worker takes on the big time with Big Daddy
-- Growing up in New Jersey, Jon Stewart needed a sense of humour.
So did his friends, family and employers. "When I was 14, I started
working at a mall in New Jersey. I got fired from six different
stores," recalls the comedian, who had a recurring role on HBO's
The Larry Sanders Show. He is currently starring as the
host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
"My first job fiasco was at the mall's bakery." he says. "It was
my responsibility to clean all the machinery. "I lined the dough
mixer with soap and then forgot to actually wash it. The bakers
came in the next morning, thought the soap was flour and made
a batch of bread."
was as traumatic as when Stewart's own brother had to fire him
from his position as stock boy at Woolworths. "There were all
these bean bags in the storage room. I was leaping into them and
sliding across the room when I barrelled into the aquarium tanks.
"I smashed thousands of dollars worth of aquariums. My brother
was an assistant manager. He caught me throwing the aquariums
away so he had no choice but to fire me."
the summer comedy Big Daddy, opening tomorrow in Calgary,
Stewart plays Adam Sandler's roommate. The two comics have known
each other for more than a decade. "We met doing standup. We usually
performed at the same clubs," says Stewart. "There was a whole
group of us including Chris Rock who'd shoot hoops during the
afternoon and then go out for a late dinner after our shows. "I
used to try to borrow money from Adam when he was making $15 a
night. I had more luck hitting him up then than I do now that
he's making $20 million a picture."
says he and Sandler had difficult apprenticeships as comics. "We
were filling the gap left by people like Eddie Murphy, Paul Reiser
and Richard Lewis. "They were such legends we really had to work
for any laughs we got."
is only one of Sandler's old buddies who appears in Big Daddy.
There's also Rob Schneider, Allen Covert, Josh Mostel and Steve
Buscemi." Adam encourages everyone to improvise on the set. "He
loves people to bring ideas every day, but it's not anarchy. There's
a script that has to be followed. It's just that Adam wants it
to be embellished.
gets really nuts in Adam's trailer when we're playing poker. Adam
is a fun guy, but once he's on set as the star, producer or co-writer
of his movies, it's serious business."
admits it's difficult for a comedian to try to make another writer's
material work. "You feel more comfortable with stuff you've written,
but you try to be as funny as you can for those cameras and then
go home and write your own stuff for another day somewhere down
The Larry Sander's Show was cancelled, Stewart was eager to
work in films. He made Playing by Heart, The Faculty and
Big Daddy in quick succession and had a string of auditions
for other projects. "I still want a movie career, but I'm going
to have to put that on hold until I've finished my stint with
Comedy Central. Doing The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is
creatively and physically exhausting."