Over the last seven years, Jon Stewart's laser-sharp political humor has moved him from journeyman comic to cable host.
Now, he will embrace the role of master of ceremonies on the biggest night in showbiz -- the Oscars.
"I will say this," said Stewart, the host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." "This will probably be the most controversial Oscars ever in the history, and I wouldn't be surprised to see, I don't want to say street violence afterward, but certainly unrest. I don't want to use the word coup, but it could get pretty ugly and that's just not a cynical ploy to get people to watch because I will have six minutes up there."
Stewart will spend Sunday night with a galaxy of stars, but it will be a rare night out for a guy who says his idea of a good time is doing crossword puzzles with his wife, Tracey McShane.
"I was never allowed into those parties earlier in my career," he said. "Now, now it turns out at just the time I'm allowed into them, I'm 43 and no longer interested."
He just hopes he can enjoy what may be the biggest night of his career so far.
"I really hope I'm able to enjoy this," Stewart said, "'cause you know, you never know if it will happen again and the idea that you're allowed to do something that Steve Martin and [David] Letterman and [Johnny] Carson did is, you know, for me, you know, you just want to honor that tradition."
As an entertainer, Stewart falls somewhere between purebred television hosts like Carson and Letterman, and actors like Martin and Billy Crystal. He's done a dozen movies, but the co-star of "Death to Smoochy" shows little inclination to pursue more serious roles.
"I know the difference between people who can really act and people in movies," Stewart said. "I've been in movies. These people can act. It's a whole different world, you know, which is one of the reasons why I'm hosting and not sitting in the audience, waiting for my name to be called."
"Let me put it this way," he added. "They can do the 'Jon Stewart Story' and I'm not sure I would be cast."
The joker admitted he was a little nervous for his big night, saying he felt like he "could be in for a good, old-fashioned, show-business a---kicking."
So, does he have a pregame ritual?
"Yeah, I kill a chicken," he said. "I have a chicken brought to me, and I do an incantation and then I kill it. And then I stand over it and taunt it. And then when that is done, I put on my overalls and I walk right out."