Comedian Lizz Winstead is bummed, really bummed
about the impending cancellation of The Jon Stewart Show,
for which she has been talent coordinator since February.
For one thing, the Twin Cities native said, Stewart
is a riot to work with. "He's so much fun, and he really cares
about his staff," she said.
For another, she has had to nix an appearance
by the seed-art lady from the Minnesota State Fair: The seed portrait
of Stewart couldn't be completed in time for his final telecast
June 23. But Winstead has been able to give Minnesota more than
its share of exposure on the show, which airs weekdays at 12:30
a.m. on KMSP, Channel 9. Bock Anderson and Craig Olson, the Twin
Cities decorators who are hosts of The Bock and Craig Show
on cable's Home and Garden channel (HGTV), made an appearance. So
did Ruth Adams' polka band, an institution at Nye's Polonaise in
And tonight Stewart will welcome Viva and Jerry
Beck, stars of Viva and Jerry's Country Videos, a Twin Cities
cable-access series devoted to the latest Nashville videos, Jerry's
live renditions of country oldies and Viva's loopy "spoofs"
of home-shopping hucksters.
Winstead said she looked for "eccentric"
performers to fill the show's third guest spot about three times
a week, and cable-access shows were a good source. But she screened
them carefully. Aside from concern that a guest may clam up on national
TV, she said, "Some people are just crazy. You can't have them
on because they're certifiable. There's this woman who thinks she's
She had no qualms about the Becks. "When
you see their [taped] stuff is not scripted, and they're going to
be able to tell stories no matter what, you know it will be a breeze."
She accepted the job offer from Stewart, a longtime
friend and sometime collaborator, because she was sick of doing
standup, and she isn't eager to go back on the club circuit. "The
only comics who are working the road consistently are really blue
and pretty low common denominator," said Winstead, who's known
for socially aware comedy of an unabashedly liberal bent. "Standup
has become a giant nightmare."
With only a week to go with Stewart, Winstead
is wondering where she will be appearing next. She said that she
has had feelers from Late Show with David Letterman, but
that she hears that the working environment is "really, really
Another possibility is Saturday Night Live,
which is undergoing a major overhaul. "I may throw my hat in
the ring there," she said. "On the one hand, it's really
exciting. They're completely cleaning house, bringing in a whole
new staff. If you could revive the show, you could write your own
ticket. But you could just be one more person on a sinking ship.
I don't want to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic."
Most likely, she'll head out to Los Angeles, where
she shares rent on a house with some friends, try to sell a Seinfeld
script she's working on and "see what's cooking out there."
She doesn't want to stay, however. She's a confirmed
New Yorker and hates Los Angeles. "It's like I almost want
to go to L.A. so I can get a project to ensure I never have to go
back there again."
Copyright © 1995 Minnesota
Star-Tribune. All rights reserved.
Note from Manda: Lizz went on to co-create The Daily Show
with Madeline Smithberg.
main - pictures
- transcripts - multimedia
- desktop - links