e.c. gets the last word with the famed funny
With Jon Stewart, it just never stops. Even
the most sincere of questions is going to result in a joke.
Hey Jon, why are you coming to the Kirby?
"Um, it has always been a dream of mine . .
. to play the Kirby. What is the Kirby?"
You know, where you're playing Friday night
. . .
"Oh! Because of the Dolby Surround Sound and
No matter what your sense of humor, you have
to admire that sort of sinister sarcasm and the quickness in the
Stewart, the host of The Daily Show With
Jon Stewart, is known for his sharp, satirical, often self-deprecating
style of comedy that has landed him countless appearances on other
shows and his second consecutive hosting job at the annual Grammy
"Anytime in show business you get asked back
somewhere, you did well. Because there's just way too many times
when they go 'Oh, we don't ... want you here ... anymore,'" he
says in a phone interview moments before taping his show.
Friday night, Northeastern Pa. gets a rare opportunity
to catch Stewart in stand-up form. Like many others, he occasionally
does stand-up gigs to keep his skills sharp and his jokes fresh.
His observations, although hysterical, are also painfully true.
And while he does anchor a "fake news" show every night - poking
fun at anything and everything - his favorite target seems to
be himself. He's quick to ridicule his abundance of body hair
(keep reading) or lack of height (he's 5-7).
The fact that he's funny helps, but much of
the success of The Daily Show can be attributed to Stewart's uncanny
ability to come off on screen as a normal, down-to-earth guy.
Since he took over from Craig Kilborn in 1999, the show's ratings
have increased by 400-percent.
In 2001, The Daily Show received the prestigious
PEABODY Award for excellence, and also received two 2001 Emmy
Award nominations for "Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series"
and for "Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program"
and received the Emmy Award for "Outstanding Writing in a Variety,
Music or Comedy Program."
His book, Naked Pictures of Famous People, was
a critically-acclaimed fixture on the NY Times Best-Seller List,
and he's also starred with Adam Sandler in one of 1999's biggest
movies, Big Daddy. A recent cameo saw him as newscaster Reg Hartner
in this year's Kevin Smith effort Jay & Silent Bob Strike
"I was actually the lead and then they cut all
around me and next thing you know, it's about those two, instead
of the newscaster. It's a whole ... different ... thing," he says.
"And let me tell you something about Jersey, and the filmmaking
community. That's all we got, is Kevin Smith. Oh sure, you'll
say DeVito, but no, Kevin Smith is all we need.
Stewart was named one of People Magazine's "50
Most Beautiful People" in 1999, and until then, had starred as
himself on The Larry Sanders Show, a guest host on The Late, Late
Show with Tom Snyder, and from 1994-95, he hosted the critically-acclaimed
Jon Stewart Show on MTV.
Even though it was arguably one of the funniest
shows on TV, Stewart's show was canned by Paramount, and the last
airing was one to remember, with guest David Letterman.
"Letterman? He's a very talented young man.
I definitely see a future for him," Stewart says.
He says he doesn't miss the talk-show format.
"Not particularly. I like much more focusing
around issue-oriented material," he says.
OK Jon, I'm going to ask you a series of
"Am I being fired?"
No. (It never stops) When was the last time
you had someone tell you that you look taller on TV?
"I guess the wife said that ... last night,
probably. She was just surprised. I thought she was used to it,
but ... "
Had a guest you were really excited about?
"The year was 1995. The guest was David
Letterman. You know, we're doing the show and you're running around
so much, you don't have much time to get excited. We're not the
first stop on the tour so we're just happy someone stops by."
Had a guest you didn't get along with?
"There was a time I had a guy who used
to steal my lunch ... no wait, that's something else. You're only
there for four minutes so it's hard not to get along with someone.
Then, you move on so you might not have gotten along but you really
don't know. And they leave, so they don't say as they're leaving,
'Oh hey by the way, you suck.' "
You offended someone?
"It's hard to know. My guess is last night,
but you never know."
Bought a CD?
"Last weekend. The I am Sam soundtrack.
There are some good songs ... the Across the Universe by Rufus
Wainright ... but it's hard because you really like the songs
but it's not The Beatles ... it's OK."
Went to a movie?
"I went out and saw The Royal Tenenbaums.
I liked it. I enjoy the idea of setting something in New York
but not in New York, sort of this weird nether zone where they
Flew on a plane?
"Oh boy. I don't remember. A long time
Rode the subway?
"Over the weekend."
Had a news story that was a gift from God?
"The pretzel. Probably because you know,
he was OK, plus it wasn't sad so, that was a good one I think
everyone had fun with."
Had a bad hair day?
"Ha ha ha! Every day. It's a little thing
called grease, my brother. If you stay out of the shower long
enough, you'll find out what I'm talking about."
Can you leave us with a Moment of Zen?
"Yup! Thinking about that bad hair day
... also on my back. That's your Moment of Zen my brother."
Ten things you probably didn't know about
- His birth name is Jonathan Stuart Liebowitz.
When 60 Minutes asked him why he dropped Leibowitz, Stewart explained:
"Sounded too Hollywood."
- He's 5-foot-7, and when he replaced the near
7-footer Craig Kilborn on The Daily Show, they brought in a "miniature"
desk for Jon.
- He's left-handed.
- Decided to quit smoking on Dec. 28, 2000,
after being encouraged by the CGL Foundation.
- He gets paid $1.5 million to do a year of
The Daily Show.
- He was born in Trenton, NJ, and worked in
the NJ department of health, working with mosquitoes.
- He has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from
the College of William & Mary, Va.
- He was a professional Tap Dancer at the NJ
Soft Shoe Club.
- Recently completed the Danny De Vito-directed
comedy Death to Smoochy, starring Edward Norton, Robin Williams,
De Vito and Catherine Keener. Stewart plays a ruthless network
executive who fires kidshow host "Rainbow Randoph" (Williams)
and replaces him with a blue rhino (Norton). As a result, Randolph
plots the murder of his rival host. Warner Bros. will release
the film in March.
- Won $250,000 for the Alzheimer's Association
during a celebrity edition of Who Wants to be a Millionare. The
show's female staff members voted Jon the cutest celebrity on
Ten of Jon Stewart's funniest TV moments:
- On Who Wants to be a Millionaire, 2001: Regis:
"The Alzheimer's Association would win a quarter million dollars
if you get this, and if you don't, they're back down to $32,000."
Jon: "Yeah, but they'd forget about it by tomorrow." (The audience
laughs, then boos playfully. Jon explains his grandmother had
died from Alzheimer's)
- From his hosting the 2001 Grammy's: "I don't
know what all the controversy is about, quite frankly. I've met
Eminem, I met him backstage, and he's really gay."
- From 60 Minutes, 2001: "Oh, yeah. We - we
keep our TV probably tuned mostly to CNN. And, you know, if we
want fair reporting, then Fox. You know, they report and we decide.
I don't know if you knew that. We're really good that way."
- On taking over The Daily Show in 1999 (Ultimate
TV): "There's always anxiety when you start a new job . . . you're
the one guy who doesn't know where the ketchup is."
- From Larry King Live, 1998: "Because in conversational
rock, paper, scissors, oral sex beats almost anything. So there's
really - you can go on stage and talk about racism and religion
and things but boy, oral sex. People love to talk about - and
if something - Presidential oral sex, that's just - my god, that's
the Yeti. That's the grand pappy of all things to talk about."
- From Politically Incorrect, 1998: Michael
Bolton: "I'm single. The point is - the point is, do we want our
President waking up to lawyers and depositions about this? Do
we really want that?" Jon: "I don't think that's what he's been
waking up to, to be honest with you."
- From Politically Incorrect, 1998: Alan Keyes:
"And the people who are to blame for that are people who voted
a degraded character into office." Jon: "You worked for Richard
Nixon, the Babe Ruth of Corruption."
- From Politically Incorrect in 1997: "McVeigh's
lawyer got him the death penalty, which, quite frankly, I could
- From Politically Incorrect in 1997: "Here's
the point - you're looking at affirmative action, and you're looking
at marijuana. You legalize marijuana, no need for quotas, because
really, who's gonna wanna work?"
- From the last episode of The Jon Stewart Show,
1995: David Letterman: "Hi, Jon. This is a great place." Jon:
"You can have any of this stuff you want."
* Facts and quotes compiled from imdb.com, the
Jon Stewart Web ring, and Gene Padden's memory.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Jon Stewart WHERE: FM Kirby Center, 71
Public Square, Wilkes-Barre WHEN Friday, Jan 25, 8 p.m. TICKETS:
Available at the Box Office or by calling 570.826.1100.
Guess Who's Coming to the Kirby
The season's roster shines bright
by gene padden
Jon Stewart, Bob Newhart, Anne Murray, Aretha
Franklin, The Moody Blues, The Temptations ... the FM Kirby Center
has a hefty schedule of acts playing this season.
And if you're wondering how the Kirby succeeds
in booking such diverse, eclectic acts season after season, don't
ask executive director Marilyn Santarelli, because her lips are
"Ahahahahahaha," she laughs. "Can you type that
chuckle? All I can say is we work hard and we have a great group
A shining example of that effort is the Center's
landing of Aretha Franklin, who will play the venue on March 28.
It took three years to book Aretha.
"She doesn't fly, and she comes out of Detroit,
and she works when she feels like working," she says. "One time
her agent said she was simply spending time with her grandchildren.
When her schedule finally does permit, lots of people wait in
line to get her and it's on her timetable, so we were really lucky
to get her."
The Kirby has been flooded with calls regarding
the Aretha show. Tickets go on sale to the general public Saturday.
Only single seats remain for The Moody Blues, on April 9, and
seats remain for Anne Murray, Bob Newhart, and Friday's Jon Stewart
These shows come at a time when entertainers
are excited to get on with touring in the wake of the Sept. 11
attacks. Those attacks saw hundreds of performers cancel dates
out of fear of flying and negative ticket sales.
Like countless other venues nationwide, the
Kirby Center suffered a slow fall season.
"We didn't do as well as we had hoped," Santarelli
says. "But we did no worse than any others across the country."
Since it is a performing arts venue, the Kirby
typically programs a lot of dance, ballet, symphonic, and broadway
acts and then drops in a few headliners to offset any losses it
might incur with the lesser-known "artsy" shows. This season is
an exception, as the Kirby has pulled a few extra headliners to
compensate for fall losses.
"We really did enter the season with a very
aggressive, eclectic schedule, and we knew some would do well,
and some not-so-well, but we have a very diverse audience," she
says. "We don't have that many people here; only 600-800 people
come to a jazz concert and maybe 800 to a modern dance performance.
"But we feel the need to do that, because we're
a performing arts center, not just an entertainment venue."
Jan. 25, 8 p.m., $49.50, 39.50, 29.50