As the 2016 election winds down, we’re spending the next week talking to some of the people who’ve been on the campaign season’s frontlines, the correspondents of The Daily Show With Trevor Noah in advance of the show’s live election day show on November 8th.
With an election cycle this full of absolutely insane moments and ludicrous behavior, there almost isn’t room for political comedy. What could be said that could trump the madness that we’re all witnessing first hand? Even so, The Daily Show still soldiers on, bringing a little levity with a heavy dose of truth to this election season. Desi Lydic (The League, Awkward.), an actress turned correspondent who joined the show when Trevor Noah assumed the host chair in September 2015. Combining that time of transition with a volatile election cycle, there’s never a dull moment on the Comedy Central show, and Lydic is more than happy to be along for the ride.
What was it like sort of coming onto the show during such a time of transition?
I started a little over a year ago, and I have been just a huge fan of the show for a long, long time. I’ve been one of those people that would dip in and out periodically, but always before elections and I’ve been watching for years. I auditioned a couple times for the show it was like, “Okay, is now a good time, is now a good time?” I was ecstatic to hear that there might be a spot open and I put my piece together back in the fall before I was hired, almost a full year before I was hired, and they were kind of hanging onto it and they would check in every now and again and go, “Hey, we might be interested. What’s your story? What’s going on?” And we’re like, “Yeah, we’ll move to New York tomorrow. I’ll be on a plane, I’m ready.” And they’re like, “Not quite yet, not quite yet, we’re still feeling things out.”
During that period of time, Jon was leaving the show and Trevor was hired, and I also happened to get pregnant. By the time that I got to come in and meet Trevor, I was like four months pregnant. I came in, I met with Trevor, and I did my audition and then I pulled the producers aside afterwards and I said, “Hey, just so you know if I were to be lucky enough to get this job, and I’m more than willing, happy, and excited to do so, but I will be pregnant. Just so you know. So I will be on camera, six months pregnant on day one. You’ve got to be okay with that.” They were probably the only place on the planet that would be like, “Absolutely. Of course, no, we’ll write it in. We’ll use it. No problem.” It was such a dream scenario, to be able to start with this transition with Trevor. It’s such a fun time to be on the show, and not only because has this election been insane. It’s completely insane, but we’re also in a transition time, and with that is there’s so much collaboration and there’s so much experimentation. Creatively it feels like a really exciting place to be.
You were involved in the convention coverage, and I remember you talking to Andrew Husband, one of our news writers. How was it doing the RNC and DNC back to back?
It was pretty incredible to see the difference. People were definitely equally passionate at both conventions, but how they expressed it was really very, very different. I come from a Republican conservative family, so I totally get that perspective. I totally understand voting Republican and having conservative values. But what I found to be so interesting is that — this convention in particular — I think the Trump of it all had every one running on such fear. I mean, just so much fear and conspiracy and high stakes, like this is going to be… This is the end of the world and our country is in the worst state it’s ever been in.
Then, at the Democratic convention, people were very passionate about their views and very concerned about the future of their country, but it was coming from a place of like “Here are all the great things that are working right now and we want to continue on with those things, and here are the things that aren’t working and we want to make sure those things don’t happen again.” It was just a very different experience going from one to the next.
This elections season feels like it’s been going on for forever. How do you guys combat election fatigue?
I think I’m just going to hide in the closet and cry for like two weeks after. They’ll be like, “Desi, you know we don’t any have vacation time after the election. We’re still on air.” “No guys, I’ll be in soon. I promise I’m just on like a post-maternity, maternity leave.” Yeah, I’m so ready for it to be over. I’d just like to not hear Trump ramble on and on for just a little bit. I just need a little break. I’m very much looking forward to this being over. A good hot shower, a good hard scrub. I’ve just got to scrub the grime of this election season off.
As a woman, this is a particularly monumental election. How has it been being so close to the action, especially having recently had a child with so much of the conversation revolving around women, especially mothers in the workplace and paid maternity leave?
It’s a really, really incredible time. It’s an exciting time that she could be our first female president. To be able to go to the Democratic convention and to be on the floor when she accepted her nomination was unbelievable. I could not believe that I was there getting to experience all of that. To me that was one of the coolest moments of having this job, to get to witness things like that, to be so close to it. It’s amazing, and it makes me really excited. It makes me really excited to think about my son not knowing any other way. He’s ten months now, and the first election that he was alive for could be a female president, and that would like no big to deal, that’s not even a thing for his upbringing. Hopefully that’s the way things shake out.
To me, it’s such an amazing time. Then on the other end of it we’re talking about the other candidate, who is a sexual predator and being accused of child rape and all of kinds of sexual assault and we’re talking so much about this pussy grabbing narrative. It really is such a crazy weird time. I feel like things have never been quite this polarized before.