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Original Issue

A Fan Among The 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 playedsoccer at William and Mary (1981-83) and scored 10 goals in your career(right). 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 asmockable as politics?

Stewart: No,sports are just too important.

SI: If I sayJohnny Weir, you say....

Stewart: I thinkhe is actually more masculine than most figure skaters. He brings aheterosexual vibe to that sport. I don't think he's gay enough. He's got to gofurther!

SI: The U.S.finished with 25 medals at the Turin Games, second to Germany's 29. Yourthoughts?

Stewart: It's asthough the Germans are some sort of perfect beings. Almost genetically superiorin some respects. But I'm sure they won't do anything with that knowledge.

SI: Why didn'tthe Winter Olympics get better TV ratings?

Stewart: How manyways can you watch someone go downhill? But I'm looking forward to the nextOlympics. I'm responsible for much of the choreography of the openingceremonies in Beijing. I'm working on that now.

SI: Is there aDaily 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 theorphanage helping children. If we were to have one, I would be crushed everyyear because I always take the 5-12 game. I get 12 happy and end up withCleveland State in the Final Four.

SI: If BarryBonds breaks Hank Aaron's record, what would The Daily Show present himwith?

Stewart: I'dpresent him with Hank Aaron's integrity, class and humility. I'm not sure I canbronze that, but I'd love for him to have it.

SI: What's onething in sports you wish you could do?

Stewart:Dismantle the NCAA. They're ruining college sports. Recruits from the innercity are not allowed to have a hamburger? These kids are making millions forthis organization and they have fewer privileges than kids coming out ofjuve.

SI: Will yourkids play sports?

Stewart: I'llprobably force and berate them into playing all kinds of sports. My21-month-old son is already on two travel teams.

SI: Is it betterto be a NASCAR dad or a soccer mom?

Stewart: If I saysoccer mom, I'm in Transamerica territory. I would say a NASCAR dad because youget to drink a lot more. Soccer moms only pick people up.

SI: PresidentBush fancies himself a runner and a biker. How fit do you want the President tobe?

Stewart: He islooking better as his presidency goes on, and that worries me. I hate to see aguy training so hard because it makes you think: Does he know something wedon't? Is he preparing for some sort of every-man-for-himself scenario?

SI: As a fan ofthe Knicks, when do you expect to attend the next championship parade?

Stewart: I'm nota believer in Eastern religions, but when Walt Clyde Frazier is reincarnated asa point guard that can run the team. So that could be a while.

SI: Chris Rockonce told SI, "Hockey is like heroin. Only drug addicts do heroin.... Onlyhockey fans watch hockey." Is soccer like heroin?

Stewart: To meit's more like Nutella. The rest of the world loves it and puts it oneverything, but here in America we're like, "I don't know, man, it tasteslike almonds."

SI: You toldSoccer America that you follow Group C of the Mexican League. Is that true?

Stewart: You knowwhat I like about it? The parity.

SI: You sawLindsey Jacobellis's Olympic fall. What if you have a perfect Oscar telecastand then bomb at the end?

Stewart: Unless Ipull down my pants and do a helicopter, I can't imagine what I could do. Onceyou're in hour number four, my job is to go, "Hey, everybody, get homesafe."

SI: Can weconvince you to drop a Carlos Valderrama or Ronaldo reference at theOscars?

Stewart: Believeme, every time a joke scores, you will hear GOOOOOOAL!

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''Said the autistic youngster after his 20-pointperformance, 'I was hotter than a pistol!' --FOR THE RECORD, PAGE 20