“It’s either a gift from Jesus or a gift from Satan. We’re trying to figure out who it’s from”
The Daily Show alum discusses her show, Full Frontal, and the good fortune of its birth during this presidential election
Isn’t this a really good year to be in political comedy?
It’s either a gift from Jesus or a gift from Satan. We’re trying to figure out who it’s from. It’s fascinating. You could not have asked for … When we were pitching this show to TBS, and you have all your documents there about what you want the show to look like, we could never have anticipated that the field would be what it is. That it has honed down to [Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump]. It’s fascinating. I’m really excited to see what happens.
You’ve already been renewed, haven’t you? Congratulations. Have you even settled into a routine?
Thank you so much. Wednesday is the day when we start to dig into stories a little more deeply. I already know what the field element will be like by Monday. We actually met with [Libertarian presidential nominee] Gary Johnson this week. We did a whole interview. I hope we’re not giving anything away. The timing couldn’t be better.
So you just want to do more of what you do?
We’ll eventually work our way through this presidential election, and then next year we’ll have a president in place we know we’ll have for four years. … Either the first [woman or first] whatever. … So I think it will evolve naturally. We don’t really have an agenda for ourselves. Certainly we enjoy what we’re doing. We’re so new at it, really. I think we’d like to enjoy it a little while.
Does everyone who was on The Daily Show now assume they’ll get their own time slot someday?
So many have, and they’re great at it. But I don’t think everyone thinks that. I love Jon [Stewart]. Toward the end, it was really a grind. You could feel the weight of all those years. It’s not like you would think, “Oh, it’s pure glory.” He was very much into the nuts and bolts of the show, and for good reason. And he was nurturing. He always encouraged me to dig deeper into my own point of view, and that was important.
One thing that makes Full Frontal different is all the field pieces you do.
Doing the show once a week gives me that freedom. I do love to go out in the world. I did that for Jon. I’m doing it differently for myself. It was an incredible training ground. My takeaway from that is that I don’t really need to strictly adhere to a format. There was a pretty routine format to those stories that we all came to know really well. But we don’t have to do that now. I don’t have to pretend that I’m a reporter anymore.
Tell me about switching to weekly— and going to air on Mondays.
What we have to do is sit back from the daily news. It’s more of an analysis of the week that’s passed and what we think is coming in the future. It’s actually freeing. We had nothing to do with the scheduling of the show, so when we learned that we were scheduled for Mondays, we thought, “Oh, this is a tragedy. How can you do a show at the beginning of the week? Nothing’s happened yet!” But it gives you the freedom to sit back, watch the patterns, watch the stories that are emerging in a more long-term way. What we thought was a huge handicap is actually an asset.
You’re Canadian. Maybe you can explain the connection between Canada and all those comedians.
Oh yeah, a lot of great comedians have come out of Canada. There are great comedians still in Canada. They just don’t have a lot of opportunities to shine. Or to come here. So there are untold riches, you know— since I decided not to become an attorney, which I think we’re all grateful for.
“Oh, this is a tragedy. How can you do a show at the beginning of the week? Nothing’s happened yet!”
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