"He's Talked the Talk, but Jon Stewart's Still a Stand-up Kind of Guy"
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
November 16, 1995
by Diane Toroian 


Arsenio, Dennis, Joan and Chevy all watched helplessly as television bigwigs unceremoniously axed their late night talk shows. Stephanie and Lauren surely will join the list soon, and Conan had better watch his step.

Jon Stewart feels their grief, knows their pain. Alas, he too was the victim of miserable ratings and so-so reviews. But he's not bitter. The way Stewart sees it, you get over it and then you get back.

"I miss the TV show, but I don't compare everything I do now to the show. It's not like I eat a cheeseburger and say, `Hey this cheeseburger is good but not as good as my talk show,'" Stewart says.

Stewart will be in St. Louis to close his short comedy tour with five shows Thursday through Saturday at Laugh Tracks in Union Station. He can be as acerbic as Denis Leary and as asinine as Adam Sandler, often leaping from biting political commentary to cheap scatological jokes within seconds.

He will soon be sharing the silver screen with Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Beals in Wishful Thinking, a romantic comedy scheduled to open this spring. "[In the movie] I basically want to date Jennifer Beals and Drew Barrymore, which, of course, is a huge stretch. While we were shooting I had to keep stopping to ask, `OK, now what's my motivation?'" Stewart says.

Stewart will start shooting another movie with Bette Midler in January and has a contract to write and star in other films. Stewart plays down his new leading man status, commenting that adoring fans shouldn't hold their breath waiting for People to declare him "Sexiest Man Alive!" in big, bold letters. "I'm not playing Joey Lawrence. I have more in common with Woody Allen, sort of nebbish, like a putz," Stewart says.

Jon Stewart a putz? If Stewart weren't cracking jokes for a living he could front the Beastie Boys or model the Gap's new winter line. He's hip, he's now. That's why MTV gave him his own show some three years ago. That's why promoters at Laugh Tracks have crowned him a "hero/spokes-person" for Generation X'ers, a tag to which Stewart lets out a big "Yuk!" "I turn 33 next month. I didn't grow up in the '90s. Hero! Spokesman! I can barely speak for my family."

A huge music fan, Stewart met some of his own heroes last Labor Day weekend, including St. Louisan Chuck Berry when he hosted HBO's coverage of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame induction concert. "Chuck Berry looks at me and says, `keep rockin' man.' I'm like `Thank you, Chuck. I did not know that I rocked,'" says Stewart in his best WASPish voice. "It was amazing, but it was weird to see these guys age. It's like Jerry Lee Lewis was sucking down applesauce before performing `Great Balls of Fire.'"

Stewart has a hard time envisioning thousands packing into some stadium to honor the accomplishments of comedians. He's happy if he can fill a club and nobody tries to beat him up. "Comedy is one step above stripping. No it's not even that. We're basically funny strippers," says Stewart.


Jon Stewart
Where: Laugh Tracks
When: Tonight-Saturday
How Much: $12-$15
More Info: 241-3435


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