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This article was prepared for the April 25, 2001 edition of U.S. 1
Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Jon Stewart: Back in Town
Jon Stewart, the Lawrence High School alumnus who hosts
the Comedy Central hit "The Daily Show," returns to his home
turf on Saturday, April 28, as special guest host at a benefit concert
honoring Selma Litowitz, Stewart’s former English teacher who now
suffers from Parkinson’s disease (www.parkinsonalliance.net).
Titled "ParkinSong," and sponsored by the Parkinson Alliance
of Princeton, benefit concert features the popular Delaware Valley
progressive band, Grey Eye Glances. Also appearing will be the dynamic
performing duo of Terri Hendrix with Lloyd Maines and rising singer
and songwriter Ana Egge. All money raised from ParkinSong goes
to research, and the Princeton-based Tuchman Foundation will match
dollar-for-dollar the net proceeds up to $25,000.
If you’re wondering whether you went to high school with Jon Stewart,
it may help to know that the nationally- prominent comedian, now 37,
was born and raised in Lawrence, Jon Stewart Leibowitz. As he tells
it on his website, his parents, Donald and Marian Leibowitz, a
and education consultant respectively, divorced when Stewart was nine,
and his father later remarried. He has one brother and two
from his father’s second marriage.
After high school Stewart attended the University of William and Mary
in Virginia where he majored in psychology and played Lawrence’s
sport, soccer, for the school. He also found time for some bar-tending
— perhaps the site of his earliest comic routines.
Stewart started in comedy three years after graduating
with his first gig in New York City in 1987. He traveled across
and up north to Canada, where he spent time in Winnipeg at the Rumours
Comedy Club. "It would be like 40 below zero and you’d be trying
to cross the highway — very exciting times. I felt like a
he says. "I used to trudge around to four clubs a night, working
for falafel money."
Appearances on HBO and David Letterman led to his first shot at
as a member of the cast of Short Attention Span Theater on Comedy
Central in the early ’90s. This short-lived show was Stewart’s
to another short-lived show, "The Jon Stewart Show" which
ran late night and really late night on MTV from 1993 to 1995.
the show flopped, Stewart’s role as replacement host for Garry
on "The Larry Sanders Show" finally propelled him to stardom.
In 1998 he signed a $1.5 million contract with Comedy Central in 1998
to host the "Daily Show" and never looked back.
ParkinSong is being organized by Mrs. Litowitz’s three children:
High alumni Carol Golden of Princeton, Debbie Frank of Newtown,
and Robert Litowitz of Washington, D.C. This year marks their parents’
50th wedding anniversary.
"I cannot go anywhere in Lawrenceville without meeting people
she taught," Ms. Golden says of her mother, who is 73. She retired
in the 1980s after teaching for 20 years. "There are people who
know her by her maiden name, Selma Urken. I meet people who are old
enough to be my parents who were her students. My mother started
English literature to teenagers in high school when she was 21 years
old. I don’t know if you can even count the number of people in our
community who learned English literature from my mother."
School, 2525 Princeton Pike, 800-579-8440. $25 at the door; $100
patron. Saturday, April 28, 7:30 p.m.
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