Close Encounters of the Jon Kind
Name: Julie H.
October 11, 1999
I am not a stalker. I just
want to make that clear. I am just a very active, enthusiastic, and adventurous
Jon Stewart fan. And my life is rather boring right now, to be totally honest.
So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that JS was going
to be playing at the University of Delaware on October 11th -- just a few short
minutes from my current residence! And THEN I was able to procure tickets to
The Daily Show with JS event at the Museum of Television and Radio in NYC for
the following Thursday! The seats were not for the main room, but I had high
hopes of getting myself in there somehow. This, I decided, must be why the universe
had not seen fit to have me employed this week. I must be meeting Jon Stewart
this week! Little did I know ....
My cousin was supposed to
go with me to the U of D event, but she was unable to attend at the last minute,
and since I know no one under the age of 50 in this town, I went to the show
alone. I wasn't about to miss it! My seats were fair -- to the side, about halfway
up -- and I could see the stage entrance really well. Todd Barry opened, and
JS sat hidden behind a curtain during Todd's performance. The audience was kind
of lukewarm toward Todd, which I thought was a shame because he was very funny
(more on that later). Then JS came out. Big noise and cheering from the crowd,
which was predominately UD students, many of who appeared to be potential Estrogen
Brigade members. He did a lot of his standard stuff, but sometimes with a different
twist (example: he did the bit about his dog throwing up and eating it, but
with some LOVELY sound effects which really brought the moment to life). He
interacted quite a bit with the audience and gave it right back to a guy who
yelled out "Craig Kilborn rules!" or some such nonsense. He did an imitation
of that guy telling his friends later about how he yelled it out, and really
made the guy look like the idiot he obviously was. In my opinion, he seemed
a little more edgy than when I've seen him before -- not as self-deprecating,
lots of sex and cursing. Not that I'm complaining, I'm just saying.
Personal tidbit: He mentioned
he only smokes about 1/2 a pack of cigarettes a day.
So after a little over an
hour, it was over. I walked out the front doors of the venue and thought, "I'm
going to go around to the backstage door and see if I can get an autograph for
my sister." She got one for me a few years ago and I wanted to return the favor.
I started walking around the building, and began feeling nervous/goofy and turned
around. Then I started back again, and this time ran into two girls walking
back from the rear of the building. I stopped them and asked whether they had
seen JS back there.
They replied, "No, no one's
back there. There aren't any limos or nice cars. We think he's gone. We're going
to go get drunk."
So I start walking to the
front of the building with them, when I stopped myself and thought, "Jon Stewart
wouldn't have a limo. Why am I following these about-to-be-drunk-chicks?" So
I decided I needed to just walk back there for myself. And I marched back there
figuring it would be dark and empty, and omigod, Jon Stewart is standing right
He was signing something
for two other young ladies and I walked up frantically trying to pull the book
out of my purse. Todd Barry was standing there, so I decided I would tell him
how much I enjoyed his performance. But I was nervous, and this is what I said,
"You were really good, much better than the audience ..."
Now I meant to refer to
the fact that the audience wasn't very receptive, but I just froze.
Jon heard me and said, "So
you didn't think the audience was very funny?"
Now, feeling really stupid,
I replied, "No, I was really disappointed in the audience," shaking my head
in shame and mumbling.
Todd Barry jumped in and
said, "Oh, no, the audience was fine! I was first. That's what happens when
you go on first."
Now JS is free, so I turn
to him and ask him to sign the book, "It's for my sister, and you probably don't
remember her, but you met her a few years ago and I thought maybe you could
mention something about that."
"Where did I meet her?"
San-Jose-she-worked-at-the-venue," (who ME, nervous? nah!)
JS: "That was a long time
ago ... I don't know ...."
ME: "Yeah, I know, I just
thought maybe ... we get autographs for each other, and she got one from you
for me ...."
Todd: "Hey! That's cool!
What other autographs have you gotten?"
Ok, I need to mention here
that this autograph thing started when my sister got the one for me of
JS. She gave it to me for Christmas, and we decided to make it a tradition.
So I've collected one other autograph -- this JS one would put me ahead. But
now I have Todd Barry being very nice and trying to have a conversation with
me! I think I really started to fall apart at this point.
ME: "Um, I got her Jon Crier's
autograph ..."(trying not to be rude, but trying to focus on the fact that Jon
Stewart is standing less than an arm's length away from me!)
Todd: "Oh, that's cool!
Where did you see him?"
OK, this was just too much
for me, I just couldn't hold a conversation and I mumbled, "Um, he had a movie,
I feel really bad about
this because he was being very nice and I was just too freaked to reciprocate.
And I had another agenda to complete. I thanked JS for the autograph
and stammered, "Uh, I have one other favor to ask you, and I realize it might
be too much, so I'll understand if you can't, but I just thought I'd ask."
JS is raising his eyebrows
and kind of laughing at me, "What is it ...."
ME: "Well, my sister and
I are going to be at the seminar you're doing on Thursday."
JS: "What am I doing on
ME: "The seminar. At the
Museum of Television and Radio."
JS: [Staring blankly]
ME: "About The Daily
JS: "Well, I guess I need
to check my schedule!"
I realize I should've just
dropped it at this point, but I had jumped in and I plowed ahead, "Well, that's
what you're doing on Thursday-and-my-sister is-writing-a-paper on-sensationalism-versus-journalism
and-she-was-wondering whether-she-could-ask-you a-few-questions-after-the-show."
I really felt I was losing him now, and I started the most rapid-fire speech
since those old Fed-Ex commercials.
JS: "Well, I would hate
to promise anything ..."
ME:"I understand ..."
JS: "It's just really hard
to know how those things are going to turn out, and what it's going to be like
JS: "She should call Comedy
Central's publicity department and talk to someone there."
ME: "Oh, okay. Thanks!"
(HEL-lo! Even in my frantic state I knew that would be a lost cause.)
JS: "Well, I guess I need
to find out what I'm doing at that."
of-The-Daily-Show-and-it's-not-just-you I-think-Madeleine-and-Ben are-doing-it-too."
("Madeleine and Ben?" Like I know them?! Like we're tight, oh yeah, me,
Madeleine, and Ben! I had obviously passed into some sort of moronic
state at this point).
He and Todd are starting
to leave to get into the mini-van that two college chicks are driving to take
them back to the train station....
JS: "Well, I hope it's good!"
ME: (And get this): "Yeah,
well, I guess you'll be really prepared, huh?" (all sarcastic and shit,
like in the past 15 seconds I've all of a sudden become Miss Cool and Above
JS: "Um, yeah."
ME: (Back to the moron)
(no, my buddies Maddie and Ben will be there too), "THANKS FOR THE AUTOGRAPH!"
And that was it. My big
moment and I blew it, hard. I walked back to the front of the building where
about 25 young ladies were still standing gushing about how cute, funny, sexy
... and he and Todd Barry drove by in the minivan. They must've waved or something
because I heard a swell of high-pitched, incoherent voices and turned back to
see hands over mouths, eyes wide, and friends grabbing each other's arms. Then
I thought, "Okay, I might've acted like an idiot, and I don't think he's calling
off the marriage, but I didn't just stand out front wondering." And I realized
I had accomplished something. And now, I had laid the groundwork for
Thursday. Surely I couldn't be so nervous the second time around ....
I was VERY nervous! Much
more so than I ever thought I'd be! And I felt kind of goofy since I was by
myself -- I'm hoping I looked like a college student! JS was very nice
and patient with me and Todd Barry was totally cool -- I think he was really
interested in my little autograph story, but it was just too overwhelming for
me. JS looked good, for the record. He had a little facial scruffiness going
on and was wearing his casual uniform -- pants, sweater, and leather jacket.
Compiled by Melly.