"How I became a man"
January, 1999
by Rob Tannenbaum


This month, we play kvetch-up with Jon Stewart

Details: What did your father teach you?
Jon: If you don't get it right with your first family, you can always do it again with another. He's a very scientific man, and we were the control group.

Details: And what did your mother teach you?
Jon: The value of holding a grudge. And to always refer to my father sarcastically as Mr. Wonderful.

Details: What were your first words?
Jon: "I think I'm coming down with something."

Details: Who was your most memorable teacher?
Jon: I remember having a grade-school teacher I thought was a hard-ass. When you're that age, you think the guy is Himmler. Then you visit him eight years later and he's wearing polyester pants, he's four foot eight, you think he's gay, and you're like, "Are you the guy I was afraid of?"

Details: Who starred in your first wet dream?
This is gonna sound pathetic, but I think it was Dinah Shore. MTV wasn't on the air. All we had was Dinah Shore.

Details: Which of your parents' traits skipped a generation?
Jon: Body hair. You know when you're swimming as a kid and you want to crawl on your dad? None of us went anywhere near him. "My god, a beaver! Everyone out of the pool!"

Details: Were you a hit with the ladies?
Jon: The first time I got to second base, I was driving and my friend was in the backseat getting tit. I considered that scoring -- the rearview mirror was just a technicality. I didn't have sex until college -- and even then, it's not like the floodgates opened. When I finally had a girlfriend, she ended up scoring with the goalie of the lacrosse team, so that didn't work out.

Details: When was your last fight?
Jon: In 1982 I was playing soccer at William and Mary, and a kid from Randolph-Macon called me a kike. I ran after him. "I'm not a ... well, yes I am."

Details: What is your porno mag of choice?
Not Playboy. I don't need stereo advice. Hard to say. I mean, Beaver Shot is so similar to Anal Monkey. I guess it's Penthouse. Because I'm a man of letters.

Details: What have you done that you'll never do again?
Jon: High school. (laughs) You know, people say, "I'll never do so-and-so again" -- then they do it. So what? Sometimes somebody has crack, and you're looking to stay awake.

Details: Recall your worst hangover.
Jon: The night I turned twenty-two, I drank a shot for every year. I was so drunk, I'd just walk up to people in the bar and hit them in the balls. My friends drove me home and left me propped up on the couch holding a bucket. I woke up with vomit all over me. The bucket was clean as a whistle.

Details: What's the hardest thing about being a man?
Jon: Douching. There doesn't seem to be a place for it. Are you sure that product is for us? That, and trying to explain yourself when someone catches you peeing sitting down. "Look, I was tired! My legs gave out!"

Details: When did you lose your innocence?
Jon: I used to bartend at a rock club in Trenton, New Jersey, at the height of the new-wave scene. One night, Martha Quinn came to watch Stiv Bators and the Lords of the New Church. He vomited onstage, and later I saw them making out in a dressing room. I just thought, "Martha Quinn, MTV pixie, girl of my dreams, is eating vomit out of the mouth of Stiv Bators." This, my friend, is disillusionment.

Details: Why haven't you married yet?
Jon: See my answer to Question 1.


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