"Shouts & Murmurs"
The New Yorker
September 14, 1998
by Jon Stewart


Editor's note: This is a slightly modified version of "The Recipe," from Naked Pictures of Famous People. It is interesting to note the changes -- some very slight.


The Envelope, Please: A Viewer's Guide to the Emmy

Open with vibrant, elaborately costumed dance number set to a medley of popular hits. As music swells, bring the dancing girls to an abrupt halt. End music. Add audience applause and a booming introduction of the well-respected, acerbic host. Play host's signature theme song. Cross host to podium.

HOST: General greetings and a query as to the audience's well-being. Statement of own well-being. Survey of surroundings. Improvised analogy comparing surroundings to different surroundings. Sarcastic jab at expected length of proceedings.

Pause for laughter.

HOST (cont.): Recognition of enormous power wielded by many audience members. Statement of fear over possible consequences that failure to entertain said powers would entail.

If laughter is forthcoming:

HOST (cont.): Query as to audience's familiarity with behavior of recently disgraced cultural icon. Incredulity and displeasure at said behavior. Command for icon to discontinue behavior. Description of outlandish new consumer product created as a result of icon's behavior.

Pause for laughter.

HOST (cont.): Praise audience for sense of humor. Query as to their readiness for program's continuation. Introduction of two participants who will begin process of bestowing honors: an unattractive, humorous male renowned for his portrayal of other unattractive, humorous males, and a female of great physical beauty who has achieved fame for her skill in walking while wearing expensive clothing.

Add music and applause as host leaves stage. Bring humorous man and beautiful women to podium.

MAN (to woman): Complement concerning sexual attractiveness.

WOMAN (stilted, as though reading): Acceptance and return of complement.

MAN: Lurid sexual innuendo. Winking proposition with broad physical gesturing.

WOMAN (stilted, as though reading): Unusually intelligent rebuke of said proposition.

MAN: Surprise at intelligence of rebuke. Feigned lack of disappointment at rebuke. Conceited statement of missed sexual opportunity for the woman, again with broad physical gesturing.

Pause for laughter among audience and presenters.

WOMAN: Query as to the identity of the author of previously read statements and indictment of their ability. List of possible honorees.

Stand man and woman aside. Show each possible honoree performing the task for which each is to be honored. Show all present possible honorees in the audience waiting for the result of their effort.

MAN (opening a sealed correspondence): Announcement of honoree.

Great rejoicing among the believers of the verdict. Reflection and bitter questioning among the others. Bring the honored one to the stage. A female of surgically enhanced sexual attractiveness hands a totem of achievement to the honoree, who grasps it with great reverence. Audience applause.

HONOREE: Breathless surprise. Self-effacing remark concerning previous outcomes of similar events. Feigned lack of preparation. Expression of gratitude for inventors of the totem as well as constituents of totem. Expression of gratitude for believers in verdict. Expression of gratitude for members of blood lineage and Supreme Exalted Being. Expression of gratitude for creators of shown task. Expression of regret concerning those who have not received expressions of gratitude. Plea for group subjected to persecution to be no longer subject to persecution.

Swell music.

HONOREE (cont.): Regret at musical interruption and self-criticism at lack of organizational and communication skills. Sudden remembrance of those still in need of expressions of gratitude.

Dim music slightly.

HONOREE (cont.): Fear of further recrimination if closing remarks are not forthcoming. Hurried expression of love for those present, viewing at home, or living.

Swell music. Audience applause. Honoree is escorted by presenters while displaying totem to the audience. Host appears.

HOST: Perceptive remark concerning unexpected length and emotional tenor of honoree's presentation. Example of previous presentation famous for such characteristics.

Pause for laughter.

HOST (cont.): Introduction of corpulent woman, well know for recognizing and satirizing her physical condition, and an adolescent known for imitating another adolescent known for contracting a fatal illness.

Repeat as necessary.


<< back

Copyright © 1998 The New Yorker. All rights reserved.

main - pictures - transcripts - multimedia - desktop - links