I went to a taping of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart this week. How was it? That’s nice of you to ask, best case scenario of an imagined generic reader. I’ll tell you how it was. It was cold and long and kind of funny and then cold again.
Let’s break those down one at a time.
COLD– I went to the show on Thursday. New York City’s high temperature that day was 33 degrees, but in my infinite wisdom, I decided that I would not need a pair of gloves to go out. The Daily Show films at a studio on the West side of 11th Avenue in between 51st and 52nd streets in Manhattan. That is the non-sun side of the street. Also, as most people know but I tend to forget, the sun goes down earlier now that it’s December. I had one of those shakable pocket hand warmers, but it never reached a temperature much higher than kinda warm during the entire experience. I think it was too cold for the hand warmer. Here’s how cold it was: I couldn’t feel my feet at all. No, wait. Here’s how cold it was: I went to the bathroom at one point and was actually relieved to feel the warm urine streaming through my freezing cold weiner.
LONG– We arrived at 2:35pm for a taping that was supposed to begin at 4:30pm. When you sign up for free tickets you are warned that producers purposely overbook, so it is advised that you get there about an hour early. Well, if one hour is advised, it makes even more sense to get there 2 hours before the show starts, right? Well, kind of. We got in. But 4:30 really meant 5. So we stood on the sidewalk for 2 and a half hours before going into the studio. And it was cold (did I mention that?) So, five o’clock comes and they hand out the tickets. Then it’s time to go in. That entails a level of security which falls somewhere between boarding a flight to Jerusalem and trying to cross over into East Berlin at the height of the Cold War. Empty your pockets of anything metal. Hand over your backpacks and laptops. Pass Through the metal detector. Then, stand in a new line and wait to be seated. This takes another 5 minutes. Eventually the doors open and we’re taken to our seats. Now, it’s about 5:15. And we wait. They play music, loudly. Bon Jovi, Boston, The Eurithmics, etc. All the hits! This goes on for almost an hour. Finally, at about 6:05, there’s finally some action. The warm up comic comes out. That goes on for about ten minutes. It’s awkward and I spend the whole time trying to avoid eye contact so he won’t ask me whether I like breathing or if I wear pants. But he finally introduces Jon Stewart, who comes out and takes questions from the audience. And he kills! Funny answers to relatively intelligent questions. This goes on for another ten minutes before he heads backstage and the actual show starts. The show ended at about 6:55 and we left. The entire experience of watching a live taping of a 22 minute comedy show, from arriving at the studio until leaving, took 4 hours and 20 minutes. Like I said, LONG.
KIND OF FUNNY– The warmup comic was moderately decent, but mainly just annoying. It’s not his entirely his fault. He was trying to riff off responses to stupid questions (do you have a dog? Do you like food?) from a couple hundred people who were suffering from low grade hypothermia. Actually, it is his fault. “Do you like food?” Seriously? Jon Stewart was obviously much better, but it was a slow newsday at the end of the week in December and he had a bit of a cold. If you watched Thursday’s Daily Show you know it wasn’t a GREAT episode, but it was certainly funny enough for me. It was cool to be there. Of course, half way through I realized I was just watching on the monitor instead of actually looking at the stage. I might as well have been watching at home.
COLD AGAIN– Like I said earlier, the studio is on 11th Avenue, between 51st and 52nd streets. The subway is at 8th avenue and 50th Street. I had not magically acquired gloves during my Daily Show experience. The sun had now gone down. The wind had picked up. My body temperature was still a bit low from my pre-show outside standing. All of those factors added up to an incredibly unpleasant walk to the train.
So, should you go see the Daily Show? I say yes, but do it in May. And bring something to occupy yourself while standing there. Perhaps Sports Illustrated.
Today we pick on letter writer Meredith Garner of Simpsonville, Kentucky.
I was bewildered to find that Louisville wasn’t among the top 68 teams in your men’s college basketball preview (Filling the Brackets, Nov. 22). To exclude a team that has consistently been a leader in the Big East and a strong competitor in the NCAA tournament while including teams from the America East and Patriot conferences is outrageous. I guess the Cardinals exposed your mistake when they dominated your 12th-ranked team, Butler, last month 88–73.
Meredith Garner, you are an idiot. Perhaps you were reading the college basketball preview issue while working in the barn or hating a black person or something else that people in the south do. The article is clearly meant to fill out the rest of the NCAA tournament bracket. That means teams from the America East and Patriot leagues MUST be included. Louisville is better than every team in both of those conferences. But that doesn’t matter. They have to be better than other teams in major conferences to make the tournament. And they are not. MEREDITH GARNER HAS DONE MORE TO MAKE ME DISLIKE LOUISVILLE BASKETBALL THAN A THOUSAND 20 SECOND RICK PITINO/ KAREN SYPHERS ITALIAN RESTAURANT FLOOR FUCK SESSIONS EVER COULD. Congratulations, idiot!
Racing to Arizona by Austin Murphy
I am sick of articles about Cam Newton. This is like 3 weeks in a row already. We get it. He’s good. His dad is crooked. It’s a bit of a mixed bag. And while we’re at it, why can’t we learn more about the team at Oregon than that they play fast? There must be something more to it.
A Long, Painful Farewell by Michael Rosenberg
I am more sick of Brett Favre than I am of Cam Newton. But so are you. In fact, I would be willing to bet that the only people who care about Brett Favre at this point are his family and every pro football journalist in America. Unfortunately, those people have a platform. You know what’s more important than whether or not Brett Favre starts for the 4-7 Vikings against the Giants this week? The health of 20 other quarterbacks in the NFL. Why don’t we interview Matt Cassel’s mom about her son’s apendectomy?
The Nutmeg Dynasty by Jack McCallum
This article includes both “douche” and “a-hole.” Kudos to Jack McCallum for that. And Geno Auriemma’s daughter is right about Bryant Gumbel. What a douche! He is also a cock. The streak by the UCONN women is every bit impressive as the streak by UCLA 35 years ago. I’m glad SI profiled this team.
Every Man Has His Price by Ben Reiter
I had forgotten that I read this article until just now, when I turned the page and saw it again. I guess that pretty much sums up my impressions of it.
The Mystery of Erica Blasberg by Alan Shipnuck
Alan Shipnuck pulls off a very impressive trick here. He details the life and tragic death of Erica Blasberg without getting bogged down in Schmaltz and easy emotion. That allows him to detail the story without casting blame for it’s end. Very impressive
Point After by Phil Taylor
God, I fucking hated this. What an idiotic point of view Phil Taylor has. Derek Anderson isn’t allowed to chuckle on the sidelines during a loss, because fans take losses harder than the athletes. That’s not Anderson’s fault. It’s the fans fault and it’s Phil Taylor’s fault for endorsing that kind of idiocy.