Category Archives: Jon Stewart

Autumn of 1988

After eight and a half years, I left my job at FantaCo in mid-November 1988. Leafing through some old journals, I was surprised – actually shocked – to see that I had actually planned to leave a full year earlier. I made a point making sure that people were trained to take on the the tasks I did, with the mail order especially, before I left so that owner Tom Skulan wouldn’t be left in a lurch.

It was odd. I was making more money at the end than i had ever made up to that time, plus paid health insurance, something Tom was providing only to himself and me, though others could get coverage on their own dime; I don’t recall anyone taking advantage of that offer, since they were all pretty young and weren’t making that much.

The problem is that I was making money from all the horror stuff we were selling, and more importantly producing. My old buddy Steve Bissette is currently delineating the Gore Shriek history (and selling some artwork of the period. In some way, it was almost passing the torch to Steve. I was involved in the Chronicles and the like, while Steve was present for the very first Gore Shriek in June of 1988. It was the comic books, not the horror stuff, that drew me to FantaCo, but I balanced the checkbook, and it was the horror stuff that kept FantaCo going month after month.

So I quit. I wasn’t angry, just burned out. Tom felt angry and betrayed, I suspected, and this was confirmed by a couple people. I felt badly that he felt that way but I couldn’t see any real options.

As it turned out, on Thanksgiving Day, I got a call from a guy I knew telling me that our mutual good friend Nancy Sharlet was dying of cancer. I met her when we both worked together at the Schenectady Arts Council in 1978. I started on March 1. March 7 was my birthday; not knowing me well, but wanting to acknowledge the day, she got me this little S.W.A.T. truck, which I have to this day.

The GREAT thing about being unemployed was that I could spend lots of time in the hospital with her, nearly every day for about a month, before her mother came up from Tennessee to tend to her in her last days. She died on January 1, 1989.

After the funeral, I never saw her kids Jocelyn and Jeffrey again. I assume they went to live with their father, Robert, who I did not know well.

I was watching Jon Stewart a couple weeks ago. His guest was a guy named Jeff Sharlet, who is the author of The Family: Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. Could this be the Jeffrey Sharlet, the six-year-old I played SORRY with when he was six? I found this 2004 interview, and the answer is clearly yes.

“I grew up in what seemed like a mostly Catholic town in upstate New York.” Check. “My father is Jewish.” Check. “My mother, with whom I lived, had been raised in a very unusual Pentecostal home.” Jeffrey and his sister Jocelyn lived with their mother; her religion was a bit unclear. “Her mother, a very poor Tennessean”. Check. “She [his grandmother] raised my mother to be interested in everything.” Double check. “Going to other people’s churches and temples, gathering stories — in my family, that was just how you did religion.” Check, and the reason I was unclear of Nancy’s religion.”

I wrote to Jeff; he didn’t write back; that’s OK. I do wonder how his sister is, though.

QUESTIONS: Who will/should win the Emmys?

I’m asking YOU because I haven’t a clue. This is possibly the season I’ve watched the least TV, possibly ever. Once you get out of the realm of news programs and JEOPARDY!, there ain’t much.

Outstanding Comedy Series
30 Rock • NBC
Curb Your Enthusiasm • HBO
Entourage • HBO
The Office • NBC
Two And A Half Men • CBS
The only one I watch is The Office, so that’s my rooting interest, but I suspect it’ll be 30 Rock.

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series
30 Rock • Rosemary’s Baby • NBC • Michael Engler, Director
Entourage • No Cannes Do • HBO • Dan Attias, Director
Flight Of The Conchords • Sally Returns • HBO • James Bobin, Director
Pushing Daisies • Pie-Lette • ABC • Barry Sonnenfeld, Director
The Office • Money (Parts 1 & 2) • NBC • Paul Lieberstein, Director
The Office • Goodbye, Toby • NBC • Paul Feig, Director
If it weren’t competing with another Office episode, I’d pick Toby, but as it is, I’m betting 30 Rock.

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series
Boston Legal • The Mighty Rogues • ABC • Arlene Sanford, Director
Breaking Bad • Pilot • AMC • Vince Gilligan, Director
Damages • Pilot • FX Networks • Allen Coulter, Director
House • House’s Head • FOX • Greg Yaitanes, Director
Mad Men • Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (Pilot) • AMC • Alan Taylor, Director
Sometimes, I see Boston Legal, more out of habit, but it’s undeserving. The Golden Globes was giving a lot of Mad Men love, so I’ll say that.

Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special
Bernard And Doris • HBO • Bob Balaban, Director
Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale • HBO • Ricky Gervais, Director; Stephen Merchant, Director
John Adams • HBO • Tom Hooper, Director
Recount • HBO • Jay Roach, Director
The Company • TNT • Mikael Salomon, Director
Saw none of these. I expect most of the competition for the evening will be between Adams and Recount. I’ll pick Adams because the history’s more remote.

Outstanding Directing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Program
80th Annual Academy Awards • ABC • Louis J. Horvitz, Director
Company (Great Performances) • PBS • Lonny Price, Director
Saturday Night Live • Host: Tina Fey • NBC • Don Roy King, Director
The Colbert Report • #4051 • Comedy Central • Jim Hoskinson, Director
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart • #13050 • Chuck O’Neil, Director
The continued relevance of Stewart, who I see mostly in clips, should win out. The Oscars? Really? I saw the the Academy Awards, and Oscar, you’re no Jon Stewart.

Outstanding Drama Series
Boston Legal • ABC
Damages • FX Networks
Dexter • Showtime
House • FOX
Lost • ABC
Mad Men • AMC
Again, the one I’ve seen the most is the one I must eliminate, BL. Still thinking Mad Men.

Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality – Competition Program
American Idol • FOX • Ryan Seacrest, Host
Dancing With The Stars • ABC • Tom Bergeron, Host
Deal Or No Deal • NBC • Howie Mandel, Host
Project Runway • Bravo • Heidi Klum, Host
Survivor • CBS • Jeff Probst, Host
A category where I’ve seen all five nominees, although not necessarily in the current year. I think Idol and Survivor have peaked, and Mandel just doesn’t have enough of a program. Maybe Klum, but I’m guessing Bergeron.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
30 Rock • NBC • Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy
Monk • USA • Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk
Pushing Daisies • ABC • Lee Pace as Ned
The Office • NBC • Steve Carell as Michael Scott
Two And A Half Men • CBS • Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper
Will it be Baldwin again? Probably. Not Shalhoub, not Sheen. Lee Pace from Pushing Daisies, A SHOW I ACTUALLY WATCHED, is the “honored to be nominated” choice. I’m rooting for Carrell, as I did last year.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Boston Legal • ABC • James Spader as Alan Shore
Breaking Bad • AMC • Bryan Cranston as Walt White
Dexter • Showtime • Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan
House • FOX • Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House
In Treatment • HBO • Gabriel Byrne as Paul
Mad Men • AMC • Jon Hamm as Don Draper
Not Spader! Don’t think it’ll be Laurie, but I’d bet on Hamm.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Bernard And Doris • HBO • Ralph Fiennes as Bernard Lafferty
Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale • HBO • Ricky Gervais as Andy Millman
John Adams • HBO • Paul Giamatti as John Adams
Recount • HBO • Kevin Spacey as Ron Klain
Recount • HBO • Tom Wilkinson as James Baker
Emmy loves honoring “film” actors, so it won’t be Gervais. Could be Fiennes, but I’m guessing the Recount vote splits and Giamatti gets it.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
30 Rock • NBC • Tina Fey as Liz Lemon
Samantha Who? • ABC • Christina Applegate as Samantha Newly
The New Adventures Of Old Christine • CBS • Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine Campbell
Ugly Betty • ABC • America Ferrera as Betty Suarez
Weeds • Showtime • Mary-Louise Parker as Nancy Botwin
I’ve never seen Weeds. I tried Samantha Who?, but it wore thin. For no logical reason, I’m rooting for Sarah Palin, I mean Tina Fey, but she’s more likely to win elsewhere, giving it to Louis-Dreyfus or Ferrera.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Brothers & Sisters • ABC • Sally Field as Nora Holden-Walker
Damages • FX Networks • Glenn Close as Patty Hewes
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit • NBC • Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson
Saving Grace • TNT • Holly Hunter as Grace Hanadarko
The Closer • TNT • Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson
Please not Hargitay. Sedgwick has a schtick that I like to watch, but still schtick. I’m actually rooting for Field, but I’m guessing Close.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie
A Raisin In The Sun • ABC • Phylicia Rashad as Lena Younger
An American Crime • Showtime • Catherine Keener as Gertrude Baniszewski
Bernard And Doris • HBO • Susan Sarandon as Doris Duke
Cranford (MASTERPIECE) • PBS • Dame Judi Dench as Miss Matty Jenkyns
John Adams • HBO • Laura Linney as Abigail Adams
Heavy duty category full of movie actresses, two of whom would be OOMA if I did such a thing. The only performance I saw was Rashad who was quite good. I’m thinking Linney.

Outstanding Made For Television Movie
A Raisin In The Sun • ABC
Bernard And Doris • HBO
Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale • HBO
Recount • HBO
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter • Lifetime
I think this is where Recount will win.

Outstanding Miniseries
John Adams • HBO
The Andromeda Strain • A&E
Tin Man • Sci Fi Channel
The state of the miniseries is such that Tin Man, which received mixed reviews, is here. If there is a God in heaven, Andromeda, which I had the misfortune of seeing, will lose. Fortunately, John Adams will come through.

Outstanding Individual Performance In A Variety Or Music Program
80th Annual Academy Awards • ABC • Jon Stewart, Host
Late Show With David Letterman • CBS • David Letterman, Host
Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project • HBO • Don Rickles, Performer
Saturday Night Live • NBC • Tina Fey,
The Colbert Report • Comedy Central • Stephen Colbert, Host
Will Fey win twice? Or Stewart? Maybe and not here, respectively. I’m guessing this is where Fey wins.

Outstanding Reality-competition Program
American Idol • FOX
Dancing With The Stars • ABC
Project Runway • Bravo
The Amazing Race • CBS
Top Chef • Bravo
Idol probably will win, but I’m pulling for Dancing because it would please my wife.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Entourage • HBO • Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold
Entourage • HBO • Kevin Dillon as Johnny Drama
How I Met Your Mother • CBS • Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson
The Office • NBC • Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute
Two And A Half Men • CBS • Jon Cryer as Alan Harper
Cryer’s role is not supporting, Entourage pair cancel each other out. So it’s between the guy formerly known as Doogie and Wilson; it’ll be one or the other and I’m fine with that.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
Boston Legal • ABC • William Shatner as Denny Crane
Damages • FX Networks • Ted Danson as Arthur Frobisher
Damages • FX Networks • Zeljko Ivanek as Ray Fiske
Lost • ABC • Michael Emerson as Ben
Mad Men • AMC • John Slattery as Roger Sterling
Not Shatner! Damages guys cancel out, though I’m fond of both actors. I guess Mad Men.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
John Adams • HBO • David Morse as George Washington
John Adams • HBO • Stephen Dillane as Thomas Jefferson
John Adams • HBO • Tom Wilkinson as Benjamin Franklin
Recount • HBO • Denis Leary as Michael Whouley
Recount • HBO • Bob Balaban as Ben Ginsberg
Oy. Don’t know Dillane, but like all of the others. Maybe Wilkinson, but I’m not confident on that.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Pushing Daisies • ABC • Kristin Chenoweth as Olive Snook
Samantha Who? • ABC • Jean Smart as Regina Newly
Saturday Night Live • NBC • Amy Poehler, Performer
Two And A Half Men • CBS • Holland Taylor as Evelyn Harper
Ugly Betty • ABC • Vanessa Williams as Wilhelmina Slater
I like Chenoweth in her role. Smart was OK, and the other two sitcom actresses I don’t watch often enough. Poehler is doing such a different thing than the others; I’m hoping it works for her, rather than against.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series
Boston Legal • ABC • Candice Bergen as Shirley Schmidt
Brothers & Sisters • ABC • Rachel Griffiths as Sarah Walker-Whedon
Grey’s Anatomy • ABC • Chandra Wilson as Dr. Miranda Bailey
Grey’s Anatomy • ABC • Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang
In Treatment • HBO • Dianne Wiest as Dr. Gina Toll
Grey’s cancel out, no way for BL. I’m rather fond of Griffiths’ role, but I’m thinking the HBO show, which I’ve not seen, will win.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie
A Raisin In The Sun • ABC • Audra McDonald as Ruth Younger
Cranford (MASTERPIECE) • PBS • Dame Eileen Atkins as Miss Deborah Jenkyns
Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale • HBO • Ashley Jensen as Maggie Jacobs
Pictures Of Hollis Woods (Hallmark Hall Of Fame Presentation) • CBS • Alfre Woodard as Edna Reilly
Recount • HBO • Laura Dern as Katherine Harris
The only one I saw was McDonald, and she was very good. Still, when I saw the clips, Dern WAS Harris.

Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series
Late Show With David Letterman • CBS
Real Time With Bill Maher • HBO
Saturday Night Live • NBC
The Colbert Report • Comedy Central
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart • Comedy Central
Stewart, deservedly.

Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Special
Bill Maher: The Decider • HBO
George Carlin: It’s Bad For Ya! • HBO •
James Taylor: One Man Band (Great Performances) • PBS
Kathy Griffin: Straight To Hell • Bravo
Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project • HBO
The Kennedy Center Honors • CBS
I always watch the Kennedy Center Honors and enjoy them, but I’m guessing a sentimental vote for the late Carlin.

Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series
30 Rock • Rosemary’s Baby • NBC • Jack Burditt
30 Rock • Cooter • NBC • Tina Fey
Flight Of The Conchords • Yoko • HBO • James Bobin, Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie
Pushing Daisies • Pie-Lette • ABC • Bryan Fuller
The Office • Dinner Party • NBC • Lee Eisenberg, Gene Stupnitsky
Fey’s up for ANOTHER Emmy and might have won if she wasn’t up against her own show. Moreover, Dinner Party was one of the most painful (in a funny way) things I ever saw, so I pick that. BTW, the Pushing Daisies pilot was effective in establishing the plot.

Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series
Battlestar Galactica • Six Of One • Sci Fi Channel • Michael Angeli
Damages • Pilot • FX Networks • Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler, Daniel Zelman
Mad Men • Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (Pilot) • AMC • Matthew Weiner
Mad Men • The Wheel • AMC • Matthew Weiner, Robin Veith
The Wire • 30 • HBO • David Simon, Ed Burns
I just have a feeling that they’ll take one last chance to honor The Wire, especially with the Mad Men vote split.

Outstanding Writing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special
Bernard And Doris • HBO • Hugh Costello
Cranford (MASTERPIECE) • PBS • Heidi Thomas, Written By
Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale • HBO • Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
John Adams • Independence • HBO • Kirk Ellis
Recount • HBO • Danny Strong

Outstanding Writing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Program
Late Night With Conan O’Brien • NBC • Mike Sweeney, Head Writer
Late Show With David Letterman • CBS • Eric Stangel, Justin Stangel, Head Writers
Saturday Night Live • NBC • Seth Meyers, Andrew Steele, Paula Pell, Head Writers
The Colbert Report • Comedy Central • Tom Purcell, Head Writer
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart • Comedy Central • Steve Bodow, Head Writer