"Jon Stewart, Newsman"
New York Newsday
April 16, 2001
by Liz Smith


"Daily Show" host is hot ticket now

"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 Steve Kroft of "60 Minutes" 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 Peabody Award?

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 about you?

Jon: No, in fact, he actually left a message at my house saying he will never write about me.

Liz: I have to confess I've never seen your show.

Jon: You know the network, Liz. The show right after ours has robots fighting. You'd really enjoy it.

Liz: Tell me, what could network news do to redeem itself in your eyes?

Jon: Why would I tell them and put myself out of work?

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 ruined it.


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