I do this thing where when I get into something, whether a franchise, celebrity, or a book or movie, I obsessively research it to the point of actual concern. When I went through my Pirates of the Caribbean phase in middle school, I watched all of the movies too many times to count, and have probably seen every video on the internet that in any way relates to the franchise. I watched the all of the DVD extras, along with the audio commentary of all of the films multiple times. I learned how to play the music from the soundtrack on my flute. I learned the proper terminology for the parts of a ship. I annoyed all of my friends with random bits of pirate trivia. It was insane. But, I grew out of it within a couple years.
I do that with everything that I take a liking to — The Harry Potter books, John Green, Doctor Who, Anderson Cooper, and most recently, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It doesn’t help that they have every episode of the show from 1999 is available for free online, and that YouTube makes available every Jon Stewart interview and stand-up routine since 1994 at my fingertips.
That being said, Jon Stewart’s whole rise to fame is actually really inspiring, and I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for comedians in general. There’s a bunch of Stewart’s failed attempts at movies, and a hilarious stand up bit about him living alone with his cat in an apartment in NYC. On a Howard Stern interview, he talks about how coming home from his first Letterman interview back to his crappy apartment was a reality check about how fame and celebrity doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a needed reminder about how much work and struggle actually goes in (for most people) to get to where they are today.
What really stuck with me though: there’s an interview with David Letterman from 1996, after Jon Stewart’s show on MTV just got cancelled, and this young, more hyperactive version of the Stewart we know today spends the whole segment making jokes about how his career is ended, how he doesn’t classify as a “celebrity” any more, etc. etc. It’s so exciting to watch, because you do know what comes after that interview — that he doesn’t disappear into obscurity, but becomes more relevant than ever before once he gets The Daily Show. It’s a comforting reminder to know that people you admire, and who are on seemingly untouchable perches of fame and success, have to deal with the same ups and downs of life as the rest of us.