Katz has comedian's tongue

NEW YORK — Jon Stewart wasn’t laughing much at Comedy Central’s “Millennium Party,” sponsored by the comedian’s “Daily Show.”

A glum Stewart wandered onstage Thursday night, where, presumably, he was going to perform for partygoers who had been promised a “special performance.” Instead, Stewart used the limelight to pay homage to his former colleague Eileen Katz, who ankled the comedy cabler two days earlier after being snubbed for the top programming job.

“I want to thank Eileen Katz, who couldn’t be here tonight, for all of her hard work and support,” said Stewart in his short speech. Before fading into the crowd, Stewart added, “I want to thank Eileen because she gave me my first job.”

Stewart came to the cable network in part because of Katz, who had overseen his short-lived MTV chatshow. But he’s not about to abandon the network to show solidarity for Katz. Stewart’s cushy contract, which reportedly pays him an annual salary of $1 million plus and allows him to appear in movies, runs through 2003.

“Everyone at Comedy Central thought it was really classy for Jon to honor Eileen,” said a source at the network. Still, a few jokes would have been nice.

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