When Jordan Klepper replaced John Oliver on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2014, the native Michigander became a quick study of the show’s behind-the-scenes practices. “I’m figuring out how these field pieces work,” he said in an interview given during his second day. “So right now I’m in learning mode.” Three and a half years later, Klepper’s very own late night series, The Opposition is set to follow The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11:30 pm. When speaking to Uproxx about the experience so far, Klepper remains as humble as he was on Stewart’s program — which is the exact opposite of his character.
“I’m Jordan Klepper, but I’m not,” he explains. “This character isn’t a totally new creation. It’s an extension of a thing I was doing on The Daily Show.” The Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade alum recognizes the validity of comparisons already being made between The Opposition and The Colbert Report, which former Daily Show correspondent (and now The Late Show host) Stephen Colbert performed in character. However, while Klepper’s predecessor and idol lampooned the media landscape of the 2000s, his satire hopes to dive headfirst into “the Breitbarts of the world.” It’s a humorous proposition, but it’s also a frightening one.
I saw the first clip you guys put out from Trump’s Phoenix rally. Is that the kind of material audiences can expect from The Opposition?
Yeah, I think that’s a good little taste of it. It’s sort of how we’re going to approach some of the topics. I’m going to be on a desk, or in the field occasionally, and we’re going to have other folks from the show go out and do field pieces, too. It won’t just be me in the field, interacting with people. That will be one part of it. There will be whole other part that is based in the studio. But with that teaser, I think you get a little taste of how we’re going to approach some of these topics.
But you will be based in a studio, desk and everything?
It’ll be based in a studio, albeit in the world our show claims to be a part of. This is myself and a group of my own foot soldiers, who have basically remained on the fringes, but now the fringe has gone mainstream. We have our own late night show at 11:30, where we’re going to broadcast all of the crazy shit that’s happening in this world. We’ve already been broadcasting it 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the radio for many years prior. So you’re going to see us present our own late night version of the kinds of shows that, in our minds, we’ve already been doing online. You’ll see me behind a desk. You’ll also see these other folks in the field, because we still want to go to places, talk to real people and bring those stories into the studio.
What you’re describing sounds like Comedy Central’s version of Alex Jones. A satire of the kind of news media that’s well beyond the reaches of, say, the Bill O’Reilly days and Fox News channels of the world.
Precisely. That was sort of the world we were more interested in. The kind of source material we wanted to satirize. We wanted to create and live in a world closer to the one we’re actually living in now, in 2017, where people gets their news from places like Alex Jones’s website. I’ve been to a lot of Trump rallies with The Daily Show, and what I quickly noticed is people were getting their information not from Fox or CNN, necessarily, but from the Breitbarts of the world. So we started looking into this world, which is a world that predominantly exists online. We were curious about that world’s viewpoints, and how it all functions. I used it to inform my character, but I also used it to setup this show. It’s the thing we’re using to drive this narrative.
What was the research process like? When diving into the weeds of Infowars, Breitbart and other like-minded conspiracy theory websites, I suspect you had to retain a much tighter grip on reality than usual.