I don’t always find the segments on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart all that funny, but every so often he hits on something that gives me a chuckle. And Thursday night I found myself nodding my head at the TV and laughing aloud at one of those moments.

Stewart poked fun at the silly spectacle of a debate over whether or not to designate yogurt as the official state snack of New York, after lawmakers took to the floor to consider the bill in the state Senate earlier this week. It seemed a fitting representation of the state of politics and the political process today.

The idea for the bill was suggested by a local fourth-grade class, according to Republican State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer, who sponsored the bill.

Ranzenhofer said the idea for yogurt as the state snack came from teacher Craig Schroth’s class at Byron-Bergen. Earlier this year, the fourth-grade class had been learning about state government, when the Russian government blocked a shipment of Chobani yogurt during the Winter Olympics, Ranzenhofer said.

The ensuing debate over that bill was described by the New York Times, Animated Debate in New York State Capital? It’s About Yogurt:

The New York State Senate sometimes considers weighty matters like taxes and budgets.

On Tuesday, it focused its attention on yogurt.

Specifically, it took up a proposal to designate yogurt as the official state snack. Yogurt production happens to be a booming industry upstate.

But in Albany, no matter is too small to provoke disagreement. And honoring yogurt, it turned out, was too much for some lawmakers to stomach.

One senator, Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat, suggested the designation might be inconsiderate to people who are lactose intolerant. Another, Gustavo Rivera, a Bronx Democrat, wondered if yogurt could count as a snack if it were consumed at breakfast time.

Alternative snack ideas were raised. The distinction between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt was clarified.


View Stewart’s play-by-play of some of the best debate highlights below, in two videos.  Code Pink (sort of) even has a cameo. (Warning, some profanity).

After nearly forty-five minutes, the bill eventually passed by a 52 to 8 vote and has been sent on to the State Assembly.

But Stewart had a closing message for lawmakers before the bill’s next vote.

“Before the Assembly takes up debate on state bill A8994, I want to remind them that when it comes to yogurt attaining the designation of state snack, I must reinforce to our representatives that the good people of New York do not give a f***.”

[Featured image: Comedy Central, The Daily Show video]