Okay, now that I actually watched the clip:
"The Daily Show" (TDS) included two clips from "Brave New Voices" (BNV) to illustrate spoken word poetry, and then blasted one poet for "rapping," which is a common misconception about spoken word. I think it spells out, in tall letters, how much the general population (including many cafe and academic poets) believe that spoken word and poetry slam consist of early "Def Poetry"-style retreads, or acapella rap.
While TDS was going for the laugh, and Stewart's whole "dis-" inner rhyme was cute (and "Black man in a White House" should just be the center/given square in NPS bingo), it was either A) him having fun without not fully understanding the movement, or B) someone on his writing staff was laughed out of Nuyo, Bar13 or Louder with a 17.3. There was definitely some bitterness there.
As a poetry lad of 39 years, it is disturbing to see the assumption that spoken word is considered exclusively a youthful endeavor. Granted, a large majority of slammers out there are college-aged or just beyond, but the organizers, touring poets and world champs of slam skew older, have families and still find time to give in to their addiction to the art.
Those kids on BNV were very impressive as youth poets, but they are not representative of the whole genre of poetry. And Stewart comparing poetry jams to student radio merely perpetuates that belief that spoken word is a bunch of strident college students who read halfway through their history books and think they know the world around them (or can't see beyond their mirror frame and think that's a sufficient worldview). Granted, there's at least one poet like that at every local poetry reading, but they are in the minority, and often grow out of it or move on to other things.
But, to be fair, TDS framed the criticism of a poetry jam at the White House in an intentionally curmudgeonly manner, kinda like "get off my lawn," all fist-shaking in black & white -- which furthers the youth assumption of spoken word and slam.
Well, any publicity is good publicity... maybe we can act all hurt like the Special Olympics and have the President make a statement in our favor.
Too bad Stewart isn't as interactive with his audience as Stephen Colbert; had Colbert done something like this, we could've email-bombed him and he would have to respond. Plus, Colbert freestyles better than Michael Steele, has had poet laureates on his show and, if we promised to rename Ed Mabrey something like StephEd the PoEagle Mabert, slam's Q-rating would go through the roof. Then Stewart would have to take us seriously.
Stewart did seem a bit creamy in the jeans for Tom Waits. Maybe he did the whole thing for laughs.