He is one
of America's great comedic voices. "Where? Right here on the
line? That's exciting," says Jon Stewart from his Daily Show
office in New York City. "I'm very excited about coming to Cincinnati."
sitting behind his anchor desk, weeknights at 11 p.m. on Comedy
Central, Stewart often hits the road.
to do a couple of dates a month, usually," he says. "It's a
comedy show, some bit of close up magic."
the stage is a different venue than a TV studio, and Stewart's
live act reflects that.
just a string of vulgarities," he says. "Pure flat-out profanity,
heightened by bizarre nudity at the end. 'Gratuitous,' I think
it's called. It's everything that's going on and the sadness
we feel about it -- turned into comedy! What's funnier than
war and things?"
one more important distinction: "I'll be able to stand, whereas
on the show I sit. Although, who knows? Maybe I'll bring the
desk. I haven't decided yet."
to see why Stewart might want to bring the desk, since he's
built a solid presence around that piece of furniture.
having fun," he says. "It's hard to tell how it's going, because
we're here. So we're critical of ourselves and the way we do
things, but the viewers, we can't hear them at home. We don't
know if they're laughing, sleeping or waiting for Half Baked."
they're laughing and watching, because Stewart's program consistently
draws big numbers for Comedy Central. "We're thrilled at the
way it's gone," he adds.
Stewart with taking The Daily Show to the proverbial next level,
even though it seemed to be running quite well with Craig Kilborn
as host. Perhaps it was Stewart's stand-up sensibilities that
cranked it up a notch or two.
over in January 1999, when Kilborn bolted for CBS. "I was actually
taken from house in the middle of the night. Knocked out. I
believe it was chloroform; they swear it was ether."
it was a savvy group of executives at Comedy Central that had
the notion to apply Stewart's talk-show experience, writing
skills and wit to the critically acclaimed Daily Show.
with a lot of these people in the past," Stewart explains. "The
executive producer is my executive producer from the MTV show.
Doug Herzog, the executive here, was the executive at MTV. So
it was like getting the band back together ... if the band was
Colour Me Badd."
final broadcast he announced that Jon Stewart, his good friend,
would be taking the anchor seat.
don't know him very well," Stewart says. "I'd spoken to him
a couple of times before he had taken the show."
point Stewart stops the interview briefly to chat with a producer
about a rewrite. Each show is well-planned, and changes occur
constantly until they think they've got it right.
similar to trying to hit a piñata," he says. "We're a
very reactive organization. And it doesn't take nearly as many
people to fake a news network as it does to run one."
offer more opportunities for satire than others, but that doesn't
hamper The Daily Show. "That's the difference between us and
actual news. We don't really have to cover anything. We can
pick and choose something that is appropriate to the kind of
show we do."
of show continues to attract viewers and, at some point, The
Daily Show could make a move similar to the one Politically
Incorrect did a few years back.
I want to move it on to a smaller network. Maybe D-I-Y," he
jokes. "I don't think that much about that. Obviously I'm not
insane. If someone said, 'We're going to give you a larger forum
for this,' I wouldn't say, 'What? Why would I want to expand
my audience?' But my goals are closer to my face than that."
in a handful of films but doesn't seek a career on the big screen.
my filmography, if you will, is astonishing," he says. "I think
I will try and continue to do one every five years."
Stewart is content to enjoy his duties as anchor, commentator
and chief wiseacre on The Daily Show.
lucky business to be in," he says. "I've had enough regular
jobs to know that I like this business. People asked, 'Were
you nervous about taking the show?' I guess, but what was I
supposed to do? 'I will not take a job in show business because
I'm nervous about it'?"
continues to draw acclaim and high profile gigs like hosting
The Grammys. Sitting or standing, he'll undoubtedly be a comic
force for quite a while.
appears at the Taft Theatre at 8 p.m. Friday.