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Monday
Nov102008

A Potentially Regrettable Evening with The Daily Show Writers @ The Paley Center - 11.7.8 - By: Sharilyn Johnson

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L-R: Jason Ross, John Oliver, Adam Lowitt, Rob Kutner, DJ Javerbaum, and moderator David Remnick

For a group of men forced to watch CNN as much these guys, you'd expect to catch at least a faint whiff of broken spirits coming off the Daily Show's creative team. Not so in the case of producers DJ Javerbaum, Rory Albanese, and Adam Lowitt; writers Tim Carvell, J.R. Havlan, Rob Kutner, Jason Ross, and Steve Bodow; and correspondent/writers Wyatt Cenac and John Oliver. Perhaps it was just the relief of the election being over, but at this potentially regrettable evening at the Paley Center, the discussion showed no signs of world-weariness. Just a bunch of guys acting very much like a bunch of comedy writers: hilarious, remarkably quick, and making us wonder if science is any closer to perfecting Jeff Goldblum's telepod so we can spend our lives hanging out on the writers' room wall.

Among the clips presented was John Oliver's piece from the DNC, previously discussed by Samantha Bee at the New Yorker Festival. Oliver's discomfort was apparent while he watched himself chant "Osama" amid a group of Obama supporters, and afterwards he confirmed the difficulty of experiencing a real moment of history with the sole purpose of undermining it. "You have to remember why you're there, and sort of man up a bit," he said.

If you want to be on The Daily Show, just be yourself. Albanese scouted Cenac at a Los Angeles audition, and was taken by how strongly his personality came through. He said that too many people come into a Daily Show audition trying to play a slick newscaster. Cenac's first aired piece was one he'd written up as part of the hiring process. The line that got the Daily Show folks excited? "I'm bored."

Cenac's popular Senior Citizens Watch the Debate field piece was actually something of a part two. Many of the same Florida seniors appeared in Baruch Obama, with Cenac asking Clinton supporters what it would take to get them on Obama's side. The unsung hero of both pieces was "Art," an opinionated gentleman whose newfound fame after the first appearance resulted in him turning up with new teeth and a tan for the second.

Reported correspondent departures: According to Oliver, Rob Riggle will leave the show in December for his CBS sitcom deal. Jason Jones and Samantha Bee, who have a similar deal with CBS, will be staying with TDS until further notice.

Adam Chodikoff, the producer responsible for finding all those fantastic clips of politicians contradicting themselves, joined the discussion briefly from his seat in the audience. The specifics of his research tools weren't spilled, but Javerbaum insists the secret is simply "his noggin'."

John Oliver, asked whether he's the voice of the Geico gecko: "I cannot believe I have to refute this further."

Going forward, what will the Daily Show do without Bush in the White House? Says Javerbaum, "we're ending the show. Nothing will be funny again."

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Reader Comments (2)

Sweet! It's always exciting to see a group of people who are super in love with what they do. I saw Oliver do standup recently, and he talked about being the gecko. Now, I'm confused.
November 10, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersoce
So is the Daily Show still having problems finding female writers? Do they even have a non-white on staff?
November 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJack

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