A Fan Among Players
To his job as host of the Oscars this Sunday, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart brings wit, showbiz savvy and an obsession with sports
SI: You played soccer at William and Mary (1981-83) and scored 10 goals in your career. Is college soccer a natural springboard to the Oscars?
Stewart: Yes, because back in the day we played with wireless mics on.
SI: Are sports as mockable as politics?
Stewart: No, sports are just too important.
SI: If I say Johnny Weir, you say....
Stewart: I think he is actually more masculine than most figure skaters. He brings a heterosexual vibe to that sport. I don't think he's gay enough. He's got to go further!
SI: The U.S. finished with 25 medals at the Turin Games, second to Germany's 29. Your thoughts?
Stewart: It's as though the Germans are some sort of perfect beings. Almost genetically superior in some respects. But I'm sure they won't do anything with that knowledge.
SI: Why didn't the Winter Olympics get better TV ratings?
Stewart: How many ways can you watch someone go downhill? But I'm looking forward to the next Olympics. I'm responsible for much of the choreography of the opening ceremonies in Beijing. I'm working on that now.
SI: Is there a Daily Show office pool for March Madness?
Stewart: Gaming, sir, is illegal, and in no way would we have a pool. We are too busy at the orphanage helping children. If we were to have one, I would be crushed every year because I always take the 5-12 game. I get 12 happy and end up with Cleveland State in the Final Four.
SI: If Barry Bonds breaks Hank Aaron's record, what would The Daily Show present him with?
Stewart: I'd present him with Hank Aaron's integrity, class and humility. I'm not sure I can bronze that, but I'd love for him to have it.
SI: What's one thing in sports you wish you could do?
Stewart: Dismantle the NCAA. They're ruining college sports. Recruits from the inner city are not allowed to have a hamburger? These kids are making millions for this organization and they have fewer privileges than kids coming out of juve.
SI: Will your kids play sports?
Stewart: I'll probably force and berate them into playing all kinds of sports. My 21-month-old son is already on two travel teams.
SI: Is it better to be a NASCAR dad or a soccer mom?
Stewart: If I say soccer mom, I'm in Transamerica territory. I would say a NASCAR dad because you get to drink a lot more. Soccer moms only pick people up.
SI: President Bush fancies himself a runner and a biker. How fit do you want the President to be?
Stewart: He is looking better as his presidency goes on, and that worries me. I hate to see a guy training so hard because it makes you think: Does he know something we don't? Is he preparing for some sort of every-man-for-himself scenario?
SI: As a fan of the Knicks, when do you expect to attend the next championship parade?
Stewart: I'm not a believer in Eastern religions, but when Walt Clyde Frazier is reincarnated as a point guard that can run the team. So that could be a while.
SI: Chris Rock once told SI, "Hockey is like heroin. Only drug addicts do heroin.... Only hockey fans watch hockey." Is soccer like heroin?
Stewart: To me it's more like Nutella. The rest of the world loves it and puts it on everything, but here in America we're like, "I don't know, man, it tastes like almonds."
SI: You told Soccer America that you follow Group C of the Mexican League. Is that true?
Stewart: You know what I like about it? The parity.
SI: You saw Lindsey Jacobellis's Olympic fall. What if you have a perfect Oscar telecast and then bomb at the end?
Stewart: Unless I pull down my pants and do a helicopter, I can't imagine what I could do. Once you're in hour number four, my job is to go, "Hey, everybody, get home safe."
SI: Can we convince you to drop a Carlos Valderrama or Ronaldo reference at the Oscars?
Stewart: Believe me, every time a joke scores, you will hear GOOOOOOAL!
Issue date: March 6, 2006