"Deadpan to die for Jon Stewart is gala host"
The Gazette (Montreal)
July 20, 2001
by Anne Sutherland


A pox on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission pooh-bahs who control what we see on regular cable TV.

May they go straight to hell for depriving most regular folk up here in Canada from access to one of the sharpest wits on the box these days, Comedy Central's talk-show host Jon Stewart.

Unless you have a satellite dish (or digital cable, which carries the show weeknights at 11 on Canada's Comedy Network), you might not have seen Stewart do his shtick, save for his frequent appearances on Larry King Live or his stint as himself on the late, great Larry Sanders Show. The acerbic, sardonic, lightning-fast Stewart (ne Jonathan Stewart Leibowitz) is the host of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, and took a break from his rounds of the Rosie/Regis/Letterman shows last week to talk about his gig as host of the Just for Laughs gala tonight.

On The Daily Show, Stewart pokes fun at the more ridiculous things and people in the news. Can his Montreal audience expect more of the same?

"The show will be much more about pantomime, my first love when I graduated from mime school," he deadpanned. "So the whole show will be just me, running against the wind.

"No, seriously, there will be a ton of nudity, that goes without saying, it will be vulgar and profane and we're really looking forward to having a good time in Montreal."

Stewart is anything but vulgar. His style has been described as "world-weary"; he has a skewed way of looking at the world around us and he made many fans during the never-ending U.S. presidential election, when his wry observations on the ridiculous situation won new recognition.

"You feel a little strange because you're cheering for chaos to a certain extent and that's never a pleasant feeling," he said about the vote.

Born in New York City, raised in New Jersey, and proud to still call New York home, Stewart honed his skills on the stand-up circuit before hitting the big and small screens. He played Gillian Anderson's boyfriend in Playing by Heart and starred in something called Short Attention Span Theatre on Comedy Central, in addition to writing and performing on Larry Sanders.

Three years ago he published a book with the attention-grabbing title Naked Pictures of Famous People, a collection of 19 of his signature essays.

"I can't actually believe you can still buy my book. I think at this point if you buy three dented cans at the supermarket you get a free copy."

Despite a reported annual salary of $1.5 million U.S. for The Daily Show ("That's in lira," he joked), decent-size roles in four feature films and his stint on Larry Sanders, Stewart still considers himself a comic, not an actor.

"I see myself as a stand-up who's lucky enough not to have to grind it out on the road every year, which is what I used to have to do," he said.

He has fond memories of spending New Year's Eve in Montreal from 1991 to 1993 working at Jimbo's Comedyworks on Bishop St. and playing the comedy fest back in the early 1990s. "Canada at that point was still just a territory and I did the show with - who was it - oh yeah, the Iroquois."

- Gala Eight, with host Jon Stewart, tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Theatre St. Denis, 1594 St. Denis St. Call (514) 790-HAHA (4242).

- Anne Sutherland can be reached by E-mail at asutherland@thegazette.southam.ca.


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Copyright © 2001 The Gazette. All rights reserved.
Thanks to Melly for the article.

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