Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Jon Stewart and the Night Visitor (By Joyce Wadler, the New York Times)


Note to the illustration: this illustration came with the article in the New York Times. By Campbell Robertson


Note to the caption:Jon Stewart (ComedyCentral.com)
the source of the image


February 28, 2006
The Underfinanced Production Company


JON STEWART'S huge, downtown loft, 3 a.m. Stewart, in sweats, is sitting at his laptop. We sense that he is anxious, for he lifts his laptop and slams it repeatedly into his face, muttering something that sounds like "Stupid, Stupid, Stupid." Than he takes a long swig from a bottle of Stoli.

JON
Oh, man, I am so dead! Five days to Oscar, the world is waiting to see how fearless and hip I can be, and I got nothing!!! What I wouldn't give to get out of this gig. I'd pay somebody to write it for me. No, wait – I got 11 writers — 13, if you count Bruce Vilanch, and I still got nothing. And everybody expects this to be the edgiest Academy Award ever.

Jon falls to the floor on his knees.

JON
God, I know maybe I haven't been Jewey enough. The God Machine's really tasteless. First thing in the morning, I'm gonna get rid of it. But God, Allah, Buddha, whatever you are: hear me in my hour of need!

SUDDENLY, THE LIGHTS FLASH AND A THUNDEROUS VOICE IS HEARD.

THUNDEROUS VOICE
Arise, most favored son of show biz! For I am come to help you out of this pickle. When the Academy Awards are upon us, thou shalt kill!

JON
(Raising his head slightly)
God? Is it really you?

CUT TO LIFE-SIZE OSCAR, golden, confident and smooth, sitting on the living room couch, with a fat Cohiba in his hand.

OSCAR
In show biz, terms, absolutely. For as it is written, Verily, There is No Other, Baby. Mind if I smoke?

JON
Well, I've been watching my voice and y'know, the smoke...

Oscar shoots him a contemptuous look.

JON
Sure, sure go ahead.

OSCAR
Okay, so whadaya got so far? What's your opening?

JON
I don't know. I'm stuck. Everything begins with me sitting at my desk – and I don't think that'll play.

OSCAR
Okay, how about this: A darkened stage that first looks deserted, then you realize there's a couple downstage necking, then the lights come up and the audience realizes it's you— and you're necking with Jake Gyllenhaal. You can't get edgier than that, right?

JON
Yeah – that's not bad.

OSCAR
Then Jake kinda melts away and you step up to the audience and say, "And I'm not even gay. But tonight everybody's gay in Hollywood." I forgot to mention, you're wearing a holster and six shooter. And you shoot at the ceiling and these posters come down. LIBERACE! ROCK HUDSON! MONTOGOMERY CLIFT! MICKEY MOUSE! Big gasp from the audience. You say, "What's the matter, you didn't believe me?" Mickey comes out, dressed like the cowboy from the Village People. He says, high pitched little mouse voice, "I leave you alone one minute, you're messing around with that slut Jake???"

JON
Aren't they kind of litigious? Didn't Disney threaten to sue one year when Rob Lowe danced around with Sleeping Beauty?

OSCAR
They'll love it. Then you go into a medley about the top movies, where everybody prances around and you sing, "Oscar, Oscar, Oscar, Oscar!"

JON
That was Billy Crystal's.

OSCAR
Nobody will remember.

JON
They'll think I'm stealing.

OSCAR
(pinching Jon's cheek)
Such a worrier! You know, you look taller on TV. I were you, I'd get some lifts before I'd walk out on that stage. Next, you gotta acknowledge the big shots in the audience. Like so: "There's George Clooney — managed to get himself nominated in three categories. And isn't he going to feel pathetic if he can't take home even one? So what do you all say, we stand up and give him a round of mercy applause right now? And Heath Ledger: Does anyone find it a little too convenient that he has a newborn like a day after he shoots a gay cowboy movie?" Then you do that little "Hmmmmm" thing you do. "Hmmmm. A little defensive, Heath?"

JON
That's pretty nasty. I'm a father myself, and...

OSCAR
What can I tell ya, Jon? Ya either got for it or you don't. Now what am I forgetting? Some one-liners for Best Picture: "Munich. You know what annoys me about this movie? It's supposed to be about the Olympics, but never once do we hear how any of the Israeli teams did. It was their last event. Did they medal or didn't they? Give us a ranking, would ya?"

JON
I don't know, Oscar. Eleven athletes were murdered.

OSCAR
It's called edgy, baby. Edg-y. One final thing, very important. I'd do a running gag on some of the stranger names. "Joaquin, Heath, Charlize — what kinds of names are these? Were your parents on crack when you were conceived? Though nothing is as bad as Uma. She here tonight? Let's everybody give her a shout: OOOOO-MAAAH. OOOOOO-MAAAH."

JON
When Letterman did that, he lost everybody. The audience turned on him. He never got them back.

OSCAR
It's all in the delivery, babe.

JON
I don't think —

THE LIGHTS FLASH AGAIN.

OSCAR
(Ominously, thunderously)
Jon Stewart, are you questioning the word of THE ALMIGHTY OSCAR?

JON
Well, I —

OSCAR
Do you want to crash and burn in front of 100 million people? And end up begging Steven Colbert for bits on his show? (Mimicking) "I'll take anything, Steve, anything! You remember your Jon Boy. I gave you your start. Maybe a voice over at the end of the show, announcing the next day's guests? I wouldn't have to be on camera."

JON
(Whimpering)
No, no.

OSCAR
Okay. Let's do this together. OOOOH-MAAAA! Ohhhh-PRAHHH! OOOOOH - MAAA! Ohhhhh-Prahhh!

JON
OOOH-MAH! Ohhhh-PRAHHHH! OOOO-MAAA!

OSCAR
I'll just let myself out.

CUT TO JON's HALLWAY, where Oscar pulls off his mask to reveal BILLY CRYSTAL.

CRYSTAL
(Laughing as he rings for the elevator)
Loser.

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