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Old 11-22-2002, 10:55 PM
hoosier hoosier is offline
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Jon Stewart - unhappy PiKA?

LAUREN PUTNOCKY -- The Flat Hat
Jon Stewart, Host of "The Daily Show,"Class of '84 Comedian, alumnus returns to College for Q&A session

By Meghan Williams
Flat Hat Asst. News Editor

Last Sunday the College hosted a guest appearance of one of its own when Jon Stewart, '84, returned to answer questions from students in William and Mary Hall. The question-and-answer session, which was sponsored by the University Centers Activities Board, drew a crowd of approximately 2,900 people, according to senior Mary Slonina, assistant director of communications for UCAB.
UCAB set up an online form where students were able to submit questions. UCAB selected 50 of the submitted questions to ask Stewart as time permitted.
Al Albert, who was the head coach of the men's soccer team when Stewart played here during his years at the College, took the stage to introduce Stewart and detailed some of the highlights of Stewart's College soccer career.
According to Albert, Stewart briefly considered continuing his soccer career after graduation, but he "moved on into the real world,"Albert said.
The start of his eventual career path was evident even at the College, according to Albert.
"Jon's wit was famous within the team,"he said. "No one would dare even then engage him in verbal combat. None of us imagined he would take things to the level that he has, but he was, even in college, a very funny guy."
After relating a story of why he had come to the College in the first place, Stewart explained why he had come back.
"Some of the best people I have ever met, I met down here,"he said. "It was a different place than it is now, as I've talked to some of the students, a lot of the students here say it's fun. When I was here, I don't recall that adjective being tossed around."
Stewart echoed Albert's statement that his comedic talent began during his college years.
"This was the first place I developed my humor,"he said.
Four UCAB members took turns reading the questions, but Stewart also directed comments to other people in the audience who shouted.
For example, at one point a group of freshmen shouted out to Stewart and he held a short conversation with the group.
"You graduate in 2006,"Stewart said. "Oh, that's the craziest thing I've ever heard. When were you born? '84? Can I tell you something weird? I'm your father."
An ongoing difficulty throughout the program was names of buildings and dormitories that had changed since Stewart was at the College. Many of the students who had submitted questions identified themselves by first name, year and residence.
For example, one question was from a resident of Unit B, the house for Beta Theta Pi.
"Unit B?"Stewart asked. "What is that, the psych ward?"
At times Stewart responded to students' questions with questions of his own.
"What's the single most important thing I learned here?"he said. "Always wear a condom. What are these questions? What's going on here? We're here to talk, people."
A longer answer was in response to a question about how Stewart became interested in comedy as a career.
"I don't really want to bum anybody out, but college is useless,"he said. "I don't mean that in a bad way. I just mean that it costs too much and it takes too long, and you don't learn enough. But other than that -- it's really fun. The transition from college to life is an enormous one."
"And unless you really know what you want to do, I would recommend that you don't worry about it. It doesn't matter ... just get good at it."
"Whatever it is that you do, don't add to the suckiness that is out there. The world is filled with incompetence, and people doing things they don't want to be doing. Do what you want to do, and you'll get good at it, and you'll add to the discussion and the dialogue. If you do what you don't want to do, you'll be bitter and old and your parents."
One topic that Stewart discussed at length was prompted by a question about Greek life during his years at the College.
"Greek life was, I'm assuming, a lot like what it is now -- a false sense of friendship ... an abusive relationship under the guise of camaraderie."
According to Stewart, he was a brother of Pi Kappa Alpha for six months, but decided that membership in a fraternity "wasn't the answer."
"I hope I'm not offending people that are in [fraternities and sororities],"Stewart said. "I don't mean to be so harsh on [the system.] There are things in it there are good, but ... I was in Pi Kappa Alpha ... the letters themselves are meaningless. People are people."
Stewart then made a general statement about his experiences with the Greek system.
"My point is, as fun as it was to have parties in that house, it wasn't worth the pressure of living up to someone else's expectations as to what you're supposed to be, and going to meetings where they had parliamentary procedure to discuss a toga party,"he said.
During the session Stewart responded to a variety of questions, including whether he preferred boxers or briefs and if he would go to a formal with one female student.
The session lasted approximately 90 minutes and ended when UCAB members presented Stewart with gifts.
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