Trevor Noah had never hosted The daily show without Donald Trump as president or being a candidate until yesterday.
The comedian began hosting the Comedy Central show on September 28, 2015, two months after the former host of Celebrity apprentice got off the Trump Tower escalator to announce his candidacy.
Jen Flanz, showrunner and executive producer, tells Deadline that the team is now hoping they can have time to cover stories that don’t involve Donald Trump.
“What we’re looking forward to, and I’m not sure that will happen, but I think it will, is that the news cycle won’t be completely driven by Trump’s Twitter or the layoff. from someone, ”she said. . “This type of news is a total adrenaline rush but also exhausting and at one point gets a little boring because it’s more or less the same thing. We can’t wait to be able to talk about many different topics and to have a little more time to be able to develop things.
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Flanz, who has worked on the show for over 20 years, says there are a lot of issues, including racism, sexism and misogyny, that she would like Noah and his team of penpals to put themselves on. teeth in 2021.
For example, she would like Michael Kosta, a big fan of lakes and oceans, to focus on environmental issues and do more segments like If you don’t know, now you know.
“There’s so much to cover and I think we’re dying to cover a lot of those things… but we’ve had less air time to do it,” she says. “We know what types of stories we hope to cover next year, but obviously we follow the news cycle, so the stories we want to cover will continue to be challenged for the stories we feel we need to cover. . “
She adds that there are a lot of things they had planned four years ago when everyone expected Hillary Clinton to become president and that an “ordinary” presidency would allow the show to speak. bigger problems.
But, she admits, 2021 is a difficult year to plan given the ongoing pandemic. “It’s a difficult year to predict,” she said. “Even without Trump, things are changing every second because of Covid and the situation in the country.”
Noah still presents the show from his home in New York City and it is produced remotely. Flanz said they are constantly re-evaluating how they are doing the show, but doesn’t expect that to change anytime soon.
“Some shows came back and had to come home, which was part of my fear, confusing the viewer. We chose to do it to do it that way and I don’t blame anyone for doing it in any way that they do, I just think for us we figured out how to make a show that our fans love and that protects. everybody. It’s great until it’s safe to come back, which I think is when people are vaccinated, ”she added.
The show, which went from half an hour to 45 minutes in April, is performing well despite the pandemic.
Much of that growth is happening online with interviews with Dr Fauci and Governor Cuomo reaching nearly 50 million views with his best online performance in 2020 thanks to clips such as The Heroes of The Pandumbic and his latest. viral video Saluting The heroes of the insurgency.
Ramin Hedayati, a supervising producer on the show who is in charge of its digital expansion team, said, “Whenever we can synthesize what’s going on and put it out in a video and get people to focus on it. a particular subject or area of interest is ideal. . “
One of the perks of the digital team is more of a smooth timeline than the linear show – they can post content immediately, for example, following a specific tweet, or let an idea creep in for a few days for a while. that they are doing it right. “When we have a few extra days to sit down with something, it benefits the piece that we end up producing,” he added.
One of the show’s most viral stars is Jordan Klepper, who has spent much of the past four years spending time with Trump supporters. Music videos like him attending a Trump boat rally, a Covid rally and the Million Maga March as well as the recent Capitol uprising, have garnered hundreds of millions of views for the brand.
Hedayati said you could sense in Klepper’s performance that the Capitol Chaos had a different vibe and energy than other events he had been to. Comedy Central provided the former host of The opposition with Jordan Klepper additional security for this segment, which was first uploaded before being shown on the show. “They weren’t messing around and you could smell it in the air,” Flanz said.
She added that the show would continue to use Klepper even if Trump is no longer president. “We will take it as it comes. I think there will be more Trump rallies and we will want to know what people on this side are thinking. There are a lot of things that Trump has touched on in the past four years that are largely flawed, so how do we move forward from here? Things in this country are never perfect but they are worse now so how can we get better and I think Jordan is really a good person to look at this stuff, ”she said.
Digital growth had an impact on the way Flanz and his team put together the linear show. She said it sometimes informs how they would structure an act on the show or break up a segment to make sure each clip works as a stand-alone piece. “We [no longer] Expect someone to sit in front of their TV for 45 minutes and watch the show as a whole. It’s fine if they have that 45 minute experience, but for the most part, we’re assuming it will all be seen in clips everywhere.
Last year, producers were also pushing to expand the show even further – from 45 minutes to an hour. However, this has become trickier in a Covid world, so Flanz says that plan is currently on hold. “It’s very difficult to shoot with our correspondents in the field and it’s very difficult to shoot a sketch where we can all be together because of the constraints of Covid, so it’s difficult to shoot as much content as we would like during a hour. Right now we’re down to 45 minutes. When we made this shot, I think we thought we were going to go back to the studio. Like all plans, it has become “let’s wait and see what happens”. Who makes more plans? We’ll see. It would be a really tough lift given the way we’re doing the show right now, ”she said.
Take every day and every week as they come seems to be The daily show mantra now. “Everyone is hopeful and upbeat, but a little nervous about being too excited about making all these plans to do things on the show when you don’t know what’s going on. happen, ”she said. “It’s hard to think that everything will change now that Biden is inaugurated and it will be sunshine and happiness. We’re still dealing with a huge health issue that’s going to turn into a huge economic issue, so I don’t think we’re dancing yet, but I hope one day we will.