In the current political arena, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart continually balances being an established member of the media, while also lampooning the absurdity of the 24/7 hyperbolic TV news industry. The show's Indecision 08 political coverage brazenly boasts “The Best F* & #ing News Team Ever!”—a send-up of CNN's claim to having “The Best Political Team on Television.”
The program is both funny and well-respected. The John McCain presidential ad likening Barack Obama to Moses, and featuring a clip of Charlton Heston parting the Red Sea, is suspiciously similar to a riff that appeared on The Daily Show last month. The similarity did not go unnoticed at the show.
As the Indecision 08 team prepares to hit the road for two weeks in Denver and Minneapolis/St. Paul, for the respective Democratic and Republican National Conventions, Daily Show Co-Executive Producer Kahane Corn talks to B&C's
Marisa Guthrie about the embarrassment of riches provided by the media, the likelihood of John McCain returning as a guest and whom she considers a real journalist.
You've been with the show since
Jon Stewart took over from Craig Kilborn in 1999. Is it easier to book guests now?
Certain things have gotten easier as we've become more established and certain things have gotten harder. In a way it's easier to get the high profile politicians. And it's easier because we're on the map. We're not an X factor. People kind of know whether they want to be on this show or not. Back in 2000 when we were still making our mark that wasn't always the case.
In terms of our field pieces, where we're often using unknown people but also public figures, it's become harder. While we've never misrepresented who we are or what we do, because they've seen our show—or people they know or their children have seen it—they just don't want to go there.
The copious media attention during Barack Obama's recent Middle East trip must have been like manna from heaven.
That was a fantastic trip and all of his trips are fantastic. But nothing was more fantastic than how much media attention it got.
Stewart referred to Charles
Gibson, Brian Williams and Katie Couric as Jowlz, Nilla Wafa and Thing 3, respectively. Do any of these people ever call you up and yell at you?
No. Well, there have been a few people over the years that we have heard from. But for the most part I think people know that we are a comedy show and they are public figures. And that's all there is to it.
Who has complained?
I don't feel comfortable giving names or even hints about the various public figures who have called distressed over things we've done.
John McCain has been a frequent guest on The Daily Show, but now that he's become a target, do you think he'll come back?
I think he takes it all in stride. I fully expect at some point that he will come back one way or another. Way back in 2000 when Steve Carrell was trying to get on the McCain bus, he was a target then too. In the end we are a comedy show. I think people understand that.
Who do you have lined up for the shows from the conventions?
Obviously, we would be thrilled to have any of the big names like Hillary Clinton or any of the nominees. But there's been nothing definitive yet. It's really important for us, since we're a topical show, to see what's going on a little bit closer to the event: what the hot button issues are. Obviously everyone would love to speak to Barack Obama or John McCain.
Do you watch all TV news with your absurd radar up?
You don't necessarily have to have a radar up to sense the absurd in a lot of it. It is absurd. We don't make it up.
Is there a journalist the staff considers reliable?
Um, hmm. Ted Koppel is a great journalist.
What are the chances of Dick Cheney showing up on the show? And how is it possible to call The Daily Show a fake news show? Go to broadcastingcable.com for all the latest.