Jon Stewart welcomed Louis CK as his final official guest on The Daily Show for his penultimate episode on Comedy Central on Wednesday night, and the two comedians quickly began reminiscing about their younger days at the Comedy Cellar, and even just last Wednesday night at the Cellar.
Here is their extended conversation.
This is the part they cut from the broadcast, all of which pertains to their time at the Comedy Cellar and keeping coming back to stand-up comedy.
They improvise some jokes in the conversation, but their retelling of last week’s rendevous at the Cellar and above the club at the Olive Tree Cafe echoes what I personally witnessed.
Stewart: “We used to have a blast down there. So I went down – I wanted to go down to the place I started. I worked at this Mexican restaurant up the block, Panchito’s. Home of the world’s best quesadilla,” Stewart said, with a shrug, as CK nodded.
“I’m not sure you could hold that claim,” CK replied, smiling. “Panchito’s, really?”
“Anyway, go on.”
Stewart: “So I wanted to go down there, and you showed up! Just out of happenstance. I didn’t even know Louis was going to be there. You showed up and it was just old home week.”
“Yeah, and we talked at the ‘comedy table.’”
“We sat at the ‘comedy table’ with Rory (Albanese) and Judah Friedlander and all these great new comics that I’d never seen before, and we ate, truly, some of the best hummus…on MacDougal Street,” Stewart said.
“Very good hummus, that’s right,” CK replied.
Stewart: “Don’t you think it’s very good hummus?”
CK: “Very good hummus…
Stewart: “Surprisingly creamy.”
CK: “—at the Comedy Cellar.” Audience laughs. “It is! They have great hummus. It’s a Middle Eastern restaurant with comedy downstairs. And it’s very good food.”
Stewart: “I always felt like at the Cellar, that it was a great buffer for the show, that even if you didn’t do well that night, even if the show wasn’t great, I always felt OK that the crowd would get good hummus. I always felt like…”
CK: “Oh! See, I always thought about that I would get the hummus.”
Stewart: “Remember, they would give us…”
CK: “If it didn’t go well, I would still get hummus.”
Stewart: “You would get hummus. If you worked there during the week, you would get $15…”
CK: “That’s right.”
Stewart: “…and hummus!”
CK: “You got $15, and you got a plate of hummus, and that was it.”
Stewart: “And that was it!”
Stewart: “And then Manny! Manny Dworman, who owned the place and ran it, would yell at you about Israel-Palestine.”
CK: “That’s right.” Audience laughs. “That’s right. It was a great thing.”
Stewart: “It was a great thing! That’s where we learned to be comics!”
CK: “That’s right. And we still learn to be comics there. Right? Because I go there all the time, and I still get my ass handed to me once in a while.”
Stewart: “But boy, it’s inspired me to watch – Louis goes up and he’s just trying out new material, and killing it, and having a ball. And as I’m watching you, someone says to me, ‘You want go up?’ And I was like, ‘YES.’ And I felt – what was great about it – is I felt like an awkward foal again. Like, climbing onto the stage, I was awkward, and then you hit the mic wrong, and you can tell the audience is like, ‘I thought this guy did this before?’”
CK: “Yeah, that’s right. Because they don’t give a shit. They’re very excited to see you. But after two jokes, they’re like, ‘C’mon man. Let’s see something!’ You know? ‘You suck!’”
Stewart: “I went on. I did a whole thing. First five minutes about how lucky they are. They saw Louis CK and Jon Stewart. And they were like, ‘hahaha,’ it was really big laughs, and then like, about three minutes into that, they were like, ‘OK, we get the lucky thing, OK.’ And then I was trying out new shit, and they were like, ‘really?!’ So then I had to throw in some of the old, like, ‘Saddam Hussein!’ You know…whatever I had from the last time I was on there. Do you feel like that’s the thing you’ll always do? What I always loved about what you would do, and Louis would do this even when we started, you would experiment with film, you would experiment with – you would push the limits of things – of what you could do. But do you feel like, man, that is home? That is home. That is where you’ll always end up.”
CK: “Yeah. Stand-up is where it always starts, and it’s the one job I’ll always keep no matter what else I do because I really love it, and also, because I’ll never get good at it. I’ll always do well on a particular night. But I never feel like I really got it. You know? That’s what always keeps you going.”
Stewart: “I’ve said this to you all the time, and I think the audience would agree, keep at it! You know? You’ll get it. You just gotta really bear down. And I’ve always said, until you sell out that fifth show at Madison Square Garden…”
CK: “Yeah, that’s what it’s going to take.”
That goes double for you, Jon Stewart.