Episode 1: Jonny Vliet
Guests: Jonny Vliet
Creepy Doll: None
Funniness: ( 3 out of 5)
Crudity: Pretty clean
None of us exactly remember the date it all began. I believe it was early 2001 because we taped the first 14 episodes before I moved from Minnesota to Michigan in July. I may not remember the date exactly but I do remember how it happened. Jonny Vliet, my good friend, was hanging out at my house for one reason or another. It was most likely after school one evening because he would on occasion zip on over after school to hang out. We had been chilling downstairs probably working on some video project or another when we got a wee bit hungry and decided to raid the kitchen. Upon getting some snacks, such as Toasted Oatmeal squares, we sat on opposite sides of the bar in my kitchen and started doing an improve bit interview style. I got a small cheap mic out and pretended I was interviewing him on a radio show. After a few minutes of joking around coming up with funny bits, it dawned on us, “why pretend when we could actually record ourselves, and if anything was funny we would have it saved, and if not well…. It would disappear into the Giant House vault along with oh so many other strange videos.
However interesting the original episode was/is, to be honest what you are hearing is not exactly the original. Several problems arose from that episode, primarily in its name. I wanted to make it sort of a Larry King live type of show so I renamed it after myself, Steven. At that point late night with Steven King was born. It was not until an embarrassingly long time later that I realized I had named the show after the famous horror novelist. Sigh. So there it was recorded on tape and I felt stupid. Some time later say, I don’t know, two to three months later, I re-recorded the beginning and edited out any references to Steven King, you can tell when the original episode starts when you hear me clap for Jonny coming on the show. Also there is some weirdness because, as I said, I had to edit out any time Jonny called me Steven King and change it to just plan ol Steve. So really there is never any mention about name Starlight Steve in this episode. Also later on we knew the producers name was supposed to be Max so I threw in a piece about him asking me to do a show, and the “why…. Me….” part in the opening, really I don’t know what I was thinking other than that sort of summarizes the character throughout the show. “Why do I keep getting stuck with these creepy guests?” He would say to his diary if he kept one. However in all of this there are a few references still to Steven King and Jonny getting him confused with the Starlight Steve character. Which if you think about it, it would really make no since whatsoever for him to confuse the two of us just because we share the same first name, unless you know this story.
It’s so strange to listen to this one and realize all of the classic Starlight Steve elements that are missing. Other than, as I mentioned before, having no reference to Starlight Steve, there is no crazy character name. (I think the idea was to have more people be on the show and all play themselves. --- that went out the window pretty quickly.) Also there is no creepy doll, commercial, or “have safe travels wherever you may go” line at the end. It is interesting for me to go back and see an episode without all the staple SLS moments. But this is nonetheless the episode that went from a whim to a legend… well at least a well running series. However in all the experiences I have had with Starlight Steve, finding out which parts hold lasting quotable quotes is the most exciting. This episode certainly has a few. “A new battle everyday.” That is one of the biggest joys I get out of doing an episode is having people quote it years later. Because really in life I am always trying to find the right place to fit in a Starlight Steve quote, and sometimes you just need a good quote to get you through the day.
When we started to believe that this show could actually be entertaining for others to listen to, when we decided to edit it, and after that make more episodes and push the limits, it was then and only then the show was born.
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