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Published on November 12th, 2008 | by Sharilyn Johnson


Fallout girl

The past day has been a whirlwind, starting out positively yesterday when the Huffington Post offered to reprint my blog entry regarding election night, and ending negatively when I woke up this morning to find that a hack at Gawker made the decision to write a borderline-libelous characterization of me as “crazy”, “obsessed”, and “enraged”. They went into my website to yank content to use as “support” of my supposed lack of balance, and god knows what else.

Doing the right thing – and expecting others to do the right thing – should never be punished. Those who know me personally know how often I have been punished for that very thing. The Daily Show fucked up. And I’m being punished — not just with what happened a week ago, but now with having my name dragged through the mud for daring to ask for accountability.

This week has been a rollercoaster of faith. Losing faith in the decency of people to do the right thing and not allowing what happened last Tuesday to happen. Gaining faith in the commonality of my experience when so many strangers found this blog and commented or sent me messages privately. And again losing faith in people’s ability to feel empathy.

Gawker’s post:


My full emailed response to the editor:

Since I’ve been unable to create a new account, I will email you my response to the unwarranted attack towards me written by Ryan Tate, copied to my own blog on the not-so-off-chance you don’t run it.

It’s such an easy shortcut to call someone “obsessed” without anything to base it on. Tate stretches his theory so far as to imagine that a great conspiracy was at work, designed to ensure I was 40th in line instead of 4th, and that the audience department would start their ticketing at – gasp! – the front of the line to only let the first 21 people in (although I’ve read a report from someone in that group who states that only 7 of those were ultimately let in the door).

A naiive, obsessive fan would not be demanding accountability from Stewart & co. They would make excuses for them, defend them, and look for any reason to not disrupt their perfect image of the person they look up to. But the days of viewing anyone as “perfect” ended upon entering adulthood. The ability to criticize the thing you support the most is characteristic of an evolved person, not an immature one. Sorry, guys, but nobody gets a free pass just because they’re famous (actually, you folks at Gawker subscribe to that theory, don’t you?).

I did not choose to feel how I felt. I didn’t say “hey, y’know what’ll really show ’em? I’ll be devastated! Then they’ll be sorry!” That’s not what this is. This is an honest illustration — written just a few hours after the fact — of just one of the stories of people who gave up an awful lot to be there, and who were purposely shafted by a few staff members who knew exactly what they were doing. I’m not the only one to feel exactly like this — I’ve heard from other people in line that night, and their sentiments are remarkably similar.

But good for you, Ryan. You’ve cemented the lesson that’s been taught to me repeatedly in life, and in a big way last week: that being passionate is something to be punished. Because I dared to look up to someone as an inspiration, because I believed in someone through career lows and cheered for him through career highs, and because I allowed myself to be influenced by a man’s work — never asking for *anything* in return — I absolutely deserve to be as overwhelmingly sad as I have been this week. (It was, and remains, sadness — not “enraged”, as much as that characterization adds interest to your story).

And not just sad. That sadness itself needs to be punished too, by ensuring that a bitter stranger characterizing me as “crazy” will be the first thing prospective employers see upon googling me. Yes, I’ve learned my lesson: don’t care deeply about anything, ever.

I stand by everything I wrote about my experience at the Daily Show on election night. I stand by the feelings I illustrated because they were real. And I stand by my expectation of accountability because it’s the right thing to do.


About the Author

is the author of the book Bears & Balls: The Colbert Report A-Z. Called "one of the city’s most discriminating comedy critics” by NOW Magazine, Sharilyn has been covering comedy for longer than she cares to admit. She served as the comedy reporter for Winnipeg's Uptown Magazine for five years, and was the host of the radio show Laugh Tracks for three seasons. Her work has also appeared in the Toronto Star, the Winnipeg Free Press, The Apiary, and on CBC Radio's national comedy programs LOL and Definitely Not the Opera.

26 Responses to Fallout girl

  1. Chica says:

    Considering the response they’ve had so far, I expect they’ll just take that as another piece of evidence toward your supposed craziness. Even if you weren’t such a big fan who followed everything he’s ever done, treating anyone in the line that way was just plain incompetent. And don’t forget on Monday this week they cancelled tapings and didn’t even bother to email those who had tickets to tell them there would be no show!

  2. @ Chica — Thank you. I think what people don’t comprehend is that illustrating my dedication to the show is not meant to show a sense of entitlement. Couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s meant to show how many of us – not just me – viewed this as an important evening, and how/why we were emotional about the outcome. It was never supposed to be just about me. But it’s become that, at the expense of addressing the actual issue. Who knew that standing up and asking someone to do the right thing would be grounds for being dragged through the mud?

    I’m hearing the “7” number thrown around as well… and I would love to know what happened on Monday.

  3. Jessica says:

    I’m fairly certain people showed up on Monday, and were probably very confused and upset that they weren’t told there was no taping.

    There was no excuse for what happened election night, and no excuse for not emailing the folks who secured tickets for Monday’s non-existent taping.

    They’ve dropped the ball and yes, they deserve to be held accountable. There was nothing wrong about the piece you wrote, nothing wrong about wanting an apology. You didn’t demand money or tickets to future tapings, you asked for a simple apology. Anyone who says you’re overreacting, crazy, etc, is just plain wrong.

  4. Bella says:

    Oh girl, you need to let it go. Even if you did not get into The Daily Show for election night, you were in NEW YORK FUCKING CITY!!! You could’ve walked a few blocks to Times Sq., or hopped on a train to Harlem, but instead, you decided to creep outside of the shows’ studio wasting time and energy being an emotional wreck. You could have been experiencing history with HUNDREDS of others, but instead, you decided to spend it lurking outside with a minuscule amount of people.

    You can blame being distraught over not getting into the taping for not being able to rationalize and think on your feet all you want, but chances are, you just didn’t want to go anywhere else. You wanted to stick around to meet Jon Stewart, or catch a glimpse of the supposed V.I.P.’s leaving the studio.

    And to the person who commented saying TDS did not notify anyone about the cancellation of Monday’s show: I’m not sure where you got your information, but I actually originally had tickets to Monday’s taping and was e-mailed WEEKS ago that it was canceled. I was able to book for another time… I’m from out of town and this by no means inconvenienced my life. Consider this like a concert that got postponed.

  5. It’s amazing to me how many people so desperately want this to be my fault.

    The two biggest arguments against my credibility have been the fact that I went to the bar, and the accusation that I’m full of rage and anger (and therefore unstable).

    I made it very clear that what I felt afterwards was sadness. Sadness and disappointment. I suppose flying into a fit of rage would have been more dramatic, but that’s what I feel. Yes, it’s inconvenient for those who want to paint me as a lunatic — which I suppose is why they try so hard to twist my words.

    Why didn’t I go anywhere else? Because I promised Tracey I’d come back for her. She’s my friend, I care about her, and I wasn’t going to ditch her on the chance that the results would be made clear in the 20 minutes I would have had at at Times Square (chances were better that I would have been walking there or back). In fact, I did my very best to enjoy the show across the street — I asked the bartender to turn on Comedy Central for me, with sound, while CNN continued playing on the screen beside it. Given the circumstances, that was the best plan B at my disposal.

    @ Bella — I’m glad you think I was trying to stalk Jon afterwards, because otherwise I might have taken your words seriously. I was waiting for people who know me, as was stated. I’ve met Jon once, and I have said many times that I don’t need to meet him again. In fact, I’ve purposely avoided meeting him a few times over the past couple years because I know how uncomfortable random fan encounters make him. What would be the purpose? None. And as for the glimpse of other VIPs… you vastly underestimate the type of people who impress me.

  6. Chica says:

    You mean you didn’t want to fangirl a relative of someone who worked at Viacom? SPOILSPORT! :P

    It is a bit of a walk to Times Square and considering how late they damn well told Tracey she was getting in (I think she got into the studio 10 minutes before showtime) you wouldn’t have had time to get there and back.

  7. Chica says:


    Someone on livejournal asked the day before taping on Monday what was going on, as she had tickets and received no notification of the cancellation. She had TCR tickets, though.

  8. You mean you didn’t want to fangirl a relative of someone who worked at Viacom? SPOILSPORT! :P

    I have to admit you made me laugh with that. I think you and I are going to end up being fabulous friends.

    It is a bit of a walk to Times Square and considering how late they damn well told Tracey she was getting in (I think she got into the studio 10 minutes before showtime) you wouldn’t have had time to get there and back.

    They didn’t even have time to search her bag — they just took it from her, and she RAN to her seat. As for me, I still had hope of being rescued from the sidewalk at the last minute, at the time not realizing there was no chance of it.

  9. RoadRunner08 says:

    You knew that tickets don’t always guarantee entrance. And you knew that Election Night was going to be one of the biggest in the show’s history. So why did you & your friends make huge international travel plans based solely on the CHANCE of getting into a television show taping?! (And WHY did your friend use her rent money to pay for said trip?!? That’s just stupid & downright irresponsible!!)
    Additionally, what do you feel you are “owed?” You claim it is “the experience of witnessing history take place somewhere other than alone an empty bar on 11th Avenue.” I don’t understand. The Daily Show people can’t go back in a time machine & let you in to the taping. The audience people already offered you VIP tickets to a future date. That seems to be the standard policy. I don’t understand what more you wish to get out of this. No one ever guaranteed that you’d get in. No one ever guaranteed anybody in the ticket line would get in!
    Your experienced SUCKED & I’m sorry you went through all that trouble only to get turned away at the door, but I don’t think you’re really owed anything when it comes to free tickets to a television show taping.
    Lastly, of course you’re going to get a whirlwind of attention– both negative & posible– since you chose to go public with your saga. This could have been done privately, between you & the Daily Show people. But you chose to make this ugly spectacle out of it. And I’m sorry to say that I feel you come off very poorly; as crazed & entitled.

  10. whitedwarf says:

    Do I get that you were disappointed at not getting into TDS? Yes. I would’ve felt sad and disappointed as well, had I been on your position. But that’s no reason to throw a pathetic temper tantrum like some two year old, whining and moaning about how you DESERVE some kind of justice. Give it up, fer cryin’ out loud!! Sh*t like this happens in life! You just have to suck it up, deal with it, then move on, not sit there and boil about it!!

  11. @ RoadRunner08 — precisely why so many of us arrived so early. As for being owed? I think I’ve been quite clear with that — we’re owed a genuine apology that acknowledges how badly they screwed up. I can’t speak for everyone who was there, but that’s what *I* expect at this point. Also, the staff is aware of what happened (actually, they knew way in advance of it happening) and have chosen not to react.

    @ whitedwarf — I finished saying my piece on this blog a full week ago. There’s very little else to say other than clear up the many (many many many) misinterpretations of my words. Before the HuffPo picked it up, I placed the link on two small fan forums — that’s it. A plethora of messageboards, blogs, Gawker, Gothamist, NBC, CBC, and Drudge have all since decided it warrants further attention. If you’re annoyed that it keeps appearing on your news feed, talk to them about “giving it up”.

  12. RoadRunner08 says:

    You seem to be convinced that the staff was hellbent on disappointing all of its fans. How can you be so sure of what they knew & for how long they knew it? That’s very arrogant & presumptuous of you. Every TV show overbooks its audience to ensure a capacity crowd. At least every TV show taping I’ve ever been to. If the Daily Show people knew that only 21 people would get in, they can’t just ask 21 people to show up. They need to have more of a padding. Yes, there seemed to have been a heck of a padding last Tuesday, but I’m sure the Comedy Central VIPs came out of the woodwork for this one, which meant they had to turn away a lot more people in line than they originally had thought… or originally had wanted to. I’m sure they turn people away every day, at every taping. You just happened to have gone on one of the most highly anticipated nights in the show’s history. And you (like many other people) did not get in. It totally, totally sucks, but you have to deal. You weren’t intentionally punished.
    Again, your posts just reek of sour grapes to me. If you had paid for your ticket, I would understand your griping. But you had FREE tickets which don’t guarantee you anything. (I saw someone on HuffPost posted Comedy Central’s legal mumbo jumbo.) So you’re not really OWED anything.

  13. attractivenuisance says:

    Look, Sharilyn, no one who has commented on any of the sites that have picked up the story are saying that anything is your fault. What they’re commenting on is the overall tone of the article. You chose to make the post public (not just the story or the fact that you didn’t get in when you were given what you feel were several assurances that you would). No one forced you to upload it to HuffPost. In fact, you seemed pretty proud of the fact that it was being posted there.

    Honestly, I’m not sure what you expected here. By doggedly pushing this piece to an ever-wider audience, you had to know that it would find a fairly large audience of people who don’t know you. And the text of the piece makes you out to be an obsessed, creepy fan who has managed to obtain phone numbers for staffers who want nothing to do with her. To top it off, the piece suggests that you believe you’re above The Daily Show’s ad-nauseum-stated audience policy, under which even if you’re the first person in line and you’ve been standing there for 24 hours, you are not guaranteed a seat. Even worse, the way you’ve portrayed the event (and, it can’t be understated, yourself) indicates that you additionally believed yourself above these policies because you 1) came a long way; 2) deserve special recognition as a more important fan of the show than the VIPs inside; and 3) have “friends” on the inside.

    From what I read here, you don’t see it that way at all. And that’s fine. But as someone who doesn’t know you and has to base their entire perception of you on this post, that’s how you come across. You obviously had an endgame here; I have to say I don’t think you’re getting the one you wanted.

  14. @ attractivenuisance – The issues I have are exactly the type of things you illustrate in your comment. “obsessed, creepy fan who has managed to obtain phone numbers for staffers who want nothing to do with her” So much wrong with that sentence, I don’t even know where to start. The person I phoned – who I’m sick about even involving in this – gave me his number on his own accord, months ago, and didn’t answer because he’d left the damn phone in his office.

    Did I expect this outcome? Honestly, no, I didn’t think people would be so stupid as to completely miss the point of the post. They instead question my credibility based on my choice of beer, say that I deserve this because I’m retarded for actually being passionate about something, and – as you tried so desperately to do – proclaim that my sense of reality is askew by creating evidence out of thin air.

    Meanwhile, the entire point is being missed. So much so that even after commenting on my blog multiple times, RoadRunner08 is still unwilling to piece together the timeline, do the math, and absorb the details I’ve laid out. They knew.

    But a lineup of fans isn’t a sexy story. A crazy stalker girl is WAY sexy! So is “enraged”, a characterization that was spun out of the sadness/disappointment/hurt that I so clearly conveyed here. Until Gawker decided I should be a lunatic in their story, nobody thought it… so I suppose the biggest surprise is the sheer number of people who believe exactly what the media places infront of them.

  15. RoadRunner08 says:

    Oh I got it as soon as I read it (on HuffPost, admittedly). It just took Gawker to spread it to the masses.

  16. Caroline M. says:

    Wow! What a shitty situation! ):!

  17. Pearl says:

    But you didn’t finish saying your piece on this blog “a full week ago.” Ignoring your recent responses to comments & other people’s blog posts, you posted something this past Monday– just a few days ago– where you’re STILL laying out your case & demanding apologies from Jon Stewart & his staff.

  18. @ Pearl – I’m confused; you’re blaming me for ignoring responses (which I can’t even begin to keep up with elsewhere) and in the same breath calling my credibility into account for providing more detail to people who don’t seem to get it. Can you clarify?

  19. attractivenuisrance says:

    I understand that you are rather emotional about the situation and the fall-out therefrom, but I thought I’d reiterate that I was attempting to explain what a person (such as myself) who doesn’t know you would take away from the piece because of the way it’s written and because of the way the situation was presented.

    The person you called might be your brother, your husband, or your platonic life partner. None of us have any way of knowing that. What we know is that that piece of information, in the context of a post where you refer a few times to “contacts on the inside” and drop the names of people in the audience department, and also emote about your deep love for Jon and Stephen, comes across in a certain way.

    In short, what you wrote and actively disseminated does not convey what you meant it to convey. That is obviously your problem — not the problem of the people whose comments you pretty much actively sought by pushing the piece to an ever-wider audience.

  20. @ attractivenuisrance – Perhaps I gave people too much credit off the top, assuming they’d realize that it’s very normal for fans to know the names of the audience coordinators. It’s not name-dropping any more than referring to Obama is name-dropping.

  21. Pearl says:

    What I meant to say is that, yesterday, Wednesday, in this very comment section, you claimed that you “finished saying [your] piece on this blog a full week ago.” But just two days earlier, on Monday, you had posted an entry thanking your supporters & continuing to state your claim as to why Jon Stewart & his staff owe you an apology. So I was just pointing out that you’re very much hung up on this & that you’re still “saying your piece” more than a week later, even though you stated otherwise.

    (My syntax was poor, but earlier, I meant to point out that I wasn’t taking into account your responses to commenters as well as yesterday’s post about Gawker. I “ignored” them, since they were justified. )

  22. Pearl says:

    Whoops. That second sentence above should have started: “But just ONE DAY earlier, on TUESDAY…..”

  23. attractivenuisrance says:

    Name-dropping the audience coordinators at the Daily Show is only akin to name-dropping Obama in this context if you routinely show up at the White House and say that you asked to speak to Obama when you were told there was no more room on the Fourth of July tour.

  24. attractivenuisrance says:

    And I would wager that there are many millions of Daily Show fans (including myself) who wouldn’t know a Daily Show audience coordinator from Adam, let alone their names. Even ones (including myself) who have been to see the show taped.

    That you think their names are common knowledge is fairly telling. In what universe are the names of a television show’s audience coordinators as commonly known as the name of the U.S. President-Elect?

  25. @ attractivenuisrance – see, again you conveniently misread what I wrote. I didn’t “ask” to see the audience coordinators. Went to look for them at the front of the line in order to get answers, since they were the ones who did this. I wasn’t the only one to do that, incidentally. This whole personality you’ve created for me as a bratty/entitled/overbearing stalker, as fascinating as it is, is based on absolutely nothing.

    As for knowing the names of the coordinators? They’re known to the people dedicated enough to show up that night, that’s for sure. And it’s not just TDS — ask any TCR fan what they’re audience coordinator’s name is, and they’ll recite a full bio.

  26. attractivenuisrance says:

    I suppose it’s not worth reiterating that you have created that bratty/entitled/overbearing stalker image for yourself.

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