Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. (Charles Sykes / Associated…)
Today in “news that’s interesting if not terribly surprising”: Jews like Jon Stewart and Christians like Stephen Colbert.
In a survey conducted by the religiously themed dating websites JDate and Christian Mingle, more than 2,000 users were asked to name their “favorite political news funnyman.” Stewart, who is Jewish, was the overwhelming favorite of the JDate poll (51% ) while Catholic Stephen Colbert won a plurality of the votes on Christian Mingle (39%).
To be fair, the survey was less than scientific and the choices were rather limited – in addition to Stewart, Colbert, users could select “Real Time” host Bill Maher or “Weekend Update” anchor Seth Meyers – but the results suggest there may be a strong cultural bias when it comes to political satire.
When they’re not riffing on politics, both hosts have been known to crack a few jokes about religion -- particularly their own. Stewart tends to focus on various aspects of Jewish culture, riffing on the need for Jews to “step it up” on Passover and performing a hot dog bris on “The Daily Show” to ensure that Hebrew Nationals beef franks are, in fact, kosher.
Stewart also spends plenty of time talking about Christianity, usually vis-à-vis the ongoing culture wars. Although he’s defended the presence of a cross at Ground Zero, Stewart's declaration of war on Christmas and his support for President Obama’s birth-control mandate have earned him the enmity of Christian conservatives.
But it's his colleague, Stephen Colbert, who puts religion at the forefront of his show, “The Colbert Report.” A faithful Catholic and Sunday school teacher, Colbert regularly invites clergy members on the show to discuss the issues of the day, such as Rep. Paul D. Ryan’s proposed budget and the Vatican’s crackdown on supposedly "radical" American nuns. He has fun with the subject too, like the time last year he challenged Jack White to a game of Catholic trivia.
Colbert has also stuck up for the Jewish community, like the time he ripped the Mormon church for posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims.
Nevertheless, Colbert seems to have far less crossover appeal than Stewart: Only 18% of JDate respondents picked him as their favorite political satirist, meaning he fared worse than “Real Time” host Bill Maher, an avowed atheist. (No word on how any of the hosts fared with Mormon daters.)
In the most surprising detail of the survey, it was “SNL” star Seth Meyers, rather than Maher, who finished dead last with both groups, to which we have only one thing to say: Really?
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Follow Meredith Blake on Twitter @MeredithBlake.