"Central Comedian "
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
February 27, 1998
by Scott Mervis


"Oh my God, they killed Kenny."

That's the signature line of South Park, the cartoon show that made the covers of both Rolling Stone and Spin this month, but don' t ask folks around here what it means. You see, we have TCI Cable and on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. we don't have the choice of watching South Park because TCI DOESN'T CARRY COMEDY #$@&*# CENTRAL!

OK, let's all just chill. If you are Comedy Centrally deprived, and want to see South Park, you can do it tomorrow night at 8 at the Byham Theater, where they' ll be showing a full episode of the show, plus the controversial short that served as its pilot, "The Spirit of Christmas," in which Santa and Jesus finally duke it out.

For your nine bucks you also get the very funny comedian Jon Stewart, from MTV, HBO, etc., and opening acts Todd Barry and Buzz Nutley. Yesterday, we talked to Stewart from L.A., where he's appearing in and writing for The Larry Sanders Show.

Scott Mervis: So you started out on Comedy Central and not MTV. Is that right?

Jon Stewart: I started out doing a show called Short Attention Span Theater with them. Now, I do a lot of live dates with them. At that point, seven years ago, Comedy Central was in about 21 million homes, so we had like a big fan base in the middle of Montana. After that I went to MTV.

SM: You really kind of dip around into a lot of different things, one night Politically Incorrect, the next night subbing for Tom Snyder?

JS: I try to. I enjoy being good at nothing. Until you're really locked into a gig that's really working, you try to keep as many things going as you can.

SM: How much standup are you doing?

JS: I go out on weekends. I try not to have any personal time whatsoever. I try to make it so I'm never sitting in a hotel room saying (thoughtfully) "Who am I"? I try to constantly stay out on the road, then you never have to face yourself. (scary voice) You hear me? Make this a dark article.

SM: So you have no personal life and no relationships?

JS: No, I actually have a very healthy personal life.

SM: Doing standup you're constantly having to come up with new material, right?

JS: No, it's the same jokes since 1987, I've got a riff on Ronald Reagan you wouldn't believe. . .

SM: Do you still work with MTV or do you they push you off the network there at a certain age?

JS: Yeah, it's like Logan's Run. Once you hit a certain age they send you to Carousel.

SM: Except for Kurt Loder.

JS: No, he's actually 22, he just lives hard... No, he's an expert on rock and a great writer, so they try to offset his looks with people like Tabitha Soren and Serena Altschul.

SM: Do you enjoy Politically Incorrect? It seems you get to play the role of the wisecracker.

JS: Usually, 'cause I have nothing of import to say. Usually when you have no content you just sit there and make jokes. That's my job.

SM: Yeah, play off serious people like G. Gordon Liddy.

JS: They actually have things to say, then I just jump in there with... "and my pants are on fire." Try and ruin the moment.

SM: So, what kind of biblical weather are they having in L.A. right now?

JS: I'm literally standing on a mud slide, completely covered in mud now as we're talking. That's why, I don't mean to rush you, but I do have to towel off.


<< back

Copyright © 1998 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. All rights reserved.

main - pictures - transcripts - multimedia - desktop - links