The Daily Show host Trevor Noah may have been absent from South by Southwest, but he gave conference and festival attendees something to laugh about.
Comedy Central used its Fake News panel to launch the show’s annual third month mania competition: daring readers to pick the best, ahem, BS, from the past year. The brackets will be challenging: is Donald Trump’s claim “I don’t get to watch much television” a greater stretch of the truth than, say, his boast to have set an all-time record for Time magazine covers?
Harvey Weinstein’s Oct. 5 apology, in which he pledged to channel his anger into “giving the NRA my full attention” makes it into this first round of laughable claims, as does YouTuber Logan Paul’s apology for posting a video of a Japanese suicide victim, claiming he “didn’t do it for the views,” but rather, to raise awareness of the issue.
Correspondent Roy Wood Jr. joined with the show’s digital producers to talk about The Daily Show’s evolution from its nightly incarnation, hosted by Jon Stewart, to an always-on operation that more closely resembles U.S. newsrooms around the country (if journalists could actually say publicly what they thought about the day’s often-absurd news events).
Writer and producer Matt Negrin says the immediacy of Twitter allows the show to offer a timely satiric take on breaking news. When Trump fired FBI Director James Comey last May, Twitter users shared copies of the president’s dismissal letter, which noted, “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.”
“We translated that statement into Russian and put it out,” Negrin said. “It did really well. Thirty minutes later, it might not have done as well.”
Wood says social media provides an outlet for jokes that might not otherwise fit the TV show’s format — as was the case with this Instagram-worthy reaction to O.J. Simpson’s release on parole last fall.
“I can’t go into the writer’s meeting and say, ‘I say O.J.’s out and then nothing else,” Wood said. “Ir doesn’t fit the 11 p.m. slot.”
When Frances McDormand’s Oscar statue was stolen, The Daily Show turned to Twitter with an arch cinematic pun that playfully poked at the actress’ Academy Award winning role.
Daily Show producer Ramin Hedayati said the show has found other ways to employ technology to comedic effect, as when it developed a Make Trump Tweets Eight Again extension for the Chrome browser. The plug-in converts the president’s tweets into the crayon scrawl of a child.
The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library curates the White House occupant’s social media musings, which Hedayati describes as “kind of scrolling madness.” Opened originally in New York, it is currently in Chicago and will make its way to San Francisco in June.
“It’s a cool way to come in and interact with jokes we’ve created,” Hedayati said. “That’s an example of brick and mortar expression off the show.”