Maybe he was coming on to launch a counterattack on Comedy Central, and the way Jon Stewart pretends to not be real news. He's the volatile host of a show called Mad Money after all, he had to have something up his sleeve.
I don't think anyone expected this one-sided trainwreck of a debate that left Cramer sulking in his chair while Stewart glibly delivered blow after blow to Cramer and CNBC. It was pathetic to the point of being hard to watch.
But Stewart brought it home when he explained to Cramer that his 75-year-old mother was one of the everyday people whose savings had been wiped out. Those everyday people who relied on CNBC to report when the market was spinning out of control felt duped, Stewart explained, by a network that seemed to be cheerleading the markets as they crumbled. A point made sharp by the juxtaposition of Cramer's hot-headed Mad Money personality compared to the sober, thoughtful analysis he offered in the interview where he explained how he manipulated markets as a hedge fund manager in the '90s.
Cramer played the appeasement card. He apologized. He took responsibility. He whined a plaintive "what else can I do?" In short, he grovelled. So it was no surprise when Stewart didn't even look him in the eye when they shook hands at the end of the interview.
I've included the episode below. You can also find the entire interview on thedailyshow.com, but the site has been up and down this morning as it's been flooded with traffic.