Jon Stewart blue pic
 

 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

 


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The Fan Files
 Fun Fiction

 

Chicken Fried Steak
by Kelly & Melly

Note: This story is complete fiction. If it had really happened, you all would have heard about it by now. :)

*****

Kelly and Melanie were in shock. They had come to New York city for a few days, working on a story about the city post 9/11. Shortly after an interview with a fireman, Kelly received a cell phone call from their editor back in Philadelphia. He had set up an interview with Jon Stewart. Melanie didn't believe it. She gulped and stared at Kelly, who, when she saw Melanie's face, laughed as they started back to their hotel.

"We're gonna meet Jon Stewart" Kelly said. "We're gonna meet Jon Stewart, we're gonna meet Jon Stewart!"

Melanie gulped again as they started walking faster. "What the hell am I going to wear?"

*****

After telling the receptionist who they were and being led upstairs to a long row of offices, the girls were herded into a small area that resembled a waiting room from a doctor's office.

"Did you hear that?" Kelly asked, poking Melanie. "Jon is going to be up in a minute! Jon himself!"

"I know," Melanie said gravely, wiping her ashen face. "I have never been this nervous in my life!"

The two girls sat in stunned silence for a few minutes, their bodies tensing at every sound that came from behind the closed door.

"For Christ's sake, I feel like I'm about to get a pap smear ...." Kelly said, prompting both girls to burst out laughing.

The two were still giggling when the door swung open and they didn't even notice the short, Jewish man with sparkling blue eyes watching them with amusement.

"Hi girls!" he said, stepping into the room and extending his hand. "I'm Jon. I see they put you in the holding pen."

The girls rose silently to their feet and stared at the man they watched on TV every night. He looked amazing ... he looked dashing ... he looked ... exactly like did on TV. Nice crisp charcoal gray suit, a white shirt, and a matching tie.

"Hi!" they said at the same time.

Jon laughed.

"I'm Melanie," Melanie said, shaking Jon's hand. "This is Kelly, my photographer."

"Hi!" Kelly said, trying to remain professional. Suddenly she looked at Melanie. "YOUR photographer? What about you're MY writer?"

"Nice to meet you!" Jon said, his eyes sparkling at them. "My office is right across the hall, we can go in there."

Jon waved them into his office, "Come on in, sit down, sorry about the mess."

The girls couldn't believe they were in Jon Stewart's office. It was the same office they had seen on 60 Minutes -- exposed brick, a lumpy sofa, a desk almost collapsing under the weight of many papers, and a small television tuned to CNN and muted. They made their way to the two chairs in front of Jon's desk. Melanie scrambled for her notes and tape recorder while Kelly set up her camera.

"Is it okay if we tape record this?" Melanie asked, looking for a place to set the tiny recorder.

"No problem," Jon said, taking a seat behind his desk. "Here," he said, clearing a spot near the front of his desk for Melanie's tape recorder and tossing the papers he had removed on the floor beside him.

"So where are you girls from?" Jon asked, opening a drawer and taking out a bag of gumballs. "Was it Philly? You want a gumball?"

"Yes, we're from the student newspaper at the University of Philly," Kelly said, taking a gumball. "You're doing stand up there next week."

"I am?" Jon asked, offering Melanie a gumball and then dropping the bag somewhere on his desk. "Oh right, I am," he said, looking at a calendar tacked to the wall. "Okay."

"You know," Kelly said, blushing, "I thought your office would be bigger. I pictured ... I don't know, like that scene from Notting Hill with all the people and stuff, all bustling around, shouting at each other."

Jon laughed, "Nope, nothing special here. We're mostly busy all the time, putting a show together every day."

"A HA!" Melanie said, examining her notes, "Nice segue, Jon, that brings me to my first question." As Melanie opened her mouth to speak a pile of papers displaced by Jon's elbows fell, knocking her little tape recorder into her lap, followed by a mound of papers. The three cracked up.

"I'm sorry about that, I'm such a slob." Jon said, standing up and leaning over the desk to look at the tape recorder. "I'll tell ya what, are you girls hungry? There's a little diner around the corner we can go to, it would be a lot easier to do this there."

Melanie and Kelly looked at each other tentatively, "Oh, well, we don't want to trouble you." Melanie said.

Jon waved his hands again, "It's no problem, my treat. Sorry for the odd hour, but we don't usually have time to eat right at noon. It won't be that crowded anyway."

Melanie and Kelly grinned and nodded, "Sure!" they said again, at the same time.

*****

Jon was right. Except for two waitresses and few people at the bar, the little diner was empty.

"Hello!" the waitress said, setting the usual napkins, silverware and water in front of all of them, "What can I get you'ns this afternoon?"

Kelly and Melanie scanned their menus. They were really too nervous to eat, but Jon had been nice enough to bring them here, they had to order something.

"Um ... I'll have a burger and fries. And a coke, pepsi, whatever one you have." Kelly said.

"Me too," Melanie said, grinning at Kelly.

"Chicken fried steak meal for me," Jon said, handing the waitress the menu.

Kelly took a deep breath and looked around the restaurant, taking in the drab green walls and dirty dusty floor. Smiling to herself she looked over at Jon and laughed.

Jon looked around. "What, too low brow?" he asked.

"No!" Kelly assured him. "Just ... real. You've always struck me as a real low key guy ... just ... a regular guy, meat and potatoes, not filet mignon."

"All right!" Melanie said, finishing organizing her notes and triumphantly setting her tape recorder on the table, "How long do we have for this? I have a ton of questions, actually."

Jon glanced up at the clock on the wall above the bar, "We have time, about 45 minutes. Go ahead, shoot!"

"Okay. Do you find it hard to live a normal life now that you're famous? Or do you prefer the special treatment?" Melanie asked, her lips pursed in a reporter expression.

"Well ...." Jon said, "I'm not ... I'm not all that famous, really. I mean ... I don't know."

"Oh come on, you're a household name." Kelly interjected.

"I am?" Jon asked, genuinely surprised.

Melanie nodded. "At least for this generation."

He smirked. "Yeah, the kids love their bitter Jewish guys ...."

"You've never struck me as bitter." Melanie added, tapping her pen on the table.

Jon laughed. "All right, well, I guess the answer to your question is no, I don't find it hard to live a normal life. Not to be facetious, but I just live it normally. I mean, I get up, I go to work, I do my work, I go home ... watch TV ... do crosswords, whatever.

"All right, now ... Philly."

"Philly," Jon repeated.

"Do you prefer colleges to clubs? Is it because of the size, or the audience, or is it just easier to book?"

Jon sat back. "Well, I think the answer to that is yes. I do prefer colleges because of the size and because of the audience. College kids are easier to please. I don't know if it's because they're high, or because they laugh easier, or because they're less jaded, but I've just found the college vibe I get makes it easier to be funny. I sort of feed off the energy."

Melanie looked at her notes. "Okay, since this gig in Philly is in honor of Judaism, is it going to be a speech? Like, about being Jewish and famous and obstacles you overcame? Or is it going to be comedy?"

"Oh man, I hope they don't want a speech!" Jon said, frowning. "I am no speech giver."

Kelly looked for the waitress. "Where are the damn drinks? I mean, I'm as patient as the next gal with waitresses, but this is ridiculous."

As she finished her sentence the waitress rounded the corner and plopped the drinks at the table, spilling a little on the table. Apparently not having noticed she whizzed off again, heading to the kitchen.

Kelly shook her head. "There's goes some of her tip."

Jon laughed. "You're pretty critical on waitresses."

"She IS a waitress." Melanie said. "Which you would think would make her less critical, but apparently not. All right, well then, is your comedy going to be more focused on Judaism?" Melanie asked.

"Hmmm," Jon said. "Well, much of my comedy is based in Judaism already ... but it'll probably come up more than it usually does. Normally I try to balance it out to expand to a wider audience, but since this thing is ABOUT being Jewish, I might include more of that."

Melanie nodded, scribbling notes and checking the numbers on the side of the recorder. She squinted at her notes. "You recently got married. I won't delve too much, but do you find that it's harder or easier to be funny now that you're married?"

"Um," he hedged, "that question comes up a lot. I don't find it different. Some people say that comedy comes from pain, and I guess that's true, but life presents enough pain on it's own volition. You never really run out."

"What kind of humor tickles you?" Melanie asked.

"Tickles me?" He asked, laughing. "Well, the word 'tickle' tickles me. Hmmm, really, Anything funny. Anything fresh, not overdone, and ... anything that just grabs you and gets you, where you have to laugh."

Kelly nodded. "Like Ace Ventura? Did you like Ace Ventura?"

"Yeah, absolutely." He said, nodding. "Cause when Ace Ventura came out, no one was doing shit like that. That was some of the most original stuff I'd ever seen."

"What's your favorite movie? Your favorite actor? Or ... comic?" Melanie asked.

"Which one? All three?" Jon asked.

"How about you just tell me all your favorite stuff and I'll write it down," Melanie joked, laughing. "I can just make my article a list."

Jon laughed as the waitress showed up and plopped their food down in front of them. Jon got a chicken fried steak with hash browns, Melanie got a burger, and Kelly a tuna salad.

"Um," Jon said, reaching out to the waitress who was about to leave, "she ordered a burger." He looked at Kelly. "You did order a burger didn't you?"

The waitress raised an eyebrow. "You want the tuna or what?"

Kelly laughed. "You know what? Take the tuna, I don't want it."

"Whatever." She said, turning and leaving.

"Oh my god!" Kelly said, shaking her head and laughing. "Wow."

Melanie started giggling and Jon looked embarrassed. "I'm so sorry, would you like my chicken steak?" Jon said, pushing his plate over towards Kelly. "How about my hashbrowns? God, I feel awful bringing you guys to this dump. Usually they have better service, but I think she's new."

"No, it's okay. I'll steal Melanie's fries, don't worry," laughed Kelly.

Melanie pushed her fries within Kelly's reach and turned her attention back over to the interview. "Movie, actor, comic?"

"Okay ... movie. Hmm. That's too hard. I'm tempted to say The Royal Tennenbaums, but that's mostly cause it was the last good one I saw. I don't know, let's skip that one. Actor, would have to be DeNiro, he's just tremendous. And comic? I don't know. It's a toss up between Rock and Carlin."

"Oh, Chris Rock is hilarious." Melanie agreed.

Kelly nodded. "I don't know, Carlin's list of naughty words gets me rollin' every time."

"And Lenny Bruce." Jon added. "In fact, put him first, then Carlin, then Rock."

"Okay," Melanie said. "How hard was it to decide when and if to come back after September."

Jon took a deep breath and chewed a bite of food. "Well, it wasn't IF we came back, it was HOW we came back. Cause there was a definite question as to how do we mock the news when it's so serious this time ... so gut wrenching. But eventually we just said we have to go out there and feel our way. Eventually, when we got over the fear and the shock, the anger and annoyance crept in. And so slowly we started doing what we used to do ... make fun of the news. We started out slow, one pointed joke here and there to see how it went. Then we saw that that's apparently what the people wanted, and so, we just slid back into the old pattern -- taking what annoys us, and hoping that it annoys others."

"Can I just say, Jon, your speech ... the most beautiful thing I've ever heard." Melanie said.

"I've seen a lot of movies, watched a lot of TV, read a lot of books, gone to several churches, gone over tapes of presidential speeches, especially in war time, and I've never been so moved by any nine minute speech in my life ... which is only 21 years long, but still," Kelly said.

Jon laughed, looking down. "Stop it. I cried like a baby ... on TV!"

"More power to you." Melanie said. "But we'll move on."

Kelly took a picture then, catching Jon off guard. She smiled at his shocked face. "I'm in love with honesty. I hate posed pictures."

"Whaaaa?" Jon stuttered. "All right!" They laughed.

Melanie sighed. "Well, I can't think of anything else, so I'll close with my signature ending." She smiled at Jon. "What do you have in your pockets right now?"

"Huh? Oh ..." Jon shoved his hand in his pocket. "Um ... a penny ... my wallet ... a jaw breaker... and ... what the hell is this?" he said, looking at a piece of paper. "Hey! My grocery list! Thanks for reminding me! Laundry detergent, beer, ranch dressing, toilet paper ...." He looked up. "I probably should have left that last one off," he said sheepishly. The girls laughed.

Melanie held out a hand. "Thanks so much for granting us this interview."

"And for lunch, even though I didn't get any," Kelly interjected, laughing.

Jon nodded, smiling. "The pleasure was mine, and I'm really sorry about that."

Kelly shook her head. "I'm not too hungry."

Melanie smiled nervously. "Jon?"

"Uh huh?"

"Could I ... um ... uh ... hug ... you?"

Jon smiled and opened his arms. Melanie giggled and hugged him, mentally crossing number four off of her list of life goals.

Stepping back, Melanie smiled and tried not to blush. "Thanks."

Kelly sighed. "Well, as long as we're being unprofessional ... me too?"

Jon opened his arms again. As Kelly stepped back, she smiled up at him. "So adorable" she muttered, smiling and shaking her head.

"One last picture?" Kelly asked, holding up her camera.

Jon pulled his ball cap down over his head and grinned as the flash went off.

"Hey girls?" he said as they started to leave.

"Yeah?" Melanie said.

"Send me a copy of the story?"

Kelly smiled. "Sure thing."

 

Added April 14, 2002.


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