At 15 or so, Sam Means encountered his first racial epithet, overhearing somebody use Jew as a pejorative verb. ”It didn’t offend me — it was shocking but not in a horrifying way,” says Means, who at 26 is the youngest staff writer on The Daily Show (and also Jewish). ”It was more like, ‘Wow, people actually think that? How ridiculous of them!”’
Now, writing as a made-up old white professor named C.H. Dalton (think Stephen Colbert if he were deeply, deeply racist), Means has produced A Practical Guide to Racism, a faux textbook on the difference between races (think America (The Book), if it were really, really offensive). He’s even posting videos of fake lectures by Dalton, who’s played by former Daily Show correspondent Dan Bakkedahl (on apracticalguidetoracism.com).
”Obviously, the whole book is absurd,” says Means, who in person is more of a soft-spoken, shaggy-haired writer than a blustering blowhard in the Dalton mode. ”Hating Merpeople makes as much sense as hating anybody else, which is why I threw in the whole chapter on Merpeople.”