"I DON'T even know what 'Generation X'
means. Maybe it's because I once worked for MTV. I have no tattoos.
There's nothing pierced on my body. I don't represent them, unless
Gen X looks like a 38-year-old guy with asthma and a little bit
of hair on the back." So spoke Jon Stewart, star of Comedy Central's
"The Daily Show." It sends up serious news broadcasting.
Stewart is hot. His show has won a Peabody Award.
He has a feature story in the current Vanity Fair, and "60 Minutes'"
Steve Kroft has him in the can, immortalized on a coming Sunday
night. You may remember him from HBO's hit "The Larry Sanders
Show." Liz: Do you think of yourself as a commentator, a moralist
or are you an actor?
Jon: I think of myself as one bad performance
away from night-managing a Bennigan's.
Liz: You have a long list of movie credits,
though I've never heard of most of them.
Jon: They're very big in Belgium ...South America,
very popular down there.
Liz: How does it feel to win the prestigious
Jon: Very excited. We also get a free lunch
out of it, and when you're on cable TV that certainly counts.
Liz: Did you like the piece in Vanity Fair by
James Wolcott? He's a very smart man.
Jon: Very much. I didn't understand a lot of
it. I had no idea we were that good.
Liz: Has the TV critic John Leonard ever written
Jon: No, in fact, he actually left a message
at my house saying he will never write about me.
Liz: He and Wolcott are intellectuals, covering
TV. Imagine that!
Jon: Well, we only allow one great man to write
about "The Daily Show," and Wolcott jumped it.
Liz: I have to confess I've never seen your
Jon: You know the network, Liz. The show right
after ours has robots fighting. You'd really enjoy it.
Liz: Was it exciting spending 60 hours with
Jon: Well, when Steve Kroft shows up, you ask
yourself, "My God, what have I done? Do they know I have rolled
back the odometer on my car?"
Liz: You live in New York. Are you married and
do you have kids?
Jon: I am married, but I had to look to see
if I have kids. No, a dog and a cat.
Liz: Tell me, what could network news do to
redeem itself in your eyes? So it would not be something you could
make fun of?
Jon: Why would I tell them and put myself out
Liz: Seriously...you are always criticizing
news in a not-so-subtle manner, and there must be a way the networks
could fix the news.
Jon: Seriously? I think the majority of networks
should not let news coverage and presentation follow the same
guidelines as the entertainment shows. News should not be ratings
driven. It was when they started making money from news that they
MY NEW crush is Gary Sinise. (Actually, I've
been smitten ever since he was so great in "Forrest Gump.") This
co-founder of the Steppenwolf Theatre Co. really comes into his
own in Broadway's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." It is no
small thing to make a mark in a role already done to perfection
by Jack Nicholson. But Sinise is powerful.
The drama is awash in misogyny and dated Freudian
syntax, but remains gripping and is often funny. It was great
to meet the 7-foot-tall Tim Sampson, who plays Chief Bromden.
He is following in the footsteps of his dad, Will, who had the
same role in the movie.
At the smashing Tavern on the Green party, Tim,
a Creek Indian, said, "I've been playing this part all my life.
We both had big fathers; the government trampled on our culture,
and we survived alcohol and life on the reservation. This is better
than when I did stunts. Then, I'd be happy to have one line in
a movie before they threw me out the window."
OUTBREAK OF AUSSIES: We have Hugh Jackman, Heath
Ledger and Russell Crowe. And here comes their top comic, Eric
Bana, in the shocking new movie "Chopper," based on the true life
of a notorious serial killer.
There has been a tidal wave of complaints about
this film, which glorifies the grisly exploits of Mark Read, who
told his own story in "From the Inside." He became a counter-culture
hero and catnip to demented women. Bana was handpicked by the
jailed killer, and went on to win the Australian "Oscar" for his
acting. "Chopper" is a marvelous film about a horrible person
and his embrace by the sickos in our midst. Is it immoral to admire
the movie? I haven't figured that out yet.