"Jon Stewart makes light of daily grind"
The Daily Northwestern
February 19, 2001
by Daniel Schack


The United States bombed Iraq on Friday, and by Saturday, Jon Stewart was armed with jokes for an audience of about 650, mostly students, packed into Coon Forum.

"Didn't take G.W. long to figure out where they kept the weapons," Stewart said at the event, sponsored by Hillel Cultural Life. "How many times do we have to kick Saddam's ass for him to know that we won't stop?"

Stewart touched on a wide range of topics — including his first visit to Northwestern — during more than an hour of of stand-up comedy and a question-and-answer session.

"I've never played a college named after a direction before," he said, adding that his next stop would be "Up-the-road-a-piece University."

When asked how he liked NU, Stewart told The Daily in an interview afterwards that it was "excellent," but added, "it could use a sun lamp."

Students began lining up at 7 a.m. Monday to secure free tickets, which became available at 10:30 a.m. A CBS crew filmed Stewart's performance for a "60 Minutes" profile that will air in April.

Stewart warmed up with stock comedy material about the November election.

"Haiti had a better election than we did," he said. "Don't we control their government?"

He then added that we had "a cardboard cut-out of Lee Majors" running their country for a couple of years.

Stewart joked several times about the Grammy Awards, which he will host Wednesday night on CBS.

When a student asked if he and his friends could accompany Stewart, he said: "You've never been to the Grammys? They're lame. ... And this year they're gonna be lamer. I'm no Rosie (O'Donnell, last year's host). If I were Rosie, you'd have gifts under your chairs."

Regarding whom this year's winners will be, Stewart joked, "I got a lot of bets there." Then he took it back. "I don't even know who's nominated, sir," he said.

On the controversial Elton John and Eminem duet: "It's like you've never seen a white rapper and a gay rocker before. I had them playing at my Bar Mitzvah."

Religion was a hot topic during his routine. Stewart's oft-used Jewish humor crept into the performance, for example, when he acknowledged that he does not wear "protective Jewish head gear."

Stewart also chimed in on why the Middle East conflict won't be resolved: "Jesus, Muhammad and Moses all went to the same high school."

Stewart went on to say why he thinks Jews and blacks often do not get along: "Jews and blacks, we're fighting for the supremacy of — who has more people in show business?"

On the Pope: "Purely from a hat choice, the guy's a step away from being the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan."

On minorities: "We're always going to be minorities. That's why there are more of us in show business."

Stewart made light of people's fears of the "gay agenda," which he listed as having the opportunities to get married, enlist in the army, march in a St. Patrick's Day parade and join the Boy Scouts of America.

"As far as I can tell, the Boy Scouts are the gayest organization in the world," he said, adding that the word "gay" is not defined as liking homosexual intercourse but as thousands of little boys wearing neckerchieves and getting excited about the next Jamboree.

He also made fun of the campaign against violence on television.

"You can run 'Mary Poppins' 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he said. "Somewhere in America, someone sitting at home is going to think, 'Must kill flying nanny.'"

Posting the Ten Commandments in schools to instill morals in children is like thinking the "Employees must wash hands" sign keeps urine out of Happy Meals, he said.

Aside from these non-conservative musings, Stewart said he didn't believe in state-funded art.

"I'd much rather they fund hungry people than people who piss in a jar," he said.

When asked about his political affiliation, Stewart called himself "socially left leaning" but denied a party affiliation, saying partisanship is an inside-the-Beltway phenomenon.

"We're not partisan," he said. "We have jobs and things. If you want to end partisanship, do. We have gutters to clean."

Stewart also decried modern technology.

On cloning: "Why is someone sitting in a science office and saying, "You know what we need more of? People. ... There are six billion people. It looks like fucking is getting the job done."

Later he said, "We spend billions of dollars to make sheep that look alike. Sheep already look alike. That's the whole point of sheep. It's why we count them when we go to sleep. If they didn't look alike, that wouldn't work."

The Y2K bug needlessly worried people, he said: "We're all going to have to live like we did in 1980."

In the voice of a frightened child, he said: "My God, how will we make butter? I have buddies who are (instant) message-less."

He also complained about the new computer he bought a year ago. After a problem arose, and he took it to get fixed, the service technician looked at him like he was holding a musket.

"You're telling me computers should go obsolete every two months?" Stewart yelled. "That's a normal business procedure?"

Stewart made several comments about "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central, which he hosts.

"There's just a lot of days we walk off that show and go, 'Ewww, we were putrid,'" he said. "I feel like when you watch that show, it shouldn't look like we're working hard on it, but we are."

Stewart would not choose a favorite correspondent, but said frenzied commentator Lewis Black is actually toning it down on the show.

"There's a vein in his head that I used to think was an eyebrow," he said.

Stewart said his wife watches the show, but he rarely does.

"I don't particularly care for it," he said. "I just don't think that guy's funny."


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