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How does one get from Lagoon to "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"? You could follow Jenna Kim Jones' path.
The former Utah amusement park performer moved to the Big Apple in 2004 to attend New York University, and after a stint as an intern at "The Late Show with David Letterman," now works as a script production assistant at "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." She's in charge of making sure everyone has the most up-to-date copy of the script at any time of the day. She also attends joke meetings and pitches her own jokes. In addition, she writes tweets from the show's Twitter account regularly. She does voice-overs and has even sung on the show.
Jones performs standup comedy when she isn't at Stewart's beck and call, and will appear this weekend at the Trolley Square Wiseguys. In an email interview, Jones talked about earning "High School Musical" bragging rights by attending East High, a recent sketch she conceived for "The Daily Show," the price of Cheerios and what she misses in Utah.
Describe your upbringing in Utah.
I loved growing up in Utah but I didn't actually move there until I was 8 years old. Before that, I lived in Seoul, Korea, so as you can imagine, it was a big change. I went to Timpview High School in Provo and then did a short stint at East High School. Which, later in life, was a great talking point during the popularity of "High School Musical."
How was the move to New York City?
I moved to New York City in August 2004 to attend New York University. I finished up my last performance at Lagoon Amusement Park and went straight to the airport to take the redeye to New York City. When I arrived at my freshman dorm the next morning, the elevators were broken and I had to schlep three 70-pound bags up four flights of stairs. I wasn't sure what I'd gotten myself into, but apparently it wasn't going to be easy right from the start.
When did you first realize that you might be a funny person?
Oh man, I was the kid who would do anything for a laugh. I constantly performed for my family and friends and I'm sure it was totally obnoxious. When I was in high school, I was obsessed with late-night television, such as the David Letterman and Conan O'Brien [shows]. So obsessed that I saved up all of my money to buy a television for my own room. I decided that no matter what, I would someday end up interning at "The Late Show with David Letterman," and I made that dream come true in 2006.
Would you share a joke or two that made it onto "The Daily Show"?
Remember Olivia Munn's last field piece about Chinese mothers? No? Well it's on "The Daily Show" website. That was an idea that I wrote and pitched a few months back that was approved and produced into that piece.
Where do you draw your material from?
I draw my material from my personal life. Occasionally, I'll tell a political joke or two, but I stay away from being too heavy-handed. Simply put, I just want to make people laugh, so I write whatever I think will do that.
What do you miss about Utah?
I don't know where to begin. I miss the mountains and the clean air. If I could eat food from Café Rio or Bajio Mexican Grill in New York, it really would be the greatest city in the world. Then, of course, I miss the carbs. Great Harvest, pretty much everything in the Harmon's bakery section, and Einstein Bagels. Yes, I realize New York is famous for bagels but and I'll deny it if you tell any of my New York friends this I prefer Einstein's any day. Mostly, I miss the low prices on cereal. I mean, really, $6 for a small box of Cheerios? Let's get real, that's outrageous. I haven't had cereal for months.
Jenna Kim Jones
When • Tonight and Saturday, July 9, at 7:30 and 10
Where • Wiseguys Trolley Square, 505 S. 600 East, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $10 at wiseguyscomedy.com
More • To see "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" piece that Jenna Kim Jones wrote and produced, visit bit.ly/fi1USG