"5 minutes with Jon Stewart"
Chicago Sun-Times
May 2, 1999
by Cindy Pearlman

 

Comedy is central for Jon Stewart, who recently took over The Daily Show on Comedy Central. He won't forget his day job when he stars in movies such as the upcoming Adam Sandler romp Big Daddy.

Q. How did it come to pass that you took over The Daily Show?

A. It happened because my old producer from my talk show produces The Daily Show. After Craig decided to leave the show, I had lunch with her. We were just talking about it and they made a very compelling case about how much fun it would be.

Q. After your hunk turn in Playing by Heart, does this mean you're putting your film career on hold?

A. (Pretending to weep) Yes, my filmography will suffer. I think I will adopt the pace of one film every 35 years. Or maybe I will do films in bulk. It's sort of like shopping at those stores where you get 800 pounds of grain in bulk. I'll do 800 films and then walk away for a little while. Honestly, the nice thing is I've got flexibility on The Daily Show, so I can do some movies.

Q. Is there a type of movie or TV role that you won't do?

A. I think 90210 is out for me. Of course, I could be that guy with gray hair who is still in the 11th grade.

Q. Do you have a problem with 90210?

A. Well, I think it's weird when those kids on 90210 have hysterectomies before they go to college because they're getting so old. But maybe it's just me.

Q. Where did you grow up?

A. I grew up in New Jersey in a town called Lawrence. I go back. I still have a bar tab I have to pay - just kidding. Anyway, I went away to college and then I came back and lived with a bunch of my friends in Trenton, N.J. I worked as a bartender before breaking into comedy.

Q. Can you go home again?

A. I still go back there and play New Year's Eve. It's a good way to go home, see your family, but still get to stay in a hotel so you're not home that much.

Q. What kind of kid were you?

A. I was very pleasant. Smallish. I don't think I was a troublemaker. Nah, I had a lot of pretty good friends. I played a lot of sports. This was back in the days that kids played outdoors and used their arms and legs to run. We didn't have Nintendo. In seventh grade, someone had Kong, this video game. You played it for a couple of minutes and then said, "OK, that's stupid. Let's go outside." I had a very nice childhood.

Q. When did you know you were funny?

A. Dec. 11, 1964. No, just kidding. I was always a wise guy. Early on it got me in some trouble. I was voted "Best Sense of Humor" in high school. That was about the only accreditation I have as far as being funny. Otherwise you have to take my word for it.

Q. And because it is the season, we must ask: When did you see Star Wars for the first time?

A. I was older. It didn't hit me the same way it hit all the kids I knew. I mean, I never played with the Lando doll. I was 15 and I was the one standing there going, "Yesssss. Princess Leia." I [couldn't] have cared less about stupid R2-D2. I wanted to date the princess. I wanted to say to her, "Let your braids down, baby."

 

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