I once wrote Jon Stewart a fan letter.
Correction: I faxed him a fan letter. And it wasn’t one letter. It was two.
Here we go.
Back in 1994, I was a a nineteen-year-old sophomore in college. I lived in St. Louis with my boyfriend and cat. We were normal. I went to school. I had a part-time job. We watched The Jon Stewart Show every night before going to bed.
(Yes, he had a show before The Daily Show. It was hilarious).
Even though he’s 12 years older than me, I always felt like Jon Stewart was the voice of my generation. He was so much better than Jay Leno. So much funnier than Arsenio Hall. That’s why I thought it would be a good idea to write a letter and tell Jon Stewart that I was a fan. Except I’m not dumb. He would never get my letter . . . . just like Michael Jackson never got the invitation to my birthday party.
That’s why I tried to be crafty.
We had AOL dial-up at my house. The Jon Stewart Show didn’t really have a web page, but I did manage to find the name of his production company. So I spent 99¢ and called 411 (hyperlinked for you kids out there) to see what I could find. Then I paid another 99¢ to automatically patch me through to the production company’s main office.
Some older woman answered the phone. I blurted out, “I want to fax a letter to The Jon Stewart Show. What’s your fax number?”
The woman asked, “What? Our fax number? What kind of letter?”
I said, “I’m writing a letter of complaint.”
Just like that, I got the fax number. The rest was easy. I went into an early version of WordPerfect and typed out what is probably a total fucking psycho letter of admiration and love. I was trying to be restrained but passionate.
And since I worked in the Religious Studies department at my college, I used our fax machine to send the letter.
Suckers. I could not be stopped.
A few nights later, Jon Stewart made a joke about St. Louis on his show. Now listen, who the hell wouldn’t joke about it? It’s one of the armpits of America — right behind Indianapolis, Louisville and most of Ohio. But I took his joke as a sign because I was nuts.
I then sent another fax.
Hey Jon Stewart, you don’t gotta just joke about St. Louis. You could totally call me. If you met me in a bar, you would like me. Even though I’m not old enough to be in that bar, we would be friends. Why can’t we be friends based on a fan letter?
Sigh. I was absolutely out of my mind. One person’s persistent fan is another person’s stalker. (I am sorry, Jon Stewart. I totally deserve the label.)
Fan letters are part of a long tradition of admiration and affection. They can be cute and harmless. They can also be nutty. I can’t be the only one who took a fan letter to a new level. I know some of you HR ladies were hoochies in the 80s.
- Ever sit outside and stalk Mötley Crüe? Ever try to hook up with the guys from RATT and take it a little too far?
Make me feel better about my poor choices in the 90s.