Daily Show cast shares difficulties of reporting at home and their hopes for America’s future
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we do so many things, and late-night television is no different.
EW gathered all the correspondents of Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Trevor Noah — Roy Wood Jr., Desi Lydic, Ronny Chieng, Dulcé Sloan, Michael Kosta, Jaboukie Young-White — for the latest edition of our Around the Table series to discuss how they've adjusted to reporting from their living rooms.
When the pandemic first hit, Wood Jr. says The Daily Show faced the same question that every other show did: When can we go back to filming episodes? But unlike some other shows, The Daily Show made its return to TV really quickly. "Probably like a week after we shut down, we get the email from Trevor [that says], 'Yeah, we’re making a show next week. I got a camera in my house and we’re just all gonna figure this out together. Make sure you have a meeting and start pitching pieces,'" Wood Jr. recalls.
He remembers thinking, "I’m sorry, I’m out fighting for toilet paper! I didn’t know we were still making a television show." But he credits host Trevor Noah with their quick return. "We were the first show back, and I think that’s just a testament to Trevor, because he understands that it’s crazy sometimes. The show is important, people need information, we provide it with a joke or two, so let's just figure it out. And we’ve just been building the plane in the air ever since."
Chieng agrees, saying, "We adapted pretty quick. I think at The Daily Show, as unprecedented as the situation was, we’re all kind of used to being called at the last minute to do some pretty unconventional things." He says it's also a testament to the production team behind the show that the transition worked so well.
The unexpected changes to production did come with some benefits though. "The bookings that we’re able to get now, we have a little more freedom that way," Lydic says. "People tend to be more available when you can spend 20 minutes with them over Zoom." Some notable names they've been able to nab during this crazy time include New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Mariah Carey.
In the nearly 40-minute conversation, the correspondents also discuss planning for the election news cycle, their coverage of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor's deaths, the benefits of their show's diverse cast and crew, and more. They end on their hopes for America's future as the 2020 election looms.
"Regardless of who the president is, the police are going to keep murdering Black and brown people," Sloan says. "I can only be truly concerned about a few things because regardless of who is in the White House, the police are going to keep killing us. So when we get that figured out, then I can really start believing more in the United States of 'Murica."
Chieng wants to leave viewers with a message of hope. "This is still the country where we can do a show like this, and we can make fun of the president every day," he says. "And I think that means this is a country that’s capable of self-critique, and because of that self-critique I think it’s probably the country most able to have self-change as well. So I’m gonna try and leave it on an optimistic note like that."
For more with the Daily Show correspondents, watch the full Around the Table video above, and be sure to check out the show's live one-hour election night episode “Votegasm 2020: What Could Go Wrong? (Again),” which is set to air on Comedy Central at 11:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. PT.
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