has negatively influenced Jon Stewart's career in comedy. "It's
tough for me, because usually I like to write my jokes on my foreskin,"
he says. "Without having that there, it makes it difficult."
Jon Stewart isn't all that bad. On Oct. 11, the actor/comedian
will perform at the Bob Carpenter Center in his first appearance
at the University of Delaware.
Bob Carpenter Center?" he wonders out loud in a phone interview
with The Review. "To honor the great Bob Carpenter? Who's
the Bob Carpenter Center is not only a gymnasium but also a venue
for concerts, Stewart is a bit skeptical. "So it's [going
to be] a 10,000-person arena with 30 kids sitting there with Daily
Show T-shirts on," he says. "I'd like everybody
to spread out. That way we use the whole gymnasium, but only have
two people in each section."
performance at the university might be slightly different from
the stand-up he has done in the past. "It's going to be a
bawdy musical -lots of pantomime," he says.
Stewart speaks about what his act will actually entail. "You're
always working on new things," he says. "You're always
continuing to try and tweak your old things, and putting all that
together and hoping people enjoy themselves."
themselves they are. More than half a million people tune into
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Monday through Thursday
to see news presented with a sarcastic bite.
Craig Kilborn as the host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show,
beginning in January 1999.
But not only
an anchorman for the highly-rated show, he also spends much of
his time writing and producing.
get up around 5 - that's p.m," he says. "And it's usually
a cold blast of water in the face to sleep off last night's drunk.
And then I stumble in and start writing."
to Stewart, the punch lines come so quickly and easily it almost
seems effortless. Eventually, he does get around to answering
in around 10:30, leave at 8:30," he says.
So what does
a man who earns $1.5 million a year do with his spare time?
majority of my life is spent either here [at The Daily Show],"
he says, "or trying to figure out when the dog has to take
a crap, doing crossword puzzles, watching SportsCenter
- that sort of thing."
Not exactly the vida loca of a movie and TV star.
"Oh, the fantasy is there, isn't it?" he says. "Can't
you taste it? The good life."
Hardly an overnight success in show business, Stewart had to
work quite a few jobs before landing the plum role of hosting
the twisted news show.
"I got out of school and floated around a bit," he
says. "Did a bunch of crappy jobs, and thought, 'Wow, I suck
at everything!' "
After graduating from the College of William and Mary with a
psychology degree, Stewart didn't catapult directly into the spotlight.
"I'd always had a hankering to write and just decided one
day, "Why don't I just sell my car and go to New York?' "
he says. "And that's what I did. I was in the city for a
good nine months to a year before I had the balls to go up on
After appearing on HBO's Young Comedians Special and
Late Show with David Letterman, he was given his own late
night talk show. MTV's The Jon Stewart Show was born.
As for whether or not it was an entertaining show, Stewart has
"It wasn't particularly funny - not according to the Nielsens,"
he says. "There were days when I thought we were doing really
interesting, funny stuff, and there were other days when I thought
we just took an hour of people's time."
And less than a year after the show was born, it died.
Stewart didn't just sit there, however. He signed a development
deal with David Letterman's Worldwide Pants, the production company
that produces Late Show and The Late Late Show,
both for CBS.
Although nothing substantial came of the deal, Stewart did some
guest-hosting duties for The Late Late Show in 1998. But
other than that, he wasn't utilized.
Luckily, a deal with Miramax gave his career a boost.
Stewart signed on to appear in two films a year for Miramax,
most recently the films The Faculty and Playing By Heart.
As an actor and a comedian, Stewart doesn't seem to prefer acting
to comedy, or vice versa.
"I sort of get the sense that it's all the same thing, just
in different forms," he says, "I don't look at it as
that different. "I guess when you're doing this show or comedy,
there's more of a chance for spontaneity, and I always like that.
"But there's something to be said for spending 14 hours
in a trailer smoking cigarettes and saying the same line over
and over again."
The next movie on tap for Stewart, following his role in this
summer's Big Daddy, is The Adventures of Tom Thumb and
Thumbelina. The Miramax film is a children's musical, starring
the voices of Jennifer Love Hewitt and Elijah Wood. Stewart does
not, however, exercise his musical talent.
"I think it's an animated film," he says. "I'm
one of the moles. I didn't have to sing. I went in one day and
had to bang out a voiceover. I believe I played the skinny mole."
As for his favorite film, it was a tough decision to make.
"Oh, I'm going to have to go with - boy, there are so many
Police Academies, " he says.
and television weren't enough for the New Jersey native, he wrote
a book too.
His book, Naked Pictures of Famous People, is a collection
of humorous essays. He calls it a lousy Without Feathers,
alluding to Woody Allen's best-selling comedy book from the '70s.
"I very much like writing comedy," he says. "When
I wrote the book, I had many an agonizing night squeezing blood
from a stone. "But overall, the idea that I get to do this
for a living is mind-boggling to me."