"Jon Stewart's Meliora shows entertain"
Campus Times (U of Rochester)
November 7, 2002
by Kelly Smith


I have to admit that I didn't see every speaker over Meliora Weekend, but I'm still pretty sure that there was only one who called Rochester an "enormous shit-hole city" as soon as he got on stage. That guy was Jon Stewart — and the audience ate it up.

The host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" showed up in some old clothes that he had been painting in, but no one cared. Both sold-out crowds were so excited to see him that his job was made easy.

Stewart relied heavily on material that sounded familiar, but it didn't matter. His delivery made it funny and his interactions with the crowd brought freshness to everything.

During the 7 p.m. show, he shouted back and forth with a few members of the audience. When he asked if there was anything bad about Rochester, someone shouted "No girls." Stewart replied, "For you."

Another thing the 7 p.m. audience informed him of was the cat incident. He actually had a little conversation with someone in the front row for a few moments, trying to make sense of the things that people were shouting about dead cats.

He finally put it all together, saying, "So let me get this straight. A couple of people showed up to the anti-war protest [outside of Hillary Clinton's speech], but everyone knows about the cat?"

The audience loved it, so he kept going with the cats: "Here's the thing about cats — they're free. Whosever cat it was I'm sure there were a lot of others."

Stewart didn't just talk about UR politics — he went into more universal topics as well.

He offered his feelings on President Bush and his policies — "Here's a guy who drank 'til he was 40, then woke up and went, 'I'm gonna go be President.' . . . How many people here would know that Kabul is the capital of Afghanistan unless we'd bombed it? You're welcome."

His political statements were generally very popular. He talked about everything from "Don't Ask Don't Tell" — "You know what the Army's afraid of? Thousands of guys with M16's going,'Who'd you call a faggot?'" — to the Pope — "The guy's a hat choice away from being the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan."

He made a nice public service announcement to both audiences as well. "I encourage you not to do heroin. That's fucking retarded. I'll fuck with death, I'll do it from around the corner, but I won't run up behind him, give him a wedgie and punch him in the face."

Towards the end of the 9:30 show, I think he was getting tired. He started to look to the audience more for things to talk about and began asking what time it was.

But outside of that loss of energy at the very end, both shows were entertaining to watch. Jon Stewart is a smart guy, which makes his humor that much better.

I think a lot of the laughs might have come from the contrast between the guy on the "Daily Show," who isn't really allowed to swear or talk about pot, and the guy on the stage, who obviously got a kick out of the fact that UR invited him for Parents' Weekend.

He capped off the second show by telling the audience about a poem he was writing for his wife. If you think of something that rhymes with "sweet pussy," let him know.


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