Jon Stewart, in BRIEF

Jon at ASME 002.jpgThe dust has settled on Thursday’s MPA panel “Laughing Matters: Magazines Celebrate Humor” hosted by Jon Stewart and featuring Graydon Carter of Vanity Fair, Jim Kelly of Time, Kate White of Cosmopolitan and David Zinczenko of Men’s Health, and if you haven’t read the exclusive Fishbowl coverage featuring the only almost-full-transcript of the event that we know of, well then, congratulations — you’ve saved yourself five hours of reading (yay accidental long form journalism! I’m Ken Auletta, whoooo!).

For those of you who can’t get enough, we’ve packaged our coverage conveniently in one easy-to-read post, complete with some other perspectives on the event. Before that, though, some highlights:

  • Fit is the new rich. Like that’ll get us doing sit-ups.
  • Jon doesn’t “consider the print media as relevant” and thinks that at the Bar Mitzvah of Media, print sits at “the children’s table.” To quote Nat Ives of AdAge: “One could almost hear the ad dollars draining from the room.”
  • Graydon Carter said he doesn’t bother looking at demographic information, and thinks Paris looks “presentable” on the October cover of Vanity Fair.
  • Kate White thinks women in their 20s and 30s have “shorter attention spans” though she acutally didn’t say than what — other women? Men? She did seem to indicate that she finds men funnier than women. Cosmopolitan, striking another blow for women’s lib.
  • David Zinczenko is very, very excited about his magazine. Of all the editors he displayed the most passion for his readers and the mission of his magazine. Of all the editors, he also said the most jaw-droppingly boneheaded things. Still, at the end of the day, good intentions have to count for something.
  • Jim Kelly and Graydon Carter both started at Time 27 years ago this month. Wow!
  • Looking back, we didn’t learn a whole lot from Jim Kelly. Pity, that.
  • Every sex tip Cosmo imparts is thoroughly fact-checked in “The Love Lab.”
  • Brown shoes with black socks, pants, belts, and blazers might just be the new rich.
  • We got Jon to admit that HE CARES! Which we think is actually a pretty big deal because I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him cop to that in print (though he came close on Crossfire, because Crossfire’s TV and TV drives the discourse).

Please feel free to send us any corrections, updates or tidbits; as we disclaimed and disclosed, our tape ran out in places, it was often hard to hear through the laughter and our notes aren’t completely comprehensive, just ridiculously so.

For what it’s worth, we did not think that Jon was coming from “a dark place” as Page Six intones. He was hired to lead a spirited discussion and to entertain the crowd, which is exactly what he got. He was a lot nicer to Rick Santorum, true, but no one wanted to see him fluff his way through this, and the top editors of the magazine industry should not have expected him to. If the MPA had wanted someone toothless, they could have flown in Jay Leno. They wanted someone smart and funny, who would — ahem — drive the discourse, and they got it. In my view, that adds up to a big success.

The Fishbowl Round-Up:

Jon Stewart Kicks Some ASME I
Jon Stewart Kicks Some ASME II: Show No Mercy
Jon Stewart Kicks Some ASME III: “And by the way, I don’t read magazines”


Stewart Skewers Consumer Magazine Editors, Industry at MPA Panel [Folio]
Jon Stewart Mocks Magazine Editors at Advertising Week [AdAge]
Wrong ‘Show’ For Mag Execs [Page Six]
Buzz Kill [NYT]