Jon Stewart goes nightly on Comedy
Central January 11
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart will
be seen Sundays through Thursdays at 11 p.m. on cable's Comedy
Central beginning January 11. This time Jon Stewart is taking
We know you've heard the 36-year-old comedian
and talk-show host's name mentioned in the past in connection
with other shows. Rumors that didn't turn out to be true.
But this job is a lock.
Stewart joins Comedy Central on January
11 at 11 p.m. as host of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
He'll step in for the departing Craig Kilborn, who, after
2 1/2 years, is going to CBS to take over The Late Late
Show beginning this spring, replacing Tom Snyder.
So how did it all come to pass? "It
was the sorties that I flew over Comedy Central," says
Stewart, calling from New York the morning after the United
States had bombed Iraq. Then, playing to his interviewer based
in Hartford, he adds, "Hey it's not like getting the
Patriots, but it's still a nice gig."
That's what Stewart will do on The Daily
Show with Jon Stewart -- keep the humor targeted and topical.
("Same World. Different Take," says Comedy Central)
Expect The Daily Show to remain true to its roots,
says Stewart, with comically twisted news of the world, pop
culture, sports, entertainment, etc.
"The whole thing for me is just trying
to fit into the groove," he says. "I mean they've
had a good thing going for a couple of years and they really
know how to run it. So I'm trying not to be the fly in the
ointment. It's going to take me a while to adjust to them
and of course for them to adjust to me." Some changes
are inevitable, but clearly the philosophy is "If it
ain't broke, don't fix it."
Of course, a lot of industry-watchers thought
Stewart would be working for HBO right now. Wasn't he supposed
to take over for Garry Shandling as host of HBO's The Larry
Sanders Show? It certainly looked that way. Both on and
off the air. "It was really a story line in the show
more than anything else," says Stewart. Fans will recall
Shandling's perpetually threatened Sanders spent a lot of
time worrying about Stewart, who played himself, in the critically
acclaimed series within a series. Further fueling speculation
was the fact that behind the scenes, Stewart was working as
a creative consultant. But Stewart downplays it now. "It
meant, basically, I would sit there and go `Gary, you're a
winner, wear the blue sweater.' "
Sure, there was some talk, he says, "But
luckily, unlike the people who created After MASH,
we had the sense to go, `You know, maybe they wouldn't be
that interested in what happened to Klinger and Radar when
they got to Iowa."
Still, when late-night slots have opened
in the past, Stewart's name has frequently come up. But unless
those discussions, says Stewart, are going on in your living
room, "you don't really hear it."
Stewart, who came fast and furiously out
of MTV a few years ago, hosted his own talk show, The Jon
Stewart Show, on the channel before it was snapped up
by Paramount for national syndication. The show, alas, lasted
only 10 months after it began in September 1994. "Although,"
he says, laughing, "it remains the longest-running, late-night
nightly syndicated talk show hosted by a white man. And I
cling to that distinction, my friend!"
He's been busy in the interim, though. This
fall, his first book, Naked Pictures of Famous People,
a collection of comic essays, was published. "It takes
about 20 trips to the bathroom to polish the whole thing off,"
he says by way of review.
And you can see Stewart in two feature films
-- the upcoming Playing By Heart, in which he co-stars
as romantic interest to Gillian Anderson -- and in The
Faculty, which he describes as "Sci-fi with hip lingo.
Dawson's Creek gone mad!" Of his own Faculty
role, Stewart quips, "I play the guy who gives the scientific
explanation in every sci-fi movie [so] you know pretty much
I'll get killed almost immediately. It's like being a black
guy in an outer-space movie." Stewart also has just completed
work on Big Daddy, which stars Adam Sandler.
The Comedy Central proposal came last summer.
Stewart says it quickly came together, in part, because "I
knew them cats. We'd all worked together before at MTV on
the old talk show." Eileen Katz, former executive producer
of The Jon Stewart Show, is now executive vice president
of programming at Comedy Central.
Stewart likes the way the transition has
worked out. He was a guest on Kilborn's penultimate show,
December 16. "One of the nice things for me on this,"
says Stewart, speaking of his predecessor, "is here's
a guy who did a great job and got a great opportunity and
moved on. So I don't have that creepy feeling of being sort
of named as Johnny Deathwatch standing in the wings waiting
for a guy to get tuberculosis."