Jon Stewart, "Katy Perry," and "Christina Aguilera" were all hanging out in a New York City hotel room earlier this week…
No, that's not the start to a joke, though it certainly needs more clarification and we'll give it.
Omg! attended Animal Haven's annual fundraiser at The Standard High Line in Manhattan on Tuesday, where we synced up with the 50-year-old to chat on the eve of his three-month hiatus from "The Daily Show."
When we entered the hotel room to meet Stewart, it was a full house with his wife Tracey and children ― Nathan, 8, and Maggie, 7 ― among the revelers. There were also puppies, which would later appear at the party, and the adorable little furballs were named after pop stars.
Stewart is a true animal lover ― mostly of dogs, but "cats will do in a pinch," he jokes. He and the fam currently have three pooches (none of which are named after celebrities), the latest addition being Little Dipper, a three-legged pit bull mix who is a fixture behind the scenes at "The Daily Show" … and the New York City streets.
"I was a fan of 'The Little Rascals' and Petey was a pit, so maybe that was in the inherent," Stewart, who has had three pits, says of his fondness for the breed, which gets a bad rap. "If you would go to the store and buy the generic 'dog,' they're the dog. That little block head and that little dog body, and so energetic and playful. They're meaty and muscular and fun."
And spoiled ― at least at chez Stewart. When asked if Little Dipper and the gang get any over-the-top treatment at home, he gives us a you've-gotta-to-be-kidding-me look, and talks about their sleeping situation.
"The whole family can fit in one bed with three dogs placed strategically. And the dogs are all pretty good about going under the covers and curling up. One nice thing is that it does generate a lot of heat. It's like having one of those brick ovens that they make pizza in. The three of them get in there and it fires us up to thermonuclear levels," he laughs.
When we remark that he must have a pretty big bed, he shoots back, "Or maybe it's that we're just not that big people. Look at us."
His two children are doting on "Katy Perry" and "Christina Aguilera" as we talk, and Nathan starts doing a silly little Samba-esque dance with one of them. Clearly, they've inherited the animal lover genes from their parents.
"Oh my god ― they really do love it. They do the walks. They Samba. They're way into it. And because they volunteer at Animal Haven, they've learned a lot of behavior things about dogs. They're learning how to train them, what to look for, and what not to look for. They're loving it."
Stewart has even implemented a bring your dog to work policy at his Comedy Central show, so Little Dipper has friends to hang with when he accompanies Stewart to work.
"It makes it a very nice environment," he says. "I mean there are rules. Everybody has to be responsible. You gotta potty train them. You gotta make sure that if there are issues with other dogs that they are dealt with the right way. We went through a period where we made the announcement: 'Stop feeding the dogs off the catering [table].' Six months into it, everybody looked like Dom DeLuise! The dogs were just lying on the floor, bloated, and ready to pass out. So we have instituted some discipline, but it's really nice to have them around."
After Thursday's "The Daily Show," Stewart and Little Dipper will be on a hiatus from "The Daily Show" set until September as the funnyman heads off to the Middle East to direct his first film, "Rosewater," which he talks about in-depth here.
While he's admittedly "nervous" to helm the film (correspondent John Oliver will be filling in for him while he's gone), he suggests that he'll bring his humor to the situation, noting that on his first day he wants to sit in the director's chair and perhaps thumb through "Filmmaking for Dummies" to ease the tension.
"But I'm looking forward to it," he adds. "It's a real good story."
And so is the one about his love of animals.