My night with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert: I laughed, I gasped, I had deep thoughts.

This photo is no good. Seriously, click on it to go to the MFF flickr page

When I went to my first concert ever at the Worcester Centrum (Duran Duran, if you must know), it never occurred to me that I might be disappointed by the performance. I was 14, and I had not yet been disappointed by someone I admired. (That’s total hooey, of course, but continue thinking I’m that much of a pollyanna, if it suits you.) Likewise, when I made up my mind to inform my husband that he was taking me to see Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert at the Wellmont, it was with confident swagger that I signed the check to contribute to the Montclair Film Festival fundraiser. And then it dawned on me. What if it sucked?

I mean, what if it was a total bore. Or – similar to going out for Italian and thinking “I could have made this at home” – what if I would have been happier watching a DVR’d episode of The Colbert Report from the comfort of my couch? (Yes, DVR’d. That show’s on late!)

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And they’re off. Probably to go look at LPs with Elvis and Bruce.

Thank goodness I was disappointed in my disappointment. The two-hour conversation between these two buddies, followed by a substantial Q&A, made me feel like I could walk up to either one of them and say, “Ohmigawd! I was also that dork in the corner at a party with cooler-than-I-am people!”  Or, “Yes! I remember when I showed Elvis Costello my 80’s LPs in my living room, too!” (Pick one.)  Seriously, I hate gushing about people who get gushed on a lot. But it was funny and interesting, and I’d go a second night if they had added one on. And I didn’t even do that for Duran Duran in 1984.

Out of many great moments, I had two favorites. The first will be obvious to anyone who knows my love for all things Fantastical. It involved The Fellowship of the Ring. Among the many instances that Colbert’s love for Tolkien arose, the best anecdote came out of a jab Stewart made at Al Sharpton.

Stewart shared that Sharpton was a no show; he just blew off The Daily Show. Colbert relayed that he was on the way out the door of the studio, tickets in hand for a preview of The Fellowship of the Ring, when he heard “Stephen Colbert report to the studio.” over the PA. I, along with some other Fantasy-lovers, gasped with a sharp intake of breath. Which prompted Jon Stewart to look out at the audience and ask, “Did I seriously just hear people gasp?” YES! I cried, which made Don, the guy lucky enough to sit on my right side, jump just a little. It didn’t surprise my husband, seated to my left, but I think that’s when he started pretending not to know me. Colbert returned to the studio and filled in for Al Sharpton as Al Sharpton, which resulted in a very funny interview.

Anyway, that was a fun moment.

Another moment was hearing Jon Stewart’s clear regret over upsetting Salman Rushdie by having Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) perform at the Rally to Restore Sanity. While I find it hard to believe that Jon Stewart knew nothing of the interview Stevens gave implying he supported the 1989 fatwa against Rushdie, it truly seemed like he had reconsidered his decision to include Stevens, and he uttered a line some version of which I believe he’s said before: “Death for free speech is a deal-breaker.”

What was especially cool about this exchange is that it was clear that Colbert and Stewart had different views on how flagrantly horrific it was to have Cat Stevens play. I’m more in the Colbert line of thinking – belief that people change (which Cat/Yusuf seems to have done) and that freedom of speech has very little black and white. I mean, what’s worse: having someone sing because he gave support for a crime (and I do believe killing someone over words {or anything} is a crime, duh) that hasn’t happened, or having someone perform at the Grammys after he has been convicted of actually committing a violent crime?  But you see what I mean? It got me thinking about free speech. Worth every penny, my friends.

I wrote about the evening for Baristanet here.

And for a practical transcript of some of the best anecdotes, see Third Beat Magazine’s rundown. Great stuff.

The Huffington Post‘s Comedy section also covered the night here, but I can’t tell if he was at the show or just relaying other people’s takes on it. Either way, editor Ross Luippold was kind enough to put my name in next to the Baristanet link. So, that makes me famous, right?

I followed directions and put my phone away when Evie Colbert told me to, so my photos are from the Q&A and blurry. I didn’t want to make a scene after the “gasping incident.” Check out the excellent photos of the event on the MFF flickr page or Facebook page.

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About That Unique* Weblog

Adjusting to the car culture, dealing with leaving a career I love, and spouting off along the way.
This entry was posted in Excellent Local People, People are Good, Review, Things I love and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to My night with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert: I laughed, I gasped, I had deep thoughts.

  1. Sounds fascinating! I’m impressed with your level of deep thoughts – Salman Rushdie and Yusuf Islam? Impressive. Chris Brown? Gross. Colbert and Stewart? The best. Well done!

  2. johar1 says:

    Again. So jelous! And now I can say I know a Kristin Wald who was mentioned with Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart in the Huff Post 🙂 I enjoyed this.

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