There was no group that wasn’t at Jon Stewart’s mercy during his Friday night Colonials Weekend performances – Jews and Catholics, Republicans and Democrats, Boy Scouts and Scientologists, GW students and, of course, George W. Bush’s administration. Stewart, an equal-opportunity satirist, mocked them all.
But first on his agenda? The decorations at the Smith Center.
“Thanks for going all out with these decorations,” said Stewart soon after going onto the sparsely decorated stage, adorned only with a blue curtain and a GW banner.
It didn’t take long before Stewart referred to last year’s infamous Colonials Weekend (or as he called it, “homecoming weekend”), during which he accused the hosts of CNN’s “Crossfire” of “hurting America,” and called host Tucker Carlson a “dick.”
“I realized afterwards that all I had to do to get rid of something that I didn’t like was say so,” Stewart said. “So. I’m about to abolish your chemistry department.”
In a news conference with student media after the show, Stewart elaborated on his motivations behind last year’s “Crossfire” appearance.
“I always feel like you should go to the source of something if you believe it should change,” Stewart said. “I saw (‘Crossfire’) as the Mississippi (River) of all of the talking points shows – so I thought I would go and tell them it sucked.”
Next on Stewart’s list of targets were politicians – namely, President Bush and the Republican Party. Regarding Republican control of the House and Senate, he quipped, “The Rapture will soon be upon us . only then will the Dems regain control of the House and Senate. Nah, we’ll f*** that up too. Somehow, Nader will get it.”
Despite his disdain for Republicans, make no mistake – Stewart is not the type that will put Bush down for his intelligence.
“He’s not stupid,” Stewart said. “Stupid is ‘oh my God, I just ate a bar of soap.'”
Gradually, Stewart moved away from the political banter he’s known best for, and onto some more college-level topics: sex, drugs and video games.
Talking about his history of drug use, Stewart referenced cigarettes, marijuana and cocaine, but pointed out that he never used heroin, “because people can actually die from that.”
“I like to f*** with death from behind the corner,” he said, “But I won’t run up behind him, give him a wedgie and punch him in the face.”
He recalled the Reagan-era “Just Say No” campaign, and the “this is your brain on drugs” ad campaign, as well.
“Holy s***,” he recalled, “I’m in myliving room and my brain’s on channel four. S***, he just broke it into a pan . that’s not gonna’ help me.”
Stewart mocked his Jewish heritage, though he said he was not a practicing Jew. Born Jon Stuart Leibowitz, he took his middle name and changed the spelling once he entered the showbiz industry.
He compared and contrasted the oppression of Jews and blacks, saying, “Blacks created Jazz. Jews complain too, we just never thought of putting it to music.”
Stewart made it a point to interact with the students in the audience, in particular a group on the floor section at the 7 p.m. show who had made signs to show they were from his hometown. When the students yelled to him that they went to his high school, Stewart looked surprised.
“Lawrence High School? Thanks for shouting that at me,” he said, sarcastically. “Wait, I could be your dad,” he said after the students told him what year they graduated. “You were born in ’86? That’s the year I gave up cocaine.”
Stewart also found humor in the sign-language interpreters poised at the edge of the stage, asking one what the sign was for “blow job.”
At the end of each performance, he gave audience members the chance to come up and ask him questions, which ranged from inane to serious. Senior Omkar Kulkarni asked Stewart his opinion of Harriet Miers’ Supreme Court nomination.
“I think Harriet Miers is an excellent choice,” Stewart said. “I would want to make sure that someone being appointed to the highest court in the land had experience as a lottery commissioner. She brought sanity to the Crazy Eights scratch-off.”
Another student asked Stewart if he thought of running for office.
“The reason I don’t plan on running for office is that I have pictures of me that I keep in a shoebox because they would keep me from working at the post office.”
When one student asked a particularly long-winded question, Stewart pretended to fall to the ground, asleep. When the question continued, he started to kick his feet in frustration and roll around the stage, eventually rolling off the back and behind the curtain, as worried Smith Center workers looked on.
After the show, Stewart revealed that he was planning on releasing a second book in 2007, based on the bestselling success of “America.”
He said he has never heard criticism from former guests of his show.
“I’m pretty isolated,” he said, “I don’t interact with other members of the media. I just go home and make Amy’s Pizza Pockets.”
After making fun of pretty much everyone else, Stewart reserved his last criticism for GW.
“Have a great homecoming weekend, and have fun watching the game,” he said. “Oh, wait.”