ANNIE'S AMBLES #2
Why Jon Stewart is Hot: A
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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 . . . .
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?
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?")
July 21, 1999