The perceptively funny satirists who are the “correspondents” of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.” are thrilled to be out of their living room and back in their pre-pandemic studio interacting with the host and the audience. During the pandemic, Noah hosted the satire of the nightly news from his New York apartment with his sidekicks appearing via Zoom. In September 2021, the show moved to a new studio in Time Square without an audience. And finally, they returned to their regular studio and welcomed audiences this past April
“It’s good to have people laughing back in the studio,” said Roy Wood, Jr. “It makes you remember, oh yeah, the jokes are working now because when we were doing the show in Times Square, we didn’t have an audience. There’s cadence and rhythm to live comedy, especially in the studio. You don’t want to rely on crew laughs.”
Return to the studio, said Ronnie Chieng, felt like “hand-in-glove again. It felt exactly the same because we’re back in the same studio that we were before the pandemic. I think, like, my lasagna was still on my desk. I ate it.”
Desi Lydic quipped she had to pay her young son in candy to set up a dolly shot on his scooter and “run camera for me so we could have a nice slider shot. I had my husband holding my reflector light. It was like an all-hands-on-deck situation. Uploading, upgrading the WIFI-it was a lot. So, now to be able to back in our studio, to our home…we have a full crew whose professional job is to be really good producing something. It’s such a luxury.”
Michael Kosta enjoys getting nervous once again before performing in front of a live audience. “It’s not that there weren’t little butterflies when there wasn’t an audience, but I’m fine letting the crew and Trevor down! But when it’s 300 tourists, who have flown in from Germany and Kansas to watch ‘The Daily Show,’ you really want to do a good job!”
The pandemic was a major creative period for the correspondents. Several of the sketches that began during the pandemic, “we’ve been able to keep that were a brainchild during the shutdown,” said Wood, whose popular Black in Business started via Zoom. “Desi, if I’m not mistaken Foxsplain was a remote?”
The spot-on spoof of Fox News features Lydic allegedly watching hundreds upon hundreds of hours of the conversative news network to explain things happening in the world such as the reason why Putin invaded Ukraine. “In a weird way, it gave us a lot of liberty and freedom to be able to explore different ways of making content,” said Lydic. “Foxsplain was something that we were forced to come up with because it’s like what can I shoot with a ring light and an iPhone against my plain wall in my apartment.
So, the big question: What is it like working with Noah?
“His brain is constantly working,” offered Wood. “The man has like nine tabs open. I’d say what I always respect about Trevor is his ability to remain calm within something that should get you emotionally fired up. It doesn’t mean he’s not angry, but he knows where to put that and still try to figure out what the show is for that particular day.”
Lydic finds him to be “incredibly thoughtful” about any topic and “puts himself in the position of each person or side. He’s very thoughtful and very thorough that way. It’s something I haven’t really seen in anyone else.” “I’ve never seen him blow up about anything,” noted Chieng. “I’ve seen everyone on this panel other than Michael blow up. But I’ve never seen Trevor lose his cool ever. Like ever.” “And then that creates all of these moments of humor and compassion,” concluded Wood.
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