The long-running series celebrates its fifth anniversary in September with Noah as host.
These days, comedy news broadcasts have become an indispensable part as they deliver accurate information to viewers with the much-needed dose of ease. But aside from remote work, how many shows have drastically changed their format to cope with the current situation? Such was the case with Comedy Central & # 39; s "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah".
The long-running series, which celebrates its fifth anniversary in September with Noah as the host, has changed its duration, information and intimacy to create a beacon in the darkest of times.
"We basically did a new show using the DNA of the old show," longtime staff writer Dan Amira told IndieWire. Working from home to create a "socially distant" take on the show was just the beginning, and for showrunner Jennifer Flanz, that was enough to make her believe it would be impossible.
As the first late night show to return in the middle of the pandemic, "The Daily Show" reduced the series to the essentials. Gone were the eye-catching graphics, and in their place was a camera on Noah's face. Interviews with famous guests and the show's correspondents were conducted through Zoom. The series also realized that there was so much to say that they expanded the typical 30-minute series into 45-minute episodes.
The result was six Primetime Emmy nominations and a greater impact on the audience and the crew themselves.
"I would love to pretend the show is an altruistic act during the pandemic and only meant for people, but the truth is I use the show to deal with it too," Noah said via e- Mail to IndieWire. "I spent five months in my apartment and during those times I searched every message for hope. If anything, I use the show as a group therapy session to connect with people around me who are experiencing the same thing."
Director David Paul Meyer also stands up for Noah because he can balance the ease and the news in such a way that the show is a safe place for people who might be confused and scared.
"A lot of it is that Trevor digs deep and is so honest, authentic and real," he said. The focus is less on jokes, although those are always important, and more on assigning the camera to Noah to let him speak. "You literally get Trevor Noah to sit for days and think about it. He has to say something and just talks to him," said Meyer.
When the global pandemic peaked in America, The Daily Show was the first late night show to feature a conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Health. "We were very lucky that Dr. Fauci wanted to come on our show," said Flanzer. In fact, Fauci approached the show to do an interview because he knew that the target audience of various teenagers was the ones who needed to know the facts.
But it's one thing, an interview like Dr. To guide Fauci. It's a different thing to record in the early days of a global pandemic. Meyer recalled earning an Emmy nomination for his directing: "Things changed every day." The original plan, he said, was for a team working with Fauci in DC to record at the NIH federal building who would record the footage and then send it to the crew of The Daily Show for editing. But the day before the recording, the building itself was closed and no one was allowed in. The group then had to move on to recording the entire conversation over Skype.
"I went to film school and they taught us that it's nice to have these big budgets, the full crew and everything, but can you make a movie if it's just you?" Said Meyer. “Although film school was incredibly expensive for me and I'll be paying back those student loans forever, reluctantly I should email some of my professors and tell them they were right, if you throw this in the fire, you make a real one Filmmakers. & # 39; ”
Regardless of the fighting, the interview with Fauci was a defining moment for everyone.
"When we first spoke to Dr. Fauci, I knew what a big deal this pandemic was, but I had no idea how difficult it would be to contain it," Noah said. “I thought a few weeks of good behavior would get us back on the streets and lead our normal lives, but that dream has been completely shattered. In many ways, that experience has affected the way I will treat the rest of the year – one day at a time and lovingly, as if this is the only reality I have ever known. "
Even Meyer was impressed with the power of the interview. His own parents, who weren't regular "Daily Show" viewers, texted him to let him know how helpful the interview was during this uncertainty.
In addition to the pandemic itself, the show also had to steer the ongoing discussions about race battles and police brutality. After several shootings by unarmed blacks, the series, which has always praised diversity, had to find a way to approach it.
"Trevor had a conversation with us and we were actually on a hiatus when the process started and it was, 'How are we going to go about this? "Said Dulcé Sloan, correspondent for the Daily Show.
In addition, Sloan was on the front lines to speak about our new vice presidential candidate, Kamala Harris. "This is a historic moment," said Sloan. “I never thought it would happen. I didn't think there would be a black woman to run for vice presidency. "
"The Daily Show" airs at 11pm on weekdays. ET on Comedy Central.