"Comic Stewart Sees Fearful Future"
The (Montreal) Gazette
October 8, 1992
by Bill Brownstein


Jon Stewart doesn't quite know what to make of the current pop-music/geopolitical scene:

"The Stones got back together ... the Who got back together ... Germany got back together." Pause.

"Hey, let's hope they don't go back on tour."

Stewart - who cracks wise Saturday night at the Saidye Bronfman Centre with fellow funny person Wendy Liebman - is a chronic worrier.

As anyone who caught Stewart's act at last summer's Montreal comedy fest will attest, the New York-based comedian fears for the future, particularly in the U.S.

Not surprisingly, he's been obsessed of late with the coming presidential election:

"There are no good choices. We don't really need a voting booth - we need John Wilkes Booth. "Hey, I'm kidding," he adds. "But I think it's pretty depressing that the Republicans are taking a stand that gays shouldn't do combat duty.

"I think what the Republicans - and the army - are worried about is the concept of 1,000 gay guys with M-16s saying: 'Who did you call a faggot?' "

Stewart also reports that New York City is still abuzz following Sinead O'Connor's performance on Saturday Night Live. The rebellious rocker shredded a picture of the Pope while crooning a tune last Saturday.

"Sinead went too far," Stewart says. "I feel Pope John Paul is a great guy. He just has a poor sense of fashion. Basically, he's just a hat-choice away from being the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan."

Stewart, born in New Jersey 29 years ago, hadn't set his sights on a career in comedy. After completing a degree in psychology at William and Mary University in Virginia, he was thinking more Freud than Seinfeld.

"But what happens to all psychology grads? We end up working as busboys in bars and kitchens. I majored in Mexican restaurants."

After being booted out of his last busboy job, Stewart made the move to comedy five years ago. He has since been a regular on the U.S. comedy-club and TV circuit.

"I haven't told my family yet what I actually do. But I'm sure if I did, they'd be delighted to know that I'm not a urologist. Anyway, I have an older brother who works on Wall Street - who will provide for them in their time of need."

Among other gigs, Stewart may have said he served as host of the Short Attention Span Theatre TV show - but I wasn't paying attention. However, the ears did perk up when Stewart said he played and slayed on Late Night With David Letterman recently.

"Letterman was the most generous and giving person I've ever met," Stewart says, tongue firmly in cheek.

"OK, he had just eight words for me: 'Thank you very much. You were very funny.'

No matter, because Stewart must have impressed someone. He's been signed to become host of an MTV comedy series.

"Thanksgiving has come early for me - or roughly the same time it arrives in Canada," says Stewart, grateful for his new TV job.

"Personally, I like to celebrate Thanksgiving in the tradition of the early American settlers. I invite all my neighbors over, have a big feast - then I kill them all and steal their land."

Also at Saidye Bronfman

For her part, Wendy Liebman, fresh from a performance last week on the Tonight Show With Jay Leno, has no plans to throw a Thanksgiving feast while she's in Montreal this weekend with Stewart:

"I think I'm a feminist because I don't know how to cook."

But don't mess with Liebman, a deceptively soft-spoken Wellesley grad. Her license plate reads: PMS - 666.

"Nobody cuts me off," notes Liebman, 31, who left her Boston home last year for greener comedy pastures in L.A.

"Pray for me. I've been speaking to the networks about doing a couple of leads in some sitcoms - like this is ever going to happen," she says. "I think my grandmother is also talking to the same execs for the same jobs."

Did Just for Laughs

Just in case the comedy doesn't pan out, Liebman - who played last summer's Just for Laughs festival - is working at another career as well:

"I'm also a writer. I write checks - fiction, mostly."

Like most comedians, Liebman admits she's a tad insecure:

"My parents stuffed me as a child. I don't think they wanted a daughter, they wanted a pinata - boy, did I hate that stick."

Nor did feelings of inferiority go away as she got older, Liebman claims:

"Why, just the other day, someone yelled, 'Lady Di' in my direction. At first, I was flattered, although I'm not even blonde. Then the guy explained it was just an instruction.

* Wendy Liebman and Jon Stewart perform Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Saidye Bronfman Centre, 5170 Cote Ste. Catherine. Tickets: $ 25. Phone: 739-7944, 790-1245.

GRAPHIC: Jon Stewart performs Saturday at Saidye Bronfman.


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Copyright © 1992 The (Montreal) Gazette. All rights reserved.
Thanks to Melly for the article.

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