Welcome to The Daily Show
“I’ll give you my energy and I want yours in return, welcome to The Daily Show!” With that the lights turn down, there is a hush over the audience and the first few beats of Bruno Mars’s "24K Magic" comes over the loudspeaker. For all intents and purposes, my day is done. There are no more snacks to buy, shoots to go on or kitchens to clean. This is the moment where the work from every team, writer, field, accountant, audience coordinator, and researcher blend in perfect harmony for one hour. It is time for comedy and politics to merge into something that feels hard hitting but humorous; approachable yet thought provoking and, amazingly, wind up in peoples’ homes and on their laptops to be laughed at and debated the next morning. At that moment, the memory of running after taxicabs because you forgot the office supplies on the seat next to you melt away and it all feels worth it.
Being an intern at The Daily Show is as unglamorous as you would expect it to be. The majority of my daily tasks required me to prepare food, wipe down surfaces, refill anything from candy bowls to printer paper, or drive to Brooklyn to pick up nametags for a joke that will last for less than ten seconds — if you’re lucky it airs in the first place. Oh, and don’t forget to smile at everyone, even if you’re drenched in your own sweat after picking up lunch, but don’t smile too much or for too long for fear of looking creepy (an actual critique we received during our mid term reviews). By now, I could tell you more about Trevor Noah’s snacking habits than his comedic process. I could tell you which kind of cereal Joe in the writing wing likes before I could describe exactly what it is that Jen Flanz does as an executive producer that makes the show so successful.
But with all that in mind, if I told you I learned more darting around The Daily Show than I have in almost any experience of my life, would you believe me? What if I told you that forgetting office supplies in the taxi after it left taught me to always be aware of my surroundings — and that I’m a much faster sprinter than I thought. Or that taking the time to learn everyone’s favorite snacks taught me patience and helped form rapport with people I never even dreamed I would have the chance to be in the same room with. Or that spending two hours in Williams Sonoma picking out a traditional place setting on a strict budget, only to have the joke cut upon my return, taught me to pay attention to detail and to be willing to do literally anything.
Because of these experiences I am a more resilient and humble person, two skills I think would be difficult to find in any other opportunity.
I won’t pretend to be able to tell you all the political secrets behind the show or even lie and say that I had a conversation with Trevor Noah that lasted beyond. “Do you know if this is chicken or fish?” But, being even one nerve within a vertebra in the backbone of the entire operation that is The Daily Show, I experienced first hand how politics and comedy join to create a miraculous blend of satirical news.