Jon Stewart Preparing Directorial Debut, ‘Rosewater’

Comedy Central will be missing one central figure for much of the summer—The Daily Show host Jon Stewart (or as your mother knows him, “Jon Daily”) will be taking a hiatus to film his directorial debut. (Regular correspondent John Oliver will host in the interim.)

The film, a drama called Rosewater, will be an adaptation of Canadian-Iranian journalist Mazir Bahari’s memoir, Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival, in which he and Aimee Molloy chronicle his trip to Iran to cover the elections and subsequent four-month stint in a Tehran prison.

Lest we forget, before Jon Stewart became one of America’s finest news sources, he actually had something of an acting career—he was in the lesser Adam Sandler picture, Big Daddy, and stoner comedy Half-Baked. And, let’s not forget, he was in Death to Smoochy. Rosewater should be much heavier fare, though.

Stewart interviewed Bahari, from whose memoir Stewart’s work derives, on an episode of The Daily Show. As a matter of fact, Bahari’s captors in Iran used the interview as evidence against him for his and the other guests’ criticisms of Iran. Watch that interview below. 


[via the L.A. Times]

Hugh Grant Agrees With Jon Stewart That He’s Kind Of A Dick

It probably does not come as a surprise to anyone that Jon Stewart found Hugh Grant to be just as noxious as his Bridget Jones’ Diary character. But it is perhaps a surprise that he found Grant to be so difficult he will never invite him onto The Daily Show again.

Earlier this week at the Montclair Film Festival, Montclair resident Stephen Colbert interviewed his former boss and asked him about his least favorite guest of all time: Hugh Grant, who was promoting his 2009 rom-com Did You Hear About The Morgans?.  "He’s giving everyone s–t the whole time, and he’s a big pain in the ass," Stewart explained. "… [A]nd we’ve had dictators on the show." Chief among Grant’s whiny concerns were that he didn’t like the clip from the film played during the interview. The British actor is "never" coming back, Stewart huffed.

In typical oozy British style, Grant acknowledged Stewart’s comments and his own assholishness — but didn’t apologize. The actor tweeted yesterday:

If Hugh Grant was unpleasant for the one day commitment of a Daily Show appearance, we can only imagine what sort of secrets Renee Zellweger, Sarah Jessica Parker and the entire cast of Love, Actually are keeping mum. 

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Stewart-O’Reilly Rumble May Be Closest We Get To Elevated Discourse

As if this election hadn’t already reached critical mass of ridiculousness, it’s about to get 100% shoutier. In a last-ditch attempt for anything remotely resembling elevated or even bearable political discourse before the 2012 election, longtime punditry peers and “frenemies” Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart will spar on the issues affecting the country during election-time. Under the tagline “It’s Why Al Gore Invented the Internet,” the Daily Show satirist-turned-voice-of-frustration and Fox News’ resident rage-face will do it live for IRL and web audiences, and if the respected pundit faces of blue and red states respectively can get together and shout over each other, so can the rest of us, right? 

“O’Reilly v. Stewart 2012: The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium” will take place Saturday, October 6 at Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Pre-sale tickets are on sale now, and the whole thing will be broadcast online via a $4.95 Internet stream, with half the profits going to charity. Those who pre-order tickets by October 1 can submit a question for the two parties to debate. 

We would have liked to see rapper, Renaissance man and longtime O’Reilly nemesis Ludacris as the moderator for this debate, because although that would perhaps taint the integrity of a good, honest debate, it would be excellent. But, instead, news anchor E.D. Hill, a veteran of CNN and Fox News, will moderate. 

The Constitution Rewritten by a Man Who Drinks Coffee At Breakfast

Ratified in the summer of 1788, the United States Constitution is an oldie but a goodie (it is, in fact, the oldest of any active national constitution in the world). It ensured a system of checks and balances, protected households from occupation by dirty soldiers, and even insisted that our judiciary be on good behavior. To boot, why would Nicholas Cage need to steal it if it wasn’t such an important document? And, thus, why would Kevin Bleyer, humble writer of “legalize pot” jokes for The Daily Show, need to rewrite a document that’s protected by The Cage?

There’s one main reason. And I’m not generally one to throw around ad hominems, but there’s something we should know about James Madison & Co. Sure, Jefferson had slaves. And yes, John Adams wrote of women that he wouldn’t trade the tyranny of King George III for “the despotism of the petticoat.” But our basis for reserve is more empirical than this: the framers were drunks. Writes Bleyer, “They began each morning with a ‘small beer’ for breakfast—water and milk were considered unsafe—and they kept the party rolling during the day with hard cider and rum.” Madison himself drank a pint of whiskey every day. John Hancock kept a gallon of rum punch by his bedside. On September 14, 1787, fifty-five of those guys went into City Tavern in Philadelphia and drank “sixty bottles of claret, fifty-four bottles of Madeira, fifty bottles of ‘old stock,’ vats of porter, cider, and beer, and what’s been described as ‘some’ bowls of rum punch.”

Come the end of “four month’s toil,” the seven pages they wound up with weren’t half bad. But, notes Bleyer, “it is what you get when you drink beer for breakfast.”

Now, how could drunks write such grandiloquent things as “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” or, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”? Answer: they didn’t. The former comes from the Declaration of Independence, the latter from Karl Marx. But a 1987 study found that half of Americans thought Marx’s line came from the Constitution, and a 2009 Tea Party rally indicated that Speaker John Boehner thought Jefferson’s maxim was found in the Preamble. And for all the tri-tipped hat-wearing patriots out there looking to protect their Constitution from the tarnish of modernity, Bleyer nods to another convenient zinger from Thomas Jefferson: in a letter to Madison, he wrote, “The earth belongs always to the living generation…. Every constitution then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years.” That is, according to Jefferson, 1800 called—it wants its Constitution back. And its stupid hats.

A proposed rewrite of the Constitution, Me The People is actually a pretty dense commentary on the document’s history (it’s how I got the cool facts cited above). I guess not surprisingly, it’s a bit like reading a Jon Stewart monologue, if the top story of the evening was that “there’s a Constitution,” and if the teleprompter allowed 300 pages worth of copy. In a similar fashion to a Stewart bit, Bleyer’s “rewrite” is really just a handful of quips/policy suggestions along the lines of, “come on people, let’s not be stupid.” (From his rewrite of Article VI: “Do you belong to an extremist version of your religion? If so, do you swear to whatever god you believe in that you’ll Chill Out for a while? You will? Cool.”)

But Bleyer’s project isn’t all armchair lulz—he does his fieldwork, including a search for a real-life John Hancock and a lunch date with Justice Antonin “Nino” Scalia. The chapter on the Judiciary, in particular, is notable for pointing out how the branch originally given the least amount of thought has effectively become the most powerful. That is, a Justice can wait to retire until their ideological pal takes the White House, or they could never retire and just drift into senility while holding one of nine chairs given the task of protecting the document that could only otherwise be safeguarded by the star of Bangkok Dangerous.

His treatment of the Amendments is a bit lighter, but then again, George Mason did suggest that the first ten—you know, the Bill of Rights—“might be prepared in a few hours.” Can you name the 7th Amendment? Me neither, and I just read the book yesterday, so I suppose it’s convenient that Bleyer opted to simply remove it.

One of the best anecdotes is nestled into the passage on the 19th Amendment, wherein Harry T. Burn (real person), a member of the Tennessee State Assembly, effectively puts women’s suffrage into law after this nudge from his mother: “‘I have been watching how you stood,’ she wrote, ‘but have not noticed anything yet. Don’t forget to be a good boy.’”

Speaking of good boys, the only other order of business was to touch up the 21st Amendment, replacing “The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed,” with a little nugget that could’ve been helpful the first time around: “Drink responsibly.” Cheers, Kevin Bleyer, you done good. And to the reader, may I recommend that you chase this actually-sort-of-legitimate history lesson with some claret (whatever the hell that is), or Madeira, or “some” rum punch. You may call it boozin’. The framers called it “necessary.” Let’s split the odds, and say it’s just your moment of Zen. 

Afternoon Links: Fiona Apple Reveals Album Title, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Quit Acting

● Fiona Apple’s new album, due out sometime in June, will be titled: The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do. Yes, in the grand Fiona tradition, all 23 words of that. [Pitchfork]

● The Olsen twins have to bid adieu to their acting careers. "It doesn’t mean I’m not interested in Hollywood," explains Ashley in this month’s Elle. "I like the way it operates, I like the people who are involved and the sense of possibility. But if I ever get back in, it’s not going to be as an actress." [HuffPost]

● Radar is reporting that Lindsay Lohan enjoyed a "night of passion" with Terry Richardson and has been driving him crazy with text messages and phone calls ever since. Surprise? [Radar]

● TLC has cancelled its at times controversial All-American Muslim after just one season, even after it recieved mostly postive reviews from critics and religious leaders alike. [Detroit Free Press]

● Jon Stewart gets down and dirty with Bruce Springsteen with a long interview in Rolling Stone this month. [RS]

● Today in pregnant, very pregnant, and the most pregnant: Snooki debuts her bump, Hilary Duff’s jokes about her very hairy pregnancy, and Jessica Simpson "pulls a Demi" on the cover of Elle. [Us / FunnyorDie / PageSix]

Stephen Colbert Super PAC Releases An Attack Ad

Stephen Colbert is continuing to disrupt politics in comedic fashion with a new ad released by "Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC” calling out Mitt Romney for murdering corporations.  It’s voiced by John Lithgow who was nominated for an Emmy Award for his portrayal of a serial killer on Dexter and came with a great press release by head of the Super PAC Citizens for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Jon Stewart.

In the release Stewart writes:

“Hi again, it’s me, Jon. When I took over this Super PAC, I had no idea there’d be so much email-writing. Also, there are a lot of plants around Super PAC office with extremely specific watering schedules. Seriously, does a Northwood Spotted Fern really need to be watered "thrice fortnightly at dusk"?

Anyway, The Definitely Not Coordinated With Stephen Colbert Super PAC made an ad, and I figured you’d want to know. I’ve attached the press release below, so hopefully your mouse’s scroll-wheel isn’t broken.”

Jon Stewart vs. Bill O’Reilly on Common’s White House Visit

Last night, Jon Stewart took on Bill O’Reilly in what is hopefully the final chapter of this ongoing Common at the White House “controversy.” To sum up O’Reilly’s argument: the President welcomed someone who wrote about a convicted murderer in an 11-year-old track and that just doesn’t fly. To sum up Jon Stewart’s argument: The White House has hosted many musicians who have written tracks about convicted murderers, including Bono, Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Dylan—and that was totally cool.

O’Reilly harped on the fact that the rapper once visited a “cop killer”—Assata Shakur— in Cuba, while The Daily Show host explained that Common’s interest in Shakur’s case stemmed from his belief that she was unjustly accused. He also listed the aforementioned musicians, such as Bono, who have penned tracks about convicted murderers, and have retained visiting rights to the White House.

Still, O’Reilly was not appeased, which lead Stewart to make two indisputable points:

“There is a selective outrage machine here at Fox, that pettifogs only when it suits the narrative that suits them,” and also, “You know songs are not all literal, right? When The Weather Girls sing, “It’s Raining Men” it’s not really precipitation of males. It’s a metaphor.”

Watch below.

Morning Links: Justin Bieber Hosts ‘Daily Show,’ Lady Gaga’s Album Sounds like Mint Fields

● A jacket-ed Justin Bieber made for a cute Jon Stewart on last night’s Daily Show. Stewart, on the other hand, looked less-cute in his Bieber-esque purple hoodie. [GawkerTV] ● Designer Thakoon Panichugul’s designer Yorkshire terrier-Chihuaha mix, Stevie, has reportedly become quite snappy in the approach of Fashion Week deadlines. So snappy he even bit an intern! Thakoon’s reps are denying it. [NYP] ●Oh no! Miley Cyrus got another tattoo! The new dream-catcher inked under her arm makes five, and we all know what five tattoos means for a young starlet, don’t we? (Gang bang queen.) [People]

● DJ White Shadow, a primary collaborator on Lady Gaga’s upcoming Born This Way says the Lady’s latest is, “Like a golden spaceship touching down on a rainbow runway in a field of fresh mint.” [Billboard] ● You can now buy a piece of internet history: The man with the golden voice, Ted Williams, is selling the cardboard sign and camo jacket he wore in the YouTube video that brought him initial internet fame. [TMZ] ● This week’s Valentines-themed New Yorker cover finds NYC Mayor Bloomberg gazing loningly into the eyes of his number one admirer — himself. “I thought it was cute looking into the mirror,” he told reporters. [CityRoom]

Morning Links: Charlie Sheen Has a ‘Porn Family,’ Diddy Is Sued for a Trillion Dollars

● Charlie Sheen had a briefcase — a Gucci briefcase — full of cocaine delivered to his home before the 911 call. That’s one way to measure Two and a Half Men‘s success. [TMZ] ● Further news in the unraveling of Charlie: Sheen rented out his neighbor’s mansion in order to house his very own “porn family.” Isn’t that nice? His reps aren’t sure what to say anymore. [TMZ] ● Lady Gaga worked up a frenzy and a trending topic when she tweeted the lyrics to her upcoming single, “Born This Way.” Special shout-outs go to the LBGQT, “The Subway Kid,” those of Lebanese and of Chola decent, and, like we would say in the ’50s, the “Orient made.” [Twitter]

● Diddy is being sued for a cool $1 trillion by a women who’s blaming him for everything from the collapse the World Trade Center to withholding a chip she won at a Mississippi casino. Maybe Diddy could settle by paying for her therapy. [Radar] ● Speaking of, Jon Stewart has been appointed to the board of the foundation responsible for building the Sept. 11 museum and memorial. “I’m like their intern at this point,” he quipped. Like, their intern that get’s them tons of press and money. [NYT] ● TNT issued a swift apology after Tracy Morgan tried to talk politics with Charles Barkley during a live Inside the NBA taping. “Let me tell you something about Sarah Palin, she’s good masturbation material,” he told Barkley. Breaking character? [HR] ● After a several month reprieve, Ms. Amanda Bynes is back on twitter sharing pictures of her outfits and her arts and crafts. That starfish she rhinestoned is pretty nice. [Twitter]