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Jon Stewart won't spoil party as Oscars host

Written by: Staff
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LOS ANGELES, Mar 4 (Reuters) He is America's leading Anti-establishment comic, chosen to host Hollywood's biggest insider event. But Jon Stewart knows that he dare not spoil Oscar's party.

Although he has built his career skewering politicians and the media as host of his own faux newscast on cable television, Stewart says he feels genuine empathy for the film industry elite he will entertain tommorrow in his first turn as emcee of the Academy Awards.

''I'm not going out there looking to blow the place up,'' Stewart said on CNN's ''Larry King Live'' this week. ''The pressure I feel is for the ... people that are nominated ...

it's their big day, and you don't want to screw up their wedding.'' That's not to say that Hollywood pomp and self-importance will be off-limits to Stewart in his opening monologue.

Asked by Oprah Winfrey if he worried about ruffling feathers, the star of cable TV's ''The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,'' was self-deprecating -- at first.

''If I had a movie career, I might worry about that,'' he said. ''But what can they do to a guy who's on basic cable? Can they bump me down to public access?'' Then, jabbing at an actor who threw a phone at a hotel clerk, Stewart added: ''I mean honestly, if Russell Crowe gets mad at me, it's not like I work at the hotel he's staying at.'' For all his seeming nonchalance, Stewart, 43, knows the Oscars show will be seen by hundreds of million of people around the world, making it by far his biggest gig.

Just landing the job of Oscar host, one of Hollywood's most prestigious assignments, has helped fuel his transformation from cult favorite into a mainstream entertainer.

Although his late-night cable TV following averages only about 1.4 million viewers, Stewart and his show have become disproportionately influential in US politics and culture.

Young adults, the demographic Oscar organisers are most eager to attract in greater numbers, make up the core of his fans.

MORE REUTERS CS RN0929

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