Jon Stewart goes to town on magazine editors

Stewart_1Those looking for a pithy quote about advertising from last night’s “Laughing Matters” panel with Jon Stewart had to settle for Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter’s thoughts on Google. “I read recently that Google is making as much money off advertising these days as the top four newspapers combined or something,” he said. “Well, I’ve used Google a lot, and I have never, ever remembered any ad I ever saw on it.” The supposed theme of the evening, sponsored by the Magazine Publishers of America and part of Advertising Week, was humor in magazines. But insights into that weren’t exactly flowing, either, as Stewart settled for a broad, comic approach to interviewing the four editors—Carter, Jim Kelly of Time, Kate White of Cosmopolitan and David Zinczenko of Men’s Health. Mostly, this meant being mock contemptuous of them, when he wasn’t appearing actually contemptuous. He asked White and Zinczenko to confirm that their magazines are simply repositories for product placement. He ribbed Carter about his Paris Hilton cover and Kelly about how Time is constantly finding Jesus. And he asked Zinczenko why Men’s Health is “so gay” and why the guys on its cover always seem to have just showered or are about to shower. (Zinczenko didn’t help himself by saying things like “Fit is the new rich” and “We worship at the altar of our readers.” He also evidently prepared for the event by typing the word humor into Bartlett’s, and he farce-ishly quoted both Marshall McLuhan and Freud on the subject.) Eventually, the floor opened up for questions, and Stewart wound up telling the auditorium full of magazine people that print media is simply “not relevant” (in terms of driving the discourse, he later clarified). He got a better reaction when asked what his favorite magazine is. “I enjoy Juggs a lot,” he said. “You know, gigantic tits are the new rich.”

—Posted by Tim Nudd

Photo: Steve Maller