Tonight on Reunited, hosted by Jon Stewart: Anne Frank!
Jon announces her name after a witty monologue in front of blue curtains. He sits at the desk and waits for her.
She emerges from behind the blue curtains and the place goes bonkers.
Her face registers something between rapture and terror. She fiddles with the hem of her dress and nods at the audience with a giddy, frightened smile as Jon beckons her over to a seat on the couch next to his desk.
She sits down and keeps smiling at everyone, looking just like the pictures everyone has seen. Her hair is jet black and fluffy and shoulder-length, combed back from her forehead, wide-spread on either side of her face like a pair of black wings. She is a portrait of gawky, awkward adolescence, her hips like a hanger dangling askew in a closet, her elbows sharp and her knees round and her eyes wide. She wears a pretty white dress. The cheers continue.
When the audience finally quiets down, Jon Stewart asks Anne how she is.
“I’m just fine, thank you,” she says. Her voice is high and spoken with a touch of nasality through her sharp nose, tinged with a thick Dutch accent. She was only taught English in the hours before, soon after being regenerated. “How are you?”
“I’m good, thanks,” says Jon with that wolfish grin of his. “Uh, I have to say, it is a tremendous honor to be speaking to you, Ms. Frank. I’ve had a lot of people on here, and I always say it’s an honor, but I’ve only actually meant it for like three of them.”
The audience laughs. Anne giggles.
“But it is an absolute honor to be able to talk to you.”
Anne keeps smiling, her head bobbing between her shoulders, simultaneously loving the attention and trying to control her nerves.
“Thank you,” she says again. “It’s an honor to talk to you.”
“So, uh, you wrote a diary,” he says, and Anne visibly winces at its mention. “You may have heard that it’s become quite popular in recent years.”
The audience laughs and scattered cheers are heard.
“People have absolutely fallen in love with you. Why don’t you tell us about it?”
The audience dissolves into applause again as Anne sits there on the couch smiling with her hands in her lap and her feet nervously kicking out and in like a kid on a swing. She fidgets, eyes darting back and forth from the cameras and the lights to Jon’s face.
“Um,” she says. “Yes, I saw it in a shop once and my father got it for me for my 13th birthday… and I started writing in it… and I did so for three years…”
The interview goes on and everyone beams down at the young girl like a beloved relative they haven’t seen in years. She’s been gone for decades, and now she’s back and making her public debut thanks to the miracle of technology. It’s as if she never left. She has been regenerated exactly as she was when she died, albeit without the ravages of the horrific malnourishment and scabies and typhoid she suffered in Bergen-Belsen.
The chatty, whip-tongued young girl that everyone has known from the diary comes through in flashes, in particular for one moment when Jon mentions her relationship with Peter van Pels.
She turns bright red and puts her hands in her face and takes them away again.
“Well, you would have too if that was all you had to do!” she exclaims.
The audience and Jon roar laughter.
“We’ll be regenerating him sometime next week,” says Jon. “Is that right? From what I hear?”
“I believe so,” said Anne.
“What’s the first thing you’ll say to him?”
“Do not read my diary.”
The audience roars laughter again.
“In fact,” says Anne. “I wasn’t expecting anyone to read the entire thing. I would have submitted pieces of it for publication, but there was a lot in there that I don’t think anyone would ever want anybody else to read if they had written it.”
“Well, you can see everyone loves you now,” said Jon.
“Yes, but,” says Anne, and it’s clear she’s troubled. “It’s rather humiliating, frankly, to have talked about my family members and my own body in such ways and then to have the entire world know about it… I would not have expected that…”
Jon quickly changes the subject.
The interview lasts about half an hour, and when it’s over Jon asks Anne what she’ll be doing.
“I want to finally go to journalism school,” says Anne. “I want to be a journalist and I want to write.”
“Will you write another diary?” Jon asks.
Anne narrows her eyes at him.
“If I do,” she says. “Absolutely no one will be allowed to read it.”
The laughter and cheers seem like they’ll never end. Jon bids her farewell and she walks offstage and the show’s over and it leaves you with a really nice feeling in your heart.
Jon announces his guest next week will be Freddie Mercury.