"Jon Stewart"
September? 2001?
by B. Love


UniverCity: This whole Daily Show thing really seems to be working out for ya. How long were you there before you stopped worrying they’d fire you and send ya back to the Quik-E Mart?

Uh, what time is it now? Um, just recently... Let me tell ya something: I’ve been fired often, so I don’t worry about it cuz I know I’m real good at it. I don’t even unpack...

UniverCity: Stephen Colbert has been there a few years longer than you: He must’ve wanted your job. Do you make sure to keep your back to the wall whenever he’s around?

Stephen Colbert?! Stephen Colbert doesn’t even know how to read! You didn’t know that? He’s not even from this country. Stephen Colbert doesn’t even know English. Everything he does, we have to sound it out phonetically for him before he goes on. Stephen Colbert is a migrant worker. I thought you knew that...

UniverCity: (Laughing) That’s news to me. That 5 Questions thing you do is pretty funny: How’d you come up with that?

I came up with it at a seder one night. Originally it was just four questions, and I said, “Let’s add one.” You wanted me to say, “We don’t do that -- that was the other guy!” Right? So yeah, we don’t do that. (Laughter)

UniverCity: Speaking of Craig Kilborn, he was funny and all...
(Laughs) “He was funny and all?”

What are you, the Roger Ebert of UniverCity Magazine? “Bret Love says he was funny and all...”

UniverCity: Can I finish?! He was funny, but when he was interviewing people, he looked like somebody had just switched his Folgers with raw sewage. What’s your secret to getting a good interview?

Well, clearly you haven’t seen the show: I don’t think anyone would accuse me of knowing that secret. Here’s my secret: I don’t pay attention (laughter), and it really seems to be working for me. I just have a general sense of being disturbed...

UniverCity: Speaking of which, what was up with you and the uptight Spice Girl (Posh Spice, who famously told Stewart during their interview, “I don’t think you’re very funny!”)? Did I sense some weird kinda sexual tension there?

It wasn’t as much sexual tension as it was sexual disappointment. Let’s just put it this way: That wasn’t our first time meeting... Oh wait, did you say the Spice Girls? I’m sorry, I thought you said the Village People. I don’t know what that was. I always thought “Posh” would be nicer. But it was nice to see Baby Spice trying to save the day... B y the way, at what age does she cease to go by the name Baby?

UniverCity: No clue... Other talk shows are known for giving their guests elaborate gift baskets. If my smarmy charm miraculously landed me a guest spot on The Daily Show, what would I find in my welcome basket?

I’d probably take a dump in it, then wrap it in some sort of foil. Then you’d come in and you’d be thinking, “Oh, look at this! This is nice.” But then you’d open it up, and it’d be a dump, and you’d be sad...

UniverCity: Carson had Bette Midler singing to him, Letterman had Drew Barrymore doing a strip-tease on his desk: What’s your favorite Daily Show celebrity moment?

Boy, if we could get some celebrities on the show, that would help! I really like the one with that guy who did that thing in the movie. ‘Member the... Nah, I got nothing.

UniverCity: I kinda liked the one where Matthew McConaughey is showing how his goats have sex. It’s not all that often you see an A-list actor demonstrating the fine art of goat-humping on national television...

That was great! That’s my favorite celebrity moment! Thank you for reminding me.

UniverCity: Did you feel a little weird celebrating the show’s fifth anniversary when you’d only been there two years?

Look, I felt a little weird having a job for two and a half years! This is the longest I’ve ever worked anywhere. I didn’t even last Woolworth’s longer than three months. The whole thing’s a shock to me. (Laughter)

UniverCity: I miss some of the old faces, like Brian Unger, Beth Littleford and Vance DeGeneres. Where do old correspondents go when they’re put out to pasture?

They go to Move-Onville. Have you ever been there? You take a bus there: It’s right next to Get Over It Town. Don’t you have a VCR? Look at your old tapes! What am I supposed to do? Show a picture?!

UniverCity: You guys call the show “the most important television news program... ever!” Have any of the 60 Minutes guys ever threatened to kick your ass over that?

Uh, I believe Morley Safer did. I think he could take me. Safer’s bigger than he looks!

UniverCity: You were on Comedy Central way back in 1989, hosting Short Attention Span Theater. What’s the biggest difference now that the network is swimming in South Park dough?

I think now we’re on-- whaddayacallit?-- uh, television. Before, it was like in eight people’s houses, and you’d have to actually go there to perform it for them personally.

UniverCity: The Daily Show’s theme song is catchy and all, but couldn’t they afford to give you guys a live house band? Or are they spending all their money on Battlebots?

Lemme put it to you this way: They don’t have to spend any money on Battlebots. And I’ll tell ya why: Robots truly do hate each other, and they would fight whether the TV cameras were rolling or not. You have no idea! Even the appliances in my apartment are always staring at each other and talking shit. The other day I came in and caught the toaster oven givin’ the coffee maker a little bit of the business, ya know what I mean. A little of the ol’, “Hey, what’s up, drippy? Why don’t you bring that shit over here?! I’ll filter your shit! Come on, bitch!”

UniverCity: (Laughing hysterically) You were on MTV back in 1993, when they actually showed music videos. Do you ever mourn the Real World/TRL hell that shows like yours have wrought?

Uh... no. I can honestly say I feel no guilt. Here’s what I believe: I believe that people who worry about that stuff need to relax. In the pantheon of things to get upset about in the world, the amount of videos MTV plays is somewhat low on the list. It’s just below, “I wonder what Mr. T is doing these days?”

UniverCity: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Don’t mock on Mr. T! He’s got the 1-800-COLLECT commercials and he is a fine thespian. I will NOT have you disparaging his name! And Mr. T had cancer, man! (Mock crying) Aren’t you worried about his cancer?!

I really feel like you should get a hobby... A non-TV-related hobby... (Uproarious laughter)

UniverCity: You did The Faculty with director Robert Rodriguez, which was one of the first films in the new wave of teen horror flicks. What sort of deal did the devil give you for unleashing such evil on the world?

Wait a minute, that’s my fault, too?! I’m still recovering from ruining the world of music videos... Sorry, so what’d I get? Part of the back-end. A T-shirt. There was a wrap party, and I got some tacos at the party. I wore pants in the movie, and I got to keep the pants when it was done, too. So I guess I did receive a bit of a prize package for bringing that evil into the world...

UniverCity: The Faculty was okay, but his latest film, Spy Kids, kicks ass. How would the film have been different if you’d played the Spy Dad instead of Antonio Banderas?

That’s an excellent question, and part of it that is... I don’t know, because I haven’t seen it. But the only thing I can guess is that my accent would’ve been thicker.

UniverCity: In your recent films, you’ve gotten to co-star with Famke Janssen, Salma Hayek, Gillian Anderson and Shannon Elizabeth. Don’t you think my “deal with the devil” theory is starting to gain some credence?

Not particularly. Gillian was the only one I actually worked with. I don’t think I ever even met the other ones.

UniverCity: You’re kidding me! Dude, who is your agent?! You gotta get that stuff written into your contract!

Wait! Clearly, according to your theory, The Devil is my agent...

UniverCity: And you also hosted the Grammys! Have you NO fear of eternal damnation?

Wait, what’s wrong with the Grammys?!

UniverCity:Um... They suck, maybe?

Do you like anything?!

UniverCity: I like The Daily Show. But have you seen who they’re giving Grammys to these days? Milli Vanilli won a Grammy!

Oh, I see. So the Grammys don’t have “street cred.”
But why should that bother you? What does that take away from your life? Everybody gets an award. But see, here’s the thing: If everything had street cred, you’d be sad, because then you couldn’t stand in the back and go, “This is bullshit, man!” (Laughs)

UniverCity: I’m not upset... I just think they suck.

(Laughs) No, I understand: I’m angry about it, too! What was that other thing you said? Horror movies with teenagers! I’m with you, man! I have seen the light! Wait, what else am I mad about?

UniverCity: (Laughing hysterically) MTV!

MTV! They better show some videos or someone’s gonna get a talkin’ to, and it ain’t gonna be! I LIKE this new thing that we’re doin’! What else are we mad about? I’m excited! Hey, what about Frasier?

UniverCity: Yeah, Must See TV is a great thing to rage against! So we were talking about eternal damnation. What’s your vision of hell? Besides this interview...

I’m not so sure I buy the whole hell thing. Should I just make something up? How about a salad bar with no sneeze-guard at the DMV... while they’re playing no videos on MTV.

UniverCity: And you’re listening to Grammy Award winners! Comedy Central’s got some hot young talent on the rise, like... um... Well, I can’t think of any right now. But how do you continue to stay so sharp in the face of younger, hungrier competition?

This isn’t like a fast food restaurant where we’re bringing up assistant managers to challenge us. The people you’re talking about are on other shows. You don’t work on Battlebots for a couple of years, working your way up to The Daily Show...

Busting a gut with laughter is surprisingly enough a LOT more painful than it sounds. Jon Stewart is funnier than you, and he can be seen on The Daily Show ... uh, daily.


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