And finally, it came to pass. October 7th arrived, we took the afternoon off, we headed down to Toronto in the rain, and we saw… Jon Stewart!
The show was awesome. He did some political stuff, which is expected, obviously. It not being tv, he could cover some material he wouldn’t be able to do on the show (and there were swears, of course). And he had schtick on material that wasn’t related to politics – religion, computers, pets, race. I laughed heartily throughout, but it wasn’t til he came out for the encore and did the pets material that the mascara headed south. As he set each joke up I knew what he was going to say. His wife is a vet tech, and brings home “utility grade” pets (thank you, Andrew, that was exactly the phrase I was searching for). His dog got into the garbage one night and thus began the cycle of consumption and regurgitation… yeah. So funny, so true… *shudder* Some stuff was very smart and thoughtful and was as much intended to make you think as laugh, which was cool. One interesting comment involved black people using fear (of them, which is a branch of “fear of the unknown”) to make a bigger, broader statement. Like the Million Man March they held in Washington D.C. Imagine the impact that would have had if they hadn’t announced it first. Yeah.
All in all, an excellent evening of company, food, and funny. Sherry and I had an interesting discussion this morning, too, of person vs. product, art vs. commodity. This is because of this:
I took four pictures; this was the only one that was even remotely decipherable. I didn’t use the flash (except for one, by accident), but I did want a picture. I made a joke about “big game hunting”, but it stems from an almost child-like reaction to celebrity on my part, based on the fact that I haven’t seen many of them. My first concert was a couple years ago. Melle and famous people simply do not inhabit the same spheres, so my reaction to them is one of semi-incredulity and glee. So I wanted a picture. I wanted to record my sharing of a sphere with someone I think is completely awesome. (Sherry and Cathy thought he was hotter in person. I didn’t think so, but I thought it was cool like it felt like we were all just hanging out in his living room.)
Sherry’s perspective is that the photography (particularly the people who did use flashes), was that they were not only rude, which I agree with – sorry, Jon – but commodifying him. Thing is, that’s true to a point. Sherry sees him as an artist there doing art. And she has a point. He is creating jokes, crafting humour, and we are consuming and appreciating it. And you don’t go to an art gallery and take pictures of the paintings. However, as I see it, yes, he is a man, and it is hard work being a comic genius, but he is a product. He is a brand. Jon Stewart is why the two shows sold out in less than 24 hours. Jon Stewart is why The Daily Show is so popular and wins awards and is where the young and the liberal get their news. Jon Stewart is why America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction spent 18 weeks at number one on the New York Times Bestseller list. The product is a quality one, and we are willing to shell out the bucks because it’s damn near guaranteed to make us laugh. We didn’t go last night to see some funny, 40-ish, Jewish dude in Dockers wander around a stage. We bought Jon Stewart. We bought the funny. We bought a specific kind of funny.
One conversation we had several times in the days leading up to the show was about what material he would do. Would it be mostly political, a la The Daily Show? Would he avoid political? Would he make fun of Canada and/or Canada politics? What else would be talk about? (Note: he talked about all those things, and more!) Basically: what was it we bought for that evening?
I guess that could be kind of a cynical way of looking at, but I don’t think so. I think it’s just reality. Plus, bottom line, I’m paying $83 for a ticket, I’d better be getting something good for it. 🙂
Oh, and if any of my friends require further proof that I’m insane, I looked at the tickets on the subway and noted the date Lena purchased them: July 11th. Yes, kids, my boyfriend dumps me, and six days later I buy him a ticket to see Jon Stewart for his birthday. Whee! Fortunately, I am very smart, and I had a delightful time with him there. (And Sherry and Cathy, too, of course, even if people can’t quite figure out what his relationship status with me is. Heh.) 🙂