops could become extinct. Heck, this block only has 38 left,” Helms expounds. (Aug. 12, 2002)

1. It’s easy to see what Hollywood saw in Steve Carell back in his correspondent days with the show's "Raven Mad" segment leading up to the Ravens versus Giants Super Bowl of 2001. Carell sets out to learn which city has better fans, and the answer may surprise you -- “or may not, depending on what you thought in the first place.” (Jan. 25, 2001)

qkelley@baltsun.com

twitter.com/quinnrkelley

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