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 Jon Stewart Intelligence Agency
    A n   u n o f f i c i a l   f a n   c l u b

We're fighting, apparently, with one of
Xena's web sites. It's a huge battle.

— Jon Stewart on the JSEB




Why Jon Stewart is Hot: A Fan's Theory


Jon's July 19 Daily Show interview with Christa Miller (the Drew Carey woman) prompted me to write my second Amble. During the interview, Miller told Jon that all her female friends, all normal, non-boyfriend-stealing-types, loved him and wanted him despite his engagement to another woman. To this Jon replied, "Where were all of you when I was in high school? Sure, now that my skin's a little clearer . . . ." What struck me about Miller's comment was that I had no reaction. If she had said that all her friends loved Mel Gibson, I would have been surprised. If she had said that all her friends lusted for Tom Cruise, I would have thought, "Why?" (Of course, I do that every time I see Tom Cruise, as a matter of course.) If she had said that all her friends worshipped Fabio, I would have been surprised, then I would have staggered, nauseated, to the first large bowl I could find. But her friends don't love these men. They, without exception, love Jon Stewart. And I nodded and without question, accepted the unarguable truth: Jon Stewart is hot.

But the question that has been plaguing (or at least mildly tickling) me these past few years has been why? Why do we women drool over Jon Stewart? What is it about this self-deprecating, dark, sarcastic man that seems to attract such a loyal female following? I've grown up since my old Simon le Bon worshipping days, so my crushes are much more mild. My fondness for Jon is almost platonic. Yet if I heard that he had broken up with his girlfriend, then I bumped into him on the street and he asked me to marry him, my answer would be, "Yeah, okay. Let's go right now." If Simon asked to marry him, I would have to say, "Sorry. I'm holding out for Jon Stewart." So what gives? Well, I have my theory, and it's a long one, so sit tight and hold on.

First, he's funny. Damn funny. The kind of funny where you shouldn't be knitting when he's on or you'll accidentally impale yourself when you collapse on the floor. His bit on Jews & blacks (see sounds section) made me scream. The ending to that bit surprised and astounded me. In fact, it was the primary inspiration for the title of this web page. (I was going to call this page "How to Get Whitey," but I chickened out.) His interaction with his audience, they way he plays them, is brilliant. He doesn't do any tacky, artificial audience play. He doesn't insult them at some fundamental level. He just talks to them. "It's really embarrassing to have to tell the doctor that you have hemorrhoids, though apparently I have no trouble telling you people." I can't explain his genius, so I won't bother to explain why he's funny. Since you're here, I take it you that you agree anyway.

Second, he's smart. I have a fear that people who have never seen Jon's standup don't know just how smart he is. I don't mean just book smart, though by all accounts, he is book smart -- great college, graduated third in high school without studying, etc. I mean true smart, the kind of smart that encompasses thoughtfulness, fairness, logic, consistency, currency, knowledge, and open-mindedness. After Jon did his last Politically Incorrect appearance, there were people on The Daily Show newsletter that expressed surprise at his intelligence. That drove me nuts, but it didn't surprise me that much. The Daily Show requires Jon to be anchor-like. His opinions don't seem to matter, though he asserts his opinions a little, sometimes. I love him on the show because his humility and self-deprecation cuts the harshness of some of the material. Out of Kilborn's mouth, I sighed. Out of Jon's mouth, I laugh. But the show does limit him as an individual talent, and I miss that biting part of him that rants about politicians and Kathy Lee. All I can say is, if you have not seen "Unleavened," make sure to see it the next time it comes out. He owns you during that performance. For one hour, the world is his, and you can do nothing but hear and obey. If you don't see what I mean, then you do not deserve to gaze upon the visage of Jon Stewart. Go worship Fabio and don't come back because I don't want you here. We Jon Stewart Supremacists have no tolerance for the likes of you.

Third, he's oblivious. This is important, because it makes him a prodigy. Let me explain. Whenever a woman tells Jon that she has a crush on him or if he's told that he's attractive in any way, he denies it. It might be an act, it might be that he believes it but he's just uncomfortable with himself, or it might be that he sees himself as slightly less revolting than ingrown ankle hair. Whatever the case, he appears to be firmly convinced that no woman really wants him. So why does that make him a prodigy? Because he does everything exactly right anyway. Isn't that what a prodigy is? In a musical prodigy, all the genes and the upbringing combined in some perfect way to make the musician produce perfect music. In a woman-bait (couldn't think of a better term) prodigy like Jon, nearly every freaking thing he says and does is perfect, and he doesn't know it. For instance, on The View, he told the story about how he proposed to his fiancée through a crossword puzzle, and how it was a corny thing to do. Then when the hosts and the audience murmured with overwhelming approval, he said, and I quote, "Huh?" There are thousands, even millions, of men who don' t know how to talk to women. They either treat them like other men (one of my friends dated a guy who gave her a noogie), or they treat them like aliens from another planet. But Jon treats them like human beings, and his appearance on The View is the perfect example of his ability to make women love him. What makes this so astounding is that like the musical prodigy, Jon didn't have any lessons first. He doesn't have any sisters. People tend to get along best with the people of the same sex as their older siblings. Jon had an older brother. Yet he still manages to say the right thing. If that's not a prodigy, I don't know what is.

Fourth, he's a sweetie. He loves animals (he wanted to be Dr. Doolittle), he likes spending quiet evenings doing crossword with his beloved, he respects the elderly (even the Bedspread King), he has expressed empathy for the eccentrics that The Daily Show ridicules, he has enough love and hope to adore a flawed president for what he could have done (Kennedy), and he can't seem to stand, even for one second, to let you think that he's smarter than you, even if he is. ("If that wasn't spelled out phonetically, I'd never get through it." Yeah, right Jon. You regularly use words like "hubris." See pictures section.)

Oh, and did I mention that he's handsome? Not that that should matter, but a little frosting on the cake never hurt anyone. (Except diabetics. And people with weak tooth enamel. And . . . oh, never mind.) Does anyone else go weak when they see that gray at his temples? Was I the only one who was jealous of Miss Piggy when Jon put his arm around her and said, "Aww, you're a good girl"? And am I the only one who has a huge glasses fetish? If we could just see Jon in some wire-rimmed spectacles . . . .

Of course, I should note that all of this is pretty silly. Jon's a bright guy who has had years of practice presenting himself to his public. Who knows how much of that presentation is fake or one-sided? There is plenty of stuff that he has never talked about or only hinted at. He may put more of himself out there than others do, given his admiration for open comics like Pryor, but he still has parts of himself carefully stored away, never to be seen by the likes of us. Maybe the resentment toward his father that he has hinted at a few times and his life with his mother taught him sensitivity. Maybe the trauma of a divorce when he was so young gave him his dark, biting, and wonderful character. Maybe his experiences as an outsider as one of the few Jews in his neighborhood and his college forced him to understand isolation and lent him his acute compassion. Maybe he likes to torture kittens in his spare time. Who knows?

Ultimately it doesn't matter, because crushes are irrational, lovely things. If Jon is too good to be true, then at least we have a fictional model. Ah, yes. There is nothing like a made-up personality with which to criticize our current and future partners, forcing them into a lifetime of bitterness and therapy. ("She's always telling me to be more like Jon Stewart. What do I do, doctor?")

Viva la disfunctioné!

July 21, 1999

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