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Monday, December 12, 2005

An Evening With Jon Stewart... And Various Other Stars

Gotta lotta time for Jon Stewart. Being an "early adopter" when it comes to many matters pop culture (or, if we're being less generous, "a geek"), the man has been on my Respect Radar for quite some time - ever since he hosted the little-remembered-by-anyone-other-than-McReadie "Where's Elvis This Week?" back in 1996.

Since I first made the realisation that the man was really rather funny, he's gone from strength to strength - further evidence that the McReadie Seal of Approval can do wonders for your career. He's now best known for being at the helm of the almighty Daily Show - a very funny half hour of fake news which has won more awards than I've won petty arguments over grammar. And, believe me, I've won lots. My record is nigh on unbeaten.

So it was with some excitement - and, as ever with me - near crippling-anxiety that I wandered along to the Prince Edward theatre for last night's An Evening With Jon Stewart.

(Check the fine print: also featuring Daily Show writers Ben Karlin and David Javerbaum! Bless them, do you think they're used to feeling a tad overshadowed by the might of the Stewart? For the record, both of them were very funny as well).

The show was, needless to say, hilarious.

And I saw more famous people yesterday night than I had seen over the twenty six years of my life up to that point. I get socially anxious anyway in theatres, but it's even more difficult to feel relaxed when, sitting in the row behind you, are David Baddiel, Angus Deayton, and - directly behind you - Salman Rushdie.

And, sitting just a little way away from you in the row behind, Alan Rickman. This is excluding the people I saw on the way to my seat - Armando Iannucci, though he and I are old friends as I saw him once on Oxford Street - and the people I could have seen if I'd tilted my head in the direction advised by those with me ("Look behind ya - Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant! And, hang on, I think that's Phill Jupitus!") Fortunately, the minute someone tells me there's a famous person behind me, my head becomes fixed so as to avoid any eye contact with said famous peep, and any potential embarrassment that could result thereafter. I am, as you all already know, far from cool.

But something strange happened as the show progressed: I became used to the famous people all around me. The fact that Angus Deayton was carrying a rucksack was, for some reason, strangely comforting to me. "Hey, he carries a rucksack. I carry a rucksack!"

This desensitisation was important because, on the crush that ensued on the way out of the theatre, I found myself allowing a gentleman to walk ahead of me. A gentleman who looked a lot like Richard Dreyfuss. Mainly cos it was Richard Dreyfuss. I managed to stop myself from babbling on about the delights of "Mr Holland's Opus" and "What About Bob?" I also managed not to get into a discussion of his backing out of The Producers at the last minute (in a weird way, I respected his chickening out, and wished I was famous and able to back out of things at the last minute due to the jitters). And I didn't say: "Wow, you're short!" Seriously, I could look the man in the eyes without need to crick my neck. And: "Wow, you look old, Dreyfuss". Cos he does. But perhaps that's down to what I feel might be a lifetime of anxiety. And drug abuse.

No, I said none of these things because now I walk comfortably amongst stars. Could even look straight at Ricky Gervais as we stood waiting for one of our group to emerge from the theatre.

Yeah, hanging with Salman Rushdie, Angus Deayton, Richard Dreyfuss... Now all part of a typical Sunday night for McReadie.


  • At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Loved reading your post of the Jon Stewart show! So many celebrities in one spot must have been thrilling!

    All of us Alan Rickman fans are dying to know:
    1) How did he look?
    2) What was he wearing?
    3) And who was he with?

    Do you mind sharing?


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