Close Encounters of the Jon Kind
was originally posted on the March
17, 2002 newsletter.
I Told Jon That I Loved
I really don't know how it happened,
or WHY it happened to me, but I was incredibly blessed and lucky enough to see
Jon perform at my college on Saturday. This is the second time in less than
two months that I have had the privilege of seeing Jon live. The last time I
saw him was late January in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (which he happened to
mention on TDS during the Bea Arthur interview!).
I go to the University of Pittsburgh.
With our neighbor, Carnegie Mellon University, we have a Jewish Student Center
call Hillel. Hillel organized an annual Jewish awareness and culture event called,
"Not Quite Kosher," with this being its inaugural year. Other celebrities who
came were Dr. Drew Pinksy from MTV's Loveline and Eathan from Survivor.
I write for the student newspaper and
they assigned ME of all people to cover the press conference for this. At the
press conference they announced the names of all the celebrities who would be
performing, and when they said Jon was going to be doing stand up, well, it
was hard to keep a reporter's cool and aloof facade, I'll tell ya that! But
not only did I get to see my beautiful, wonderful Jon AGAIN, I got to write
the article announcing his imminent arrival. How cool is that?
But anyway, that was almost a month
ago. Saturday was at long last the night of Jon. I was incredibly excited. When
I saw Jon before, it was a ritzy theater full of middle-aged people. But tonight
was college students only and the tickets were only $5 as opposed to almost
$30 for cheap seats before. Somehow, because I had see Jon before, I was anxious
to share him, if you will, with my fellow college students. We watch TDS in
the newsroom every night, and there's not a college student I know of that doesn't
adore Jon. So I was hyped. I felt like a proud mother taking her child to Disney
World for the first time. I couldn't wait to see him, but more than that, I
couldn't wait for everyone else to see him. Does that make sense?
The doors to the theater opened at
7:15 and seating was first come first serve, so we got there extra early to
get good seats. This is how insane my friends and I are: We can see the theater
from our dorms since it's right across the street, so we had someone posted
at the window with a pair of binoculars. When we saw people lining up, we walked
over. Do you think we're insane? Oh, never mind, look who I'm talking to!
We got good places in line close to
the door and by the time they started letting people in, the line snaked down
the building's entrance (which is long, really long), down the sidewalk and
around the block. I had expected that, though, and couldn't help but feel a
tad snooty as I entered the building, leaving a thousand other students standing
outside in the cold.
Because this was a Jewish function,
we first were forced to walk through a "Jewish Marketplace" before we could
go into the actual theater. The "Jewish Marketplace" consisted of many people
shoving fliers in your face. They gave us free chocolate and a cute little pin
about Passover. Soon we entered the theater and managed to get seats on the
fourth row, left. We could have gotten closer, but the first three rows were
reserved for the people who had organized the event and volunteer ushers. I
was psyched at our seating. I was on the aisle and had a clear view of the stage
that would soon hold Jon.
The stage itself consisted of a big
purple curtain, two microphones, a stool, a guitar (for the comedian doing Jon's
opening act), and some bottles of water. I watched nervously as the auditorium
began to fill up. From where I was sitting, I could see backstage and I basically
spent my time gazing at the crack in the curtain with my binoculars. I bet I
really annoyed my friends cause everyone I saw someone through the crack, I
would go, "Person!" and stare at them through my binoculars until I deemed them
to be a non-Jon being.
They also had music going from two
huge speakers on either side of the stage. They played REALLY good music and
I couldn't help making a few jokes like, "Jews have great taste in music!" They
even played the Hanukkah song by Adam Sandler, to which everyone happily sang
It was at this time that a group of
people all came into the theater together and sat down three rows down and right
across the aisle from me. A couple of kids clapped and cheered and I realized
. . . IT WAS DR. DREW! I WAS SITTING BY DR. DREW! How cool is that? I was going
to see Jon again and do it sitting behind Dr. Drew!
Soon, the lights dimmed and after a
brief introduction Jon's opening act, a funny guy named Joel Chasnoff, came
on stage. I don't mean to be rude here because this guy was really funny and
he had a great act, but he talked for over a half hour. I wanted to shout, "Enough!
Bring out the Jon!" But of course I didn't. The guy WAS really funny and I did
enjoy his jokes, although I would have enjoyed them more if I wasn't anxiously
awaiting Jon, or staring at people through the crack in the curtain.
But finally, after singing his song
about college life, Joel put down his guitar and said, "Ladies and Gentleman,
our featured guest tonight needs no introduction. Please welcome, Mr. Jon Stewart!"
I got that old, just-got-on-a-roller-coaster-and-it's-about-to-take-off
feeling as out from the crack in the curtain stepped my beloved, beloved Jon!
The crowd went WILD! I mean WILD! I'm talking wild clapping, cat calls, whistles,
woos, screams and everything else you can think of- and Jon hadn't even SAID
anything yet! I was excited not just because Jon was standing 20 feet away from
me, but because everyone else was so happy and excited to see him. It's kind
of like going to see a Star Trek movie with a bunch of Trekkies. In Wilkes-Barre
Jon got a warm welcome. In Pittsburgh, surrounded by college students, Jon was
WORSHIPPED! He could have eaten a baby on stage and the audience would have
After the initial applause died down,
I saw my chance. I couldn't believe I was going to do this, but where else can
you do something like I was about to do but at a college function or a WWF match?
Shouting as LOUDLY as I could, I screamed, "I LOVE YOU, JON!" and blushed as
everyone in the first three rows, including Dr. Drew, turned around to stare
at me. My sudden outburst had caused another string of wild applause and when
that died down, Jon LOOKED at me and said, "Aww, that's sweet. Thank you." I
couldn't have been happier.
During the applause Jon had kind of
bowed a little and said, "Thank you, thank you!" into the microphone and stuff,
but brushing it off like he does, you know. He was wearing Khaki pants, the
Bronx Zoo T-shirt (I got to see the famed Bronx Zoo shirt in person!) and a
tan suit jacket. He looked great.
As the giddy audience settled down
a bit (believe me, I know EXACTLY what they were going through -- The Disbelief
Stage), Jon started out by making fun of Pennsylvania. Apparently he had driven
all the way to Pittsburgh from New York (which is something like 8 hours), and
he made fun of central PA (which, I have to admit, is pretty bad) which made
the crowd once again go wild because our rival, Penn State, is situated out
in a field somewhere in central PA.
At this point he was trying to open
his bottle of water and knocked it on the floor. When he bent over to pick it
up, a bunch of girls in the audience (me included) went, "Wooo! Ow!" Standing
up, Jon laughed and said, "What? Was that for my ass?" We answered yes by cat
calling again. Jon laughed again and said, "That is just wrong! I'm old! That's
like wooing your dad! Don't do that! I'm like Joey Buttafuoco to you guys!"
For the rest of the night, if we dared cat call Jon, he would point to us and
sternly say, "Buttafuoco!" It was so cute! What a great way to handle such attention.
Soon the audience and I fell into the
Acceptance stage, which meant we relaxed and gladly handed ourselves over to
Jon for the next hour or so. He didn't really do a lot of new stuff, almost
all of his jokes I had heard before, but that didn't matter to me. He could
have just sat on a stool in the middle of the stage and said nothing, and I
would have happily sat there and stared at him all night. I could never get
tired of looking at Jon.
The audience was just great. Once again,
because it was a college thing, we wooed and clapped so much more than the old
people in Wilkes-Barre. Jon played off the audience, asking people questions
and such. Even if you had written every one of Jon's jokes for him, it's worth
it to go see him just for the off-the-cuff stuff. Jon is incredibly charming
and witty. Someone could have thrown rotten vegetables at him and he could make
a joke that would send the audience to the floor with laughter. That man has
a REAL talent for such kinds of things. I can't even cite all the times someone
in the audience shouted something at him and he came back with a witty response.
I don't know, maybe I'm biased, but I would let Jon give the eulogy for a dear
relative because I'm sure he could lighten the mood.
Jon did a LOT of stuff. He did the
usual computer bits, and the stuff about gays in the St. Patrick's Day parade,
the stuff about his dog throwing up and the cat in heat bit (which I got a lovely,
lovely picture of), all his usual stuff. The crowd was in love with him. He
could do no wrong. Jon literally could have said, "Follow me and we shall ascend
to into space with the coming of the comet!" and we all would have gladly followed
him. It may sound like I'm exaggerating here, but believe me, I'm not.
Jon said his usual stuff about quitting
smoking and when he asked if anyone in the audience had quit, I absent mindedly
raised my hand and gave a hearty woo. It was absent minded because I had noticed
that even though flash photography wasn't allowed, so many people were taking
pictures that we as a group had stricken down the rule. So I was fiddling with
my camera when I heard Jon say, "You quit? How long ago did you quit?" It was
then I looked up to find Jon staring at me. Jon was staring at ME! It was deer
in headlights time, people. After repeated elbowing from my friend, Valerie,
I finally managed to shout, "January!" just as some guy behind me shouted, "Six
months ago!" I wanted to beat that guy up! Jon was talking to me, ME!
I also had my binoculars with me so
I could see like, Jon's pores. I would like to take this time to once again
talk about Jon's eyes. Not only have I had the privilege of looking into Jon's
eyes, but just seeing them in person is incredible. I think I've said this before,
but although Jon looks just as he does in person as he does on TV, the camera
does NOT do his eyes justice. He has beautiful, beautiful blue-ish eyes that
twinkle when he laughs and sparkle when he smiles. And you can really, honestly
see kindness and intelligence in them. I'm being totally serious here, they
say the eyes are the windows to the soul and I totally believe that -- you can
tell a lot about a person by looking in their eyes. You can just SEE the kindness
and decency in Jon by looking in his eyes and behind all that, you can sense
his intelligence. Does anyone think I'm crazy yet? Okay, I'll move on.
One of the funniest parts of the evening
was directly after Jon had told his joke about going to the proctologist. Some
random guy in the audience shouted, "You rock, Jon!" Jon literally cracked up
and said, "Why did you say that after an ass joke? You don't say something like
that after an ass joke! Imagine what we must think of you now!" Like I said,
the spontaneous stuff is the best. I honestly think Jon would have done better
at the Grammys if he had skipped all rehearsals and just said whatever he felt
like. Except the stripping part in the beginning, he could keep that part. ;)
He did get serious for about five minutes,
talking about the terrorists and 9/11. He said, "These terrorist guys are like
the guy in your dorm who throws something out the window and ruins it for everyone.
They're assholes and don't even think that we won't beat them because there
are too many of us and we're too strong." He got a strong round of applause
for that. Jon being funny is cute, but Jon being serious is incredibly sexy.
Does it mean that I'm shallow if I got turned on?
Jon talked for LONGER in Pittsburgh
than he did in Wilkes-Barre, which I thought was just fantastic. I had kind
of thought that since we'd paid a measly $5 for our tickets, we'd probably get
Jon for 45 minutes, or an hour at the most. But Jon didn't gyp us -- he talked
for a full hour and a half. It went by so quickly. He did ask the audience if
they had any questions for him and I swear to God every hand in that place shot
up in the air. Some guy asked Jon if he could shake his hand and Jon said, "Sure!"
and the guy ran up to the stage and shook his hand, to wild audience applause.
Jon then said, "Wow! Jon Stewart can shake hands! What a talent!"
I then got the wonderful idea to ask
Jon for a hug, but sadly, he did not call on me. Instead he called on some guy
who asked him if he was going to network TV, to which Jon replied, "Do I want
to move to network? Oh yes! I'll do anything!" It was pretty much the same joke
he did on SNL.
The last question he took was from
some jokester who asked, "Is Martha Stewart your mother?" Jon just grinned and
quipped, "I hope not, cause I've been f***ing her for three weeks now!" That
one brought the house down so Jon ended it there, thanking us and receiving
many more cat calls, woos, expressions of love, etc. He then introduced Dr.
Drew who said a few words about the luncheon thing he was giving the next day
and making a lovely photo op of Jon and Dr. Drew standing next to each other.
The two then exited the stage amongst wild, unbridled cheer. The crowd would
have EATEN Jon if they could, I am NOT kidding.
As we were filing out into the lobby,
I pulled out the giant heart I had made that said, "I Luv You, Jon!" and slipped
it under the curtain and pushed it backstage. I had held it up when Jon came
on stage in the beginning, but he said he could barely see the audience because
of the lights. I don't know where my heart ended up, probably in the trash can,
swept up by the janitors (that would make a great country song!), but it was
worth a shot. Maybe someone gave it to Jon.
As we filed past the Jewish Marketplace
and outside, I bid my friends good-bye as I chose to further my insanity by
waiting outside some door. I knew the chances of seeing Jon were slim to none,
but how could I call myself a rabid fan if I didn't stand outside in the cold
for at least a half hour? So I joined a very small group of other rabid Jon
fans outside the small back parking lot where two black cars were waiting with
a couple of security guards standing by the door. We hadn't been standing there
for even a minute before we were forced to go across the street by the security
guard, who claimed that Jon had already left. HA! I had heard that one before.
But whether it was true or not, I stood there until Dr. Drew and Eathan from
Survivor got in the cars and the security guards walked away. Bummer. I stood
there with about four other girls, making up conspiracy theories such as, "Maybe
they're going to just drive around the block to make us THINK they left, then
come back for Jon!" We waited about five more minutes and no Jon. I wasn't disappointed,
I hadn't really expected to see him anyway.
I took a lot of pictures, which once
I get developed, I will be posting on the web. I'll give Annie the link so you
guys can see them. I got a wonderful picture of Jon mid-cat in heat impression,
which I'm sure I will treasure all the days to come.
And that ended my happy Jon evening.
I know I don't have to tell you guys this, but if you EVER have the chance to
see Jon live, GO! You will be rolling on the floor with laughter, grinning stupidly
at the wonderfully handsome Jon, and having the time of your life. Jon puts
on quite a show. There is no doubt in my mind that he is one of the funniest
comics of his generation and just the most wonderful person alive. And as strange
as it sounds, I wish I could just thank him for being who he is, because as
funny and kind and sweet as he is, I honestly think he makes this world a better
place. Do I sound crazy? Well I am. Crazy about Jon Stewart.
Compiled by Melly.