When Ellen DeGeneres hosted the Emmys last November,
Taliban jokes made the monologue. When Jon Stewart hosts the Grammys
on February 27, Mariah Carey jokes may just do the trick.
The difference? Distance.
"I think [DeGeneres] did an unbelievably
terrific job," Stewart told reporters today via a telephone
press conference. "But I think that was much more in the
wheelhouse of the event [which was twice postponed because of
the September 11 terror attacks and their aftermath]...She obviously
had to address that more directly."
As for September 11 sentiment at the Grammys?
"I think it's going to be not a factor."
Let the Mariah Carey bashing resume...
"She was paid $28 million not to
sing, so who knows? I might get paid $28 million not to tell jokes."
Stewart tried out this and other rim-shot material
during the interview session to hype the Grammys, slated for Los
Angeles' Staples Center. U2 leads this year's field with eight
Stewart is making his second straight appearance
on the CBS telecast. Last year, the Daily Show host was
a late replacement for Whoopi Goldberg, who bowed out due to illness.
("They'd gotten down to the S's," Stewart said, explaining
how he wound up with the gig.)
This year, he was CBS' first choice. And, accordingly,
he's ready to roll.
"I'll be equipped with a megaphone,"
Stewart said, referring to the challenges of telling jokes in
a not-small venue like Staples. "I've decided to shout my
And what sort of things might he be shouting?
"If Toni Braxton walks out again
wearing nothing but a scarf, yes, I will probably have to mention
On a more sober (and fully clothed) note, Stewart
says jokes about President Bush--generally off-limits since September
11--may again be considered. While the war on terrorism still
isn't funny, Bush's controversial "axis of evil" comment
is, to Stewart, "fair game." (And don't be surprised
if Enron isn't the punchline to at least one gag.)
Balancing acts aside, Stewart is not confusing
the Grammy gig with anything resembling heavy lifting.
"Obviously, the pressure on me is
minuscule," he said. "If I can score a couple of laughs
and direct traffic...I should be okay."