Jon Stewart's refrain
could well be, "I'm not a news anchorman, but I play one
made his debut Monday night as anchor host of Comedy Central's
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, which calls itself
the "most important television program -- ever."
the nightly news parody is the funniest. Maybe not funniest
"ever," but "currently" certainly works.
want consistent late-night laughs and figure I can miss the
nightly diet of crime on the 11 p.m. news, "The Daily
Show" has been my nonreality check for the past couple
should do just fine and dandy, taking over for the recently
departed Craig Kilborn, who will step into Tom Snyder's chair
on CBS' Late Late Show.
night's cutting-edge humor (translation: jokes on a cable
channel that would never be allowed to get by network censors
or even make it into a family column such as this one) didn't
miss a beat from the Kilborn era. There were massive doses
of impeachment material and a guest appearance from Michael
J. Fox ("I've been on the Daily Show more than
you have," he told an understandably nervous Stewart).
Kilborn is on assignment in Kuala Lumpur," Stewart announced
as he began his stewardship, sailing through the opening "Headlines"
segment and questioning chief political correspondent Stephen
Colbert about how the impeachment proceedings were attracting
merchandising and sponsorship (impeachment T-shirts, snow
globes and action figures. "The Jesse Helms action figure
comes with a gay action figure for the Helms action figure
to hate" and "El Diablo, the official fajita of
the impeachment process").
Daily Show" will benefit from Stewart's writing talents,
and in front of the camera, he's no slouch, either. His dry,
irreverent and biting demeanor fits comfortably with the dry,
irreverent, and biting Daily Show style.
a 36-year-old New Jersey native, hosted his own late-night
syndicated show for a season (before it was canceled) and
was a recurring guest on The Larry Sanders Show, which
he also wrote for.
is appearing in the film The Faculty and stars in the
soon-to-be-released Playing by Heart.
less diversified Kilborn had a big advantage over Stewart,
in that the former ESPN SportsCenter co-host had plenty
of good old-fashioned anchoring experience under his belt.
He looked at home behind the anchor desk and had the ability
to look comfortable, while still exuding plenty of energy.
trade, it's called relaxed intensity, which sounds ridiculous.
That's because it is. But somehow, it works.
undoubtedly will loosen up in his new role. But in the meantime,
some anchoring advice for my pal Jon:
the body and lose the rigidity. Don't place the hands palms
down on the anchor desk (a sure sign of nervousness since
nobody sits at a desk with his hands palms down unless he's
uptight). Try for more facial expression to get rid of that
despite his dry delivery, used lots of facial expression.
Stewart has a long way to go to make those facial muscles
work overtime. And does all this matter? Probably not, but
I'm rooting for Stewart to shine and for The Daily Show
know change can be painful, [snip]