Jon Stewart, new host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show,
on attending college in Virginia:
and Mary, I earned a degree in making bricks out of straw and
water in Colonial Williamsburg. Not many people know it, but cheap
student labor was used in the Williamsburg restoration."
The man who
succeeds Craig Kilborn as host of The Daily Show, tonight
at 11, has reduced four years at W&M to one-liners.
shows he graduated in 1984 with a degree in psychology. "And
immediately proved how unemployable a person can be who comes
out of William and Mary with a degree in psychology," said
Stewart, as he prepared to replace Kilborn, who will soon follow
Tom Snyder on CBS' The Late Late Show.
W&M, he didn't develop into Jon Stewart, clinical psychologist.
He became Jon Stewart, standup comic. Was his time at W&M
a total waste?
completely. I drank beer, met some nice people, made some good
friends, stared at the desk where James Madison once sat, played
soccer. If I had known myself better at that age, I could have
saved time and tuition money. After college, I knew there was
no way I would be doing anything in the field of psychology."
his career has been standup comic, actor, author, host of a talk
show on MTV and in syndication, and now the gig on Comedy Central.
Early in 1998,
there was talk of Stewart continuing on HBO, where he was the
guest host on a TV show within a TV show - The Larry Sanders
Show. It was just that - talk.
an early-morning giggle session where we sat around and said,
`What if we keep this Larry Sanders thing going?' But the show's
creators had the wisdom to not do an AfterMASH kind of
a show. We decided you couldn't top the gold standard of Larry
who substituted for both Garry Shandling on Sanders and
Snyder on CBS, considered to host The Late Late Show? Not
was some talk about me doing a show at 1:30 after Tom signed off,
but I decided I wanted to do other things such as write a book.
I had a late-night talk show and saw it canceled. I'm on that
list of late night losers with Pat Sajak."
Central, he inherits a show that is truly twisted. The Daily
Show is 30 minutes of political satire, parodies and laughs
that spring from the headlines. Hello, Jesse Ventura, hello Viagra.
celebrity interviews, pictures of the week, moments of Zen, features
such as "Same World, Different Take" and offbeat reporting
by Beth Littleford and Stephen Colbert.
continue with the show's most popular feature, "Five questions?"
"Name three things that Californians put on pizza which doesn't
Questions" is likely to depart with Kilborn. Look for Stewart
to bring on his own signature piece.
well. I went to TV talk-show camp with Dick Cavett in upstate
New York." He's already been seen and heard on Comedy Central
as a patient on Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist.
In his new
job, Stewart hopes for a world in chaos. "I'm cheering for
chaos - something like O.J. Simpson presiding over the disillusionment
of the world as we know it. I could make something of that. When
Monica decides to get that dress laundered, I'd like to bring
on her dry cleaner. I could do something with that, too."
he's been approached about starring in a sitcom. But passed. Stewart's
made movies, including The Faculty; Playing by Heart,
with Sean Connery; and Big Daddy, starring Adam Sandler.
But he sees no big future for himself in Hollywood. "I can
be in 20 movies. But I'll never be an actor."
he wrote Naked Pictures of Famous People, but it's unlikely
there'll be another book. "Do you know what writing a book
is? It's sitting alone in a room for weeks without making contact
with another human. I felt like Howard Hughes."
36, likes to do best is what Comedy Central will pay him more
than $1 million a year to do. And that is? "Sitting around
with funny people, banging out jokes and creating a television
show. I have no hobbies, no outside interests. I'm fine with spending
14 hours a day putting a show together with tape and string."
If all else
fails, he has that degree in psychology to fall back on. Why did
Stewart choose W&M?
I decided to leave New Jersey to go to school in Virginia, I tried
the University of Virginia first, but got lost on campus. Then
I visited William and Mary, where I found brick walls that I liked.
I stayed four years but never learned anything I would use later
see that quote in the W&M alumni newsletter.