March 12, 2009 -- The showdown is set. In one corner is funnyman Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show," whose razor-sharp jabs aim directly at the funny bone. In the opposite corner is Finance Mad Man Jim "Booyah" Cramer, host of "Mad Money," whose stock prognostications sometimes leave heads spinning.
After going round for round in a full-blown media feud, the two men will finally face each other tonight on the set of "The Daily Show."
It appears everyone from Martha Stewart to Carson Daly will be watching to see who wins.
"Maybe they'll make up and kiss and it could be a great gay moment on television," Daly quipped to ABCNews.com. Daly has been following the feud from the beginning and declared Stewart "up ahead."
Even Cramer, a fixture on cable channel CNBC and founder of TheStreet.com, is uncertain whether he's facing a truce or a trounce tonight. Neither Cramer nor Stewart would comment about the feud or tonight's show. But earlier today on "The Martha Stewart" show, Cramer confessed he was anxious about his appearance tonight.
"I'm a little nervous," he said. "How bad is it going to be?"
"You should be nervous," Martha responded, to which Cramer asked jokingly, "Is he going to kill me?"
"He's fast as lightning," Martha told him.
When Cramer replied, "I'm slow as molasses," Martha suggested that he take the banana cream pie they would make later on the show. Cramer, who has been known to throw a few pies at the television screen, was holding out on whether to use it as a weapon on Stewart.
"I can turn it into a gift if he's kind to me," Cramer said.
Up to now, Stewart hasn't been so kind.
It all started March 4, when Rick Santelli, another CNBC personality, backed out of appearing on the fake news anchor's show. Stewart skewered the network with an eight-minute segment of some of the most bullish remarks made by CNBC's anchors and analysts.
"If I had only taken CNBC's advice, I would have a million dollars today, provided I started with $100 million," Stewart told his audience. "How do they do it?
Cramer, a former journalist and hedge fund manager who hosts the network's popular show "Mad Money," appeared to be singled out in the Stewart mash-up. While CNBC remained tight-lipped about Stewart's attacks, Cramer fired back with a column posted Monday on MainStreet.com.
He said Stewart seized on the "urban legend" that he recommended Bear Stearns stock a week before it collapsed. Instead, he wrote, he told a person who e-mailed his show that his account was safe. Through a "clever sound bite," Stewart tried to "pass off the notion of account safety as an out-and-out buy recommendation," Cramer said. "The absurdity astounds me."
That night on his show, Stewart offered a partial apology.
"OK. I was wrong," he said. "He was simply saying that if Bear was your broker or if your money was at Bear, your money would not disappear. He was not addressing the value of holding Bear stock. So Jim Cramer, I apologize."
"You weren't suggesting to buy Bear Stearns," he added. "That was something that you did five days earlier."
The comedian played a clip of Cramer shouting, "I believe in the Bear franchise. You know what? At 69 bucks, I'm not giving up on the thing!"
On Tuesday, Cramer kept fueling the fire with an appearance on the "Today" show. When host Meredith Viera asked him about Stewart's comments, he replied mockingly, "Oh, oh, a comedian is attacking me! Wow! He runs a variety show!"
Cramer later discussed the feud with CNBC's "Morning Joe" anchor Joe Scarborough, who came to his defense. "Maybe Jon Stewart can tell us what the markets are going to do over the next 10 years," Scarborough suggested.
Stewart shot back Tuesday night with a scathing 10-minute rant in which he called Cramer "Mr. Creamer."
"You don't have to make comedians sound like a venereal disease," Stewart cracked. "And 'variety show?' What? They make me sound like some kind of buffoon, just flapping my arms with crazy buttons and wacky sound effects!"
Stewart then cut to video of Cramer doing just that, pressing his trademark silly sound effects while working himself into a tizzy over rapid-fire stock picks.
"I don't know what the markets are going to do," Stewart said in response to Scarborough's comments. That's why I don't make the claim to any authority. "My network doesn't have the slogan 'In Stewart we trust,'" he added, making fun of the CNBC slogan "In Cramer we trust."
Feeling picked on by the NBC network and its subsidiaries -- or the "Peacocks" as he referred to them -- Stewart decided to call on backup from Viacom, which owns the Comedy Channel, MTV and Nickelodeon.
Stewart appears in a video mash-up with Dora the Explorer and her sidekick Boots in which the animated monkey asks Stewart if he want him to throw feces on Cramer and Scarborough and Dora calls Cramer a "pendejo" -- Spanish for jackass.
Daly called this latest volley the "battle of the brands. This is a metaphor for who's you know what is bigger."
"This is really Jon Stewart at his best," Daly said, adding he couldn't wait to watch tonight's show.
Cramer, on the other hand, seemed to be taking the attacks more personally. "The reason why it's been so hard for me, the attacks, is that early on I patterned my show off of his, which is that you can do an entertainment business show. And then to be suddenly attacked by a guy that's your idol makes it difficult."