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March 30, 1995 - Image 22

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-30

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. -. Thursday, March 30, 1995

Jon Stewai
By Alexandra Twin
Daily Film Editor
The way to a man's heart is through
his stomach, as the old proverb goes.
With late-night talk show brat Jon
Stewart, this just might be true.
"MMMM, MMMM, Darlene!
MMMM, this sandwich is good," the
comic cooed loudly to an assistant as
I attempted to interview him by phone.
"Wow. Got some jalepenos on here,
huh? MMMM."
Apparently, he had just finished
shooting that night's show and was
very hungry. Apparently, he and I are
close enough that he felt comfortable
noshing loudly throughout our con-
versation, even burping unexcused
from time to time. "Where the hell am
I calling to, Canada?" he barked.
Uhhhh, no, this would be Michi-
gan. "Michigan! I played there
twice... at some club in the basement
of a health-food store." That would be
Mainstreet Comedy Showcase be-
neath Seva's. "Yeah, yeah, yeah" he
agreed heartily.
Born in New Jersey, a jock and a
smart-aleck in high school, a dis-
gruntled College of William and Mary
attendee, a breath of fresh air on MTV
and now the new kid in the late-night
talk show wars, this bonafide "fast-
talking New York guy" has had a
pretty nearly meteoric rise to the top.
Although by his calculations, he's not
quite there yet. "I'm liking the show
now, but you know, we're not quite
"60 minutes" yet, ... but we're also
not quite "Naked People Talking in
Spanish" yet either.
Although the show defies the talk
show standard in not possessing a
house band, traditional guests or the
traditional type.of interviews, Stewart
says that the main difference between
his show and others is that "We have

t: You snooze, you lose

no money."
A veteran of Comedy Central's
"Short Attention Span Theater," com-
edy is pretty much the only thing
Stewart has ever wanted to do. "I was
always a wise-ass," he admitted.
"Comedy developed out of writing. I
had this idea of being a serious writer
and sitting in a little town filled with
crazy characters and documenting my
experiences, but most of what I wrote
ended up being jokes. Instead of do-
ing it for my friends, I just did it for an
audience." His first show was at the
Bitter End, an aptly named New York
City club. "It was awful. I had five
minutes to prepare and after two jokes,
the audience was screaming..."
Connections at Comedy Central
got him over to MTV where he hosted
the short-lived, "You Wrote it, You
Watch it" and then "The Jon Stewart
Show," an early prototype of his cur-
rent show. After one season in syndi-
cation, the show is doing well but not
amazing. Stewart eventually wants to
do movies, but for now is very happy
with late-night. "We're not doing any-
thing ridiculously gimmicky, we're
just sort of skewing what is a very
traditional format on television."
"Growing up, I always thought
stand-up comedy was cool, but I never
thought it was something that I'd ac-
tually do. Then I just did it. That's the
thing about stand-up, there's really
nothing to do but do it. You can't go
'Oh, I'll just take three years and
really perfect my act and then I'll be
ready for Letterman.' You gotta go
I'll take three years of performing at
2 a.m. in front of a bunch of drunken
assholes and then see what happens."'
Even when he did finally make it
to Letterman for the first time, the
immediate repercussions were not
quite what the young comic had been

expecting. "I came home and expected
my apartment to be immediately big-
ger, but it wasn't, it was still the same
shithole... People think that once you
get a little exposure, you automati-
cally go to lots of cool parties, wake
up every morning next to a beautiful
woman who gives you a champagne
shower and then two midgets towel
you off and send you on your way.
Most nights, I'm so tired, I just come
home and play Sega for a while and
just chill out."
The workload and preparation in-
volved in producing a nightly talk
show is certainly far greater than that
of a bi-weekly MTV show or even the
hour-a-night routine of a stand-up
comic. Stewart estimates that he puts
in an average of 12 hours a day.
What he's found the most difficult
about it all so far is: "Just being shitty
at it. Just trying really hard no to be,
learning how to do the show so that
there is some kind of consistency and
so that it's fun for people. The hour
doesn't just magically happen."
He's also not too concerned about
what people's expectations of him
are. "If you try to please other people,
you're not necessarily gonna get
something original. So I'm not gonna
try to broaden the show out to please
a certain audience. Maybe rather than
Dinosaur Jr., some people would pre-
fer Anita Baker, but I don't particu-
larly care for her, so I'll have Dino-
saur Jr."
Another person he doesn't par-
ticularly care for is early morning talk
show host Kathie Lee Gifford. "My
personal Hell would be Kathie Lee
talking bedtime talk to me or maybe
singing the classics."
Of the guests that have been on the
show, Stewart's favorite's so far have
been Denis Leary, Laurence Fishburne

Jon Stewart looks like someone you know, probably. Show them this picture and see.

and Quentin Tarantino.
He thinks that his guests appreci-
ate the show because: "They don't
want to be treated like this is a big,
torturous thing. I don't think that they
particularly like doing talk shows and
so they appreciate the casual, friendly
atmosphere of the show. I hate to
make it sound like we're a 'Friendly's'

or something."
"When I first started, if I had one
bad night I'd be freaked, but after a
while you learn that you can't ride it
that hard," he explained. "You've
gotta be mellow. I'd be really bummed
if this ended before we perfected it. I
don't think that we have by any stretch
of the imagination, but I still think

that we're putting out a pretty good
product. I mean, I won't presume that
I'll ever do anything as historic as;
what Letterman did with his shov?
but if I can do something that I can be
proud of, then that's enough."
The Jon Stewart Show is on Chan,
nei 2 at 1 a.m. nightly.

Continued from page 3
Inferno" (1974), with Paul Newman
and O.J. Simpson as guests at a pent-
house party who, for special reasons,
cannot descend by elevator.
One of the best examples, and one
of the last, is "Meteor" (1979). It
features an all-star cast and manages
to tone down the campy drama just a
little bit. Quick thinking scientists are
in charge of avoiding calamities, in-
stead of ordinary folks - perhaps it
represents an evolutionary step be-
tween the plethora of '70s disasters
and the more mature disaster for the
'90s, "Outbreak."
Sean Connery plays an expert from
NASA, who is reluctantly called back
from retirement. The NASA head
honcho, Karl Malden, informs him
that a newly discovered comet has
collided with an asteroid. A large
chunk of the asteroid (five miles in
diameter) has ripped through the as-
tronauts on board the Mars expedi-
tion and is headed straight for Earth.
Fortunately, there may be a way of
stopping it. We learn that Mr. Connery
has thought ahead of time-he coor-
dinated the construction of a nuclear
defense system in space to protect the
planet if this were ever to occur. But
it turns out the military has perverted
the original goal by pointing the mis-

siles inward at Russia (no doubt one
of Reagan's influences for his "Star
Wars" project), instead of outward
into space.
And even if he can convince the
military to use his project appropri-
ately, he still will not have the suffi-
cient fire power to destroy the on-
coming asteroid. He will have to
enlist the aid of the evil communist
The traditional disaster melodrama
kicks in during the political bicker-
ing, as smaller chunks of the asteroid
plummet toward the Earth. Charac-
ters are briefly introduced only to
meet their doom within minutes, de-
stroyed by either massive tidal waves
or avalanches. The widespread de-
struction would have been entertain-
ing had these appearances been left
out, but the "human element" adds a
special zest that's unique to disaster
The same can be said for the nar-
rated introduction that runs much like
the opening to "Star Trek," but much
dumber and much more long-winded,
rattling on and on about "how comets
once frightened man." It finally be-
comes comically forbidding as the
music dramatically reaches a cre-
scendo during the camera's zoom in
on the giant asteroid. Everyone im-
mediately knows the type of threat

they're in for.
The truly great moments arrive
through the introduction of character
actor after character actor. Brian Keith
plays the visiting Russian astrophysi-
cist and Natalie Wood plays his trans-
lator. The Oscar winner Martin
Landau plays a paranoid military gen-
eral who grows more and more upset
the longer the Russians stay in his top
secret operation center.
Richard Dysart (of the long run-
ning "L.A. Law") plays the secretary
of defense who has to convince the
president, played by Henry Fonda, to
ward off the asteroid with nukes. (His
portrayal of an overburdened, consci-
entious national leader is almost a
reprisal of his role in "Fail Safe.")
The fun doesn't stop. This disas-
ter is well worth watching, at least
just to see where one of the meteors
scours New York. It's beautifully
faked photography.
"Meteor" is an excellent work of
entertainment. With the success of
"Outbreak," the disaster tradition will
hopefully continue.

Des'ree has arrved,
and she ain't movin'


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Continued from page 4
take a definitive stance on the issue,
ambiguity reigns.
Technologies like Netscape are
becoming more and more available
for students here in Ann Arbor. Any
computing site computer has
Netscape within the Communications
file under Applications. As far as
home computers are concerned, we
may have to wait a while. In dorms,
the story is a bit different; Ethernet,
with the capacity to allow modem

users to-access Netscape, has already
been installed in Bursley, Baits and
Mosher Jordan. If funds become avail-
able, plans are already in the process
to offer Ethernet in more dorms on
campus. In the world of West Quad's
Resident Computer Systems Consult-
ant Eric Thomas, "Pretty soon
(Netscape technology) will be right
in people's rooms, up close and per-
Well, if this trend continues, I
guess we're all going to have to take
less credits if we ever plan on gradu-

By Ella de Leon
Daily Arts Writer
"My friends have always said, 'We
knew that you'd be famous,"' singer /
diva Des'ree said proudly. "They've
always known that I'm the type of
person who is bound to just take off."
And taken off she has. "You Gotta
Be," the first single off her 1994 release
"I Ain'tMovin"' rode up the charts and
had everyone singing along with this
London native.
Not that Des'ree minds. She's been
performing all of her life. "I've always
sung from a young age. My parents
always appreciated music because they
played a lot of music and we had lots of
parties when I was younger and there
was lots of dancing ... So I was sur-
rounded by that. It was quite important
in my life," Des' ree explained.
The music Des'ree listened to as an
adolescent-Bob Marley, George Scott
Harris, Donnie Hathaway - "opened
my mind to another sphere." At eleven,
her family moved to her father's native
West Indies for three years. There,
Des'ree "started listening to calypso
and reggae," the sounds of the islands.
"I would have to say reggae is my
favorite," she offered.
Residing in the West Indies aided
Des'ree in areas other than music. "I
made some good friends there. I liked
the fact that I was living in the island
where my father was born. I was taught
by the same teachers. I was surrounded
by people like myself, who were aspir-
ing and were not the minority," she
"The society wasn't prejudiced, it
wasn't racist, and you felt that you
could do anything. Really, you just had
to work hard and change. You weren't
discriminated against because of the
color of your skin."
As a black female singer, though,
Des'ree encountered a different type of
discrimination as she entered the music
She feels, "I think people just ex-
pect to hear a certain type of music, (for
women singers) to wear scantily clad
clothing, and to gyrate all the time. And
if you're not doing that, then well,
you're not black enough, you're not
soulful enough, you're not R&B, which
I think is quite insulting," she declared.
"I don't think I'm anyone new. I'mjust
doing as I feel and don't feel it's neces-
sary to portray that side of me."

The side of herself Des'ree does
want to project comes out in her songs.
The maturity she gained since her 1992
debut "Mind Adventures" makes itself '
evident on her sophomore effort, with
soulfultracks like "Crazy Maze," "Littld
Child," and "Herald the Day," alt
about the current state of the world
Des'ree confided, "'I Ain't Movin''
really is an album that I wrote ... when'
I was sitting down reflecting, regener-
ating, and rejuvenating myself, and-
thinking, 'Gosh, I've been through a
hell of a lot.' I had just ended quite a
turbulent relationship, so there was a
lot of healing left to do," she revealed.
"All of the songs are about assert-
ing yourself, appreciating yourself,
believig in yourself. I feel those are
very important, and they create a bal-
Right now, Des'ree's focus is on
her work. "My music is the center of
my universe," she said. "I haven't got
much time for much else. I do miss my
friends sometimes, I do miss taking in
culture. I haven't been to the theater in
a long tne, or gone out to a club. For
right now, it's music, music, music!"O
she laughed.
Besides, music is certainly treating
Des'ree well, especially the perfor-
mance part of her job. Des'ree loves
"the freedom (of the live show), being
on stage, and doing as you please, and
being totally free and at one with the
people" irn the audience.
What Oie loves more is to keep her
fans guestng. "My shows are very*
natural, very spontaneous. I neverknow
what I'm going to say," the singer said
A self-professed free spirit, Des'ree
offers her philosophy:"Life is all about
making memories for you old age."
She recalled, "I said to my friends, 'We
can sleep when we're 65. Let's go and
do it now."'
And she already has definite plans
for the future. "I want to take up the
bass. I love the bass. Ihink I'd like to
reacquaint myself with the piano."
Des'ree also wants to collaborate with
StevieWonder,whom she recently sang
with. She alsohopes to work with the
Artist Formerly Known as Prince,
"FKA Prince," she said, emphasizing
his full title. "He's quite a big fan, so
we'll see how things go."
Des'ree has. arrived, and she ain't




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