'The Daily Show' comes to Atlanta before midterm elections – Hastings Tribune

'The Daily Show' comes to Atlanta before midterm elections – Hastings Tribune

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Clear skies. Low 34F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph..
Clear skies. Low 34F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.
Updated: October 25, 2022 @ 5:37 pm

ATLANTA — Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” hasn’t been on the road in four years.
But when executive producers decided to choose a place to go, they opted for Atlanta to hold four live shows a week before the midterm elections, starting Monday.
The episodes will be taped at the Tabernacle in downtown Atlanta for same-day airing on Comedy Central at 11 p.m. and the next day for streaming on Paramount+. Fans who want to be part of the live studio audience can sign up to request up to two tickets per taping at 1iota.com though there is no guarantee requests will be granted.
Host Trevor Noah wasn’t available for an interview, but his executive producer Jennifer Flanz recently did a group Zoom call with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and four of Noah’s five correspondents: Atlantan Dulcé Sloan, Roy Wood Jr., Michael Kosta and Ronny Chieng. (Desi Lydic was working on a segment for the show and couldn’t make it.)
The producers considered other battleground states like Pennsylvania, Nevada or Arizona, but Georgia, an established TV and film production hub, ended up on top.
“Georgia is where everything is happening,” said Flanz, who has been with the show in different roles since 1998 and has been its showrunner since 2019. A crucial Senate race is underway and the state has plenty of personalities that have generated boundless fodder for the show including Senate candidate Herschel Walker and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Kosta, who hails from Michigan, said the political relevance of Georgia has only ratcheted up in recent years, punctuated by our runoff elections deciding who oversaw the Senate in early 2021. “I’m excited to dive in and try to make funny out of a city that needs some funny,” he said. “It’s getting serious every election.”
Noah, an accomplished stand-up comic who has previously performed at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center and the Fox Theatre, last did live “Daily Show” tapings in 2018 in Miami right before the last midterm elections. The show under Noah’s watch also attended the Democratic and Republican conventions in 2016 as well as Chicago in 2017.
Flanz promises plenty of live Atlanta guests on the Tabernacle stage though she wasn’t ready to name any names just yet.
“Georgia doesn’t have a shortage of wild and crazy local laws and statutes that I think speak to the bigger problems happening in this country,” said Wood, a Birmingham, Alabama, native and veteran stand-up comic who spent two years working on Atlanta radio station Kiss 104.1. “You can talk about gerrymandering… You legally can’t give someone a bottle of water in a voting line. It goes deeper than just Raphael Warnock vs. Herschel Walker… If it’s happening in America, it’s probably happening in Georgia.”
The correspondents have been pre-taping field segments in Atlanta in the weeks leading up to the show.
“I’ve already ruined a pair of $150 Nikes in Camp Creek,” Wood said.
Noah, 38, who came to the United States from South Africa as a relative unknown to replace Jon Stewart in 2015, last month surprised his staff by announcing he was leaving the show, expressing a desire to focus on other projects like stand-up comedy and exploring the world.
His final show is set for Dec. 8 and Comedy Central, without providing details about a new host, said the show will return in mid-January.
“We’ll give Trevor a few bang-up final weeks, party him out, then come fresh,” Flanz said.
Noah, on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” last week, dubbed his pending departure as a “joyous thing,” fueled by the pandemic forcing him to look at his life in a deeper way.
“I don’t take anything for granted anymore,” he said. “I don’t believe life is a given.” He also figured it’s better to leave when people still want you there.
During his time on the show, Noah maintained the bones of what Stewart had built, poking fun at the news via jokes, skits and on-the-road field pieces while incorporating his unique viewpoint on issues shaped by his own life experiences in South Africa. He also brought in a more diverse group of correspondents who follow in the path of noted alums such as Steve Carell, Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver.
The current roster of correspondents, all of whom have been on the show for five years or more, lauded Noah’s generosity and support over the years as they honed their own comedic voices.
“I was sad when he made the announcement,” Kosta said. “I really enjoyed getting to know him and work with him. But ‘The Daily Show’ brand is strong. I’m confident the show will continue to be great.”
Sloan, an actress and stand-up comic who graduated Meadowcreek High School in Norcross in 2001, said Noah gave her a strong platform to tell stories from the lens of a strong southern Black woman. And Chieng, who grew up mostly in Singapore, said Noah as a fellow outsider helped him find the funny for an American audience.
And while Sloan is thrilled for this upcoming excuse to see her family, Chieng’s last experience in Atlanta was less than great: he had to cancel a stand-up show at Buckhead Theatre this past March an hour before the show because he caught COVID-19.
He said he ended up stuck quarantined for 10 days in a hotel room: “I got to know Uber Eats really well in Atlanta.” (But Chieng does have a soft heart for 2006 film “ATL” starring T.I. and is friends with Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins.)
Wood said the third time he was on stage as a comic was at Uptown Comedy Corner when it was located in Buckhead in 1998. He recalled driving up regularly from Tallahassee, Florida, to the Punchline Comedy Club when it was in Sandy Springs and doing open mic nights there.
More recently, he taped his Comedy Central stand-up special in 2016 at Center Stage in Midtown.
“It’ll be fun to be back and hit a Falcons game,” he said.
“I hope to get everyone to the Trap Music Museum,” Sloan added.
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‘THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH’
11 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays on Comedy Central and available the next day on Paramount+. Atlanta shows will air from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3.
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©2022 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at ajc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Copyright 2022 Tribune Content Agency.

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