I’m officially done with The Daily Show, must-see-TV since the Craig Kilborn days. After Kilborn Jon Stewart brought a whole new level of political satire for his amazing run. Then came Trevor Noah in September of 2015 and I watched each episode, like I always had, but he just isn’t that good. His delivery, his timing, his takes; they’re a massive step down. Four years is enough of a chance so I’m throwing in the towel. If there’s one thing a Trump administration can provide, it’s a windfall for political satire and The Daily Show is a C at best under Trevor Noah. He doesn’t have it. If Jon Stewart was an A+, this guy is at best a C.
That’s not to say there aren’t some funny and redeeming moments to the current iteration of The Daily Show. The best part is the correspondents, but there aren’t enough segments with them and only half of their segments are good. Ronny Chieng, Desi Lydic and Roy Wood Jr. give the audience salty, edgy and fierce takes that bring the right mix of contemplation and belly laughter. Give them an A. But Michael Kosta, Dulce Sloan and Jaboukie Young-White, who they trot out from the farm leagues of comedy, give them a cable D. That’s a network F.
So where do we turn? We had Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert teaming up for over a decade of nightly gems, but they’ve moved on. John Oliver is an A+. Give Samantha Bee, Bill Maher and Jim Jeffries a B+ or an A-. However, they’re all weekly, not nightly. Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update has its moments, but it’s weekly too, and more often than not a C at best.
At the volume and pace of Trump gaffs and controversies we need nightly polemics. The Seth Myers segment A Closer Look is worth a YouTube watch, but he’s a C. Has that guy ever looked comfortable in front of a camera? He’s a stiff. The monologues on Jimmy Kimmel are a B and Stephen Colbert can still bring the A game, yet despite turning The Late Show toward more political hilarity Colbert could be served by bringing back some of the funnier recurring segments from Colbert Report, like The Word or Better Know A District.
So looking at all that, what does that leave us with? Piecing together random segments from Colbert, Kimmel and Seth Myers? That’s all we have on a nightly basis in the Trump era, seriously?
What can fill the void? Cosplay network executive with me for a moment. Looking in-house, what about swapping out Trevor Noah with Roy Wood Jr as the host of The Daily Show? Between Roy Wood Jr’s stand-up specials, his appearances on This Is Not Happening, This Week At The Comedy Cellar and his segments on The Daily Show he’s shown the cutting barbs and acumen to deliver. Go to YouTube and check out a few of his segments for proof.
Here’s another option to consider: Conan O’Brien. Hear me out. Conan was at the top of his game as the host of Late Night from 1993 to 2009. He along with Jon Stewart and David Letterman brought the best political humor to television back then. He’s got all the qualities you need for this: he’s edgy, non-traditional, emotional, adept on his feet, witty, interesting and importantly, genuinely funny. Those are the plaudits. On the other hand, since that The Tonight Show debacle that eventually landed him on his TBS talk show since 2010, aptly named Conan, he’s kind of gone downhill, gradually declining into a state of cultural irrelevance. Case in point, his show was reduced to a half-hour format, without a band… or the ability to book A-list guests. It’s sunk to a C as Conan’s gotten stale. It’s underscored by instances when he falls back on bits from decades past for hacky, cheap laughs. See the string dance routine as evidence.
That’s not a good recommendation for Conan, I know, but he’s still really funny when he’s inspired. Have you seen him as a guest on other talk shows? He talked about being inbred on Stephen Colbert. Have you seen any Conan Without Borders specials? There are brilliant, doubled-over with laughter moments, particularly when he’s mocking his producer Jordan Schlansky.
So what if hosting a politically satirical news program brought him back into greater cultural significance? An impassioned Conan could bring delicious political humor with the momentum of The Daily Show circa Jon Stewart. Conan has A+ potential. We’ve seen it. So TV executives, bring on... the O’Brien Report? Or if not, just bring us something better than we've currently got.
10/27/2022 02:45:21 pm
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