It’s hard to imagine a time when Jon Stewart wasn’t a household name. The Daily Show has been on Comedy Central for nearly 15 years now, with Stewart set to make his directorial debut with Rosewater later this year. But that wasn’t always the case, as is clearly illustrated from this exchange between Jon Stewart and some New York stock brokers who recognize him from the his MTV gig in 1994, originally reported New York Magazine.
“Hey! Are you that f**king guy? With the f**king show?” bellows broker No. 1. “You’re on LTV, right?”
“I think you mean MTV,” Stewart says dryly. “I’m Jon.”
“You do look like him, you p***k. What’s the show called?”
“The Jon Stewart show.”
This rouses broker No. 2. “Your commercials suck. And if it is your show, which I don’t believe, how do I get into Duff’s pants?”
“You?” Stewart says, “You’d have no problem, you’re so smooth.”
No. 3, wearing a bow tie, pipes up. “So where do you live?”
“In a suite at the Dakota. I told John not to go out that day, but he went.”
This sails right over their drunken heads. The abuse spews for another ten minutes; eventually the Wall Street worthies ask a really offensive question. “Hey,” yells No. 1, “what are you doing with your short-term money?”
It’s bizarre to think of Jon as such a total unknown at the time, though it’s not like he was invisible — obviously New York Magazine liked him enough to devote a full profile to him, and a fascinating one at that. Stewart even shows off his trademark humor by telling the interviewer that they have to shave his neck between takes because he’s so hairy. But even then, it seems what the future held for Jon wasn’t totally lost on him.
“I used to watch MTV in college. You’re with your roommate, watching Duran Duran’s ‘Hungry Like the Wolf,’ and you’re high and you’re eating an egg sandwich, and you’re like, ‘Martha Quinn is cool!’ Somewhere I bet there’s a 19-year-old kid, high, eating an egg sandwich, saying to his roommate, ‘Hey, where’s Martha Quinn? And who’s this hairy guy?'”
One of the other most interesting tidbits from the profile is how Stewart ended up in comedy in the first place, partially out of desperation.
“Hapless attempts at real jobs practically drove Stewart into comedy. He worked as the agar chef in a cancer-research lab, then separated live male and female mosquitoes as part of a New Jersey state project on encephalitis. That job left Stewart looking like a five-foot-seven-inch chigger bite. But show business, at first, seemed nearly as bleak. Stewart performed for kids as part of a puppet show about the disabled. ‘I was a cerebral-palsy puppet, a blind puppet, a deaf puppet, a hyperactive puppet — and a puppet who couldn’t commit to a relationship. How sad.'”
Did you ever catch Jon Stewart on MTV back in the ’90s?
[Image via MTV]