The New Yorker is giving audiences a new way to digest their content via The New Yorker Presents, a new series that premieres on Amazon today. Much like the magazine, the show is a mish-mash of non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and cartoons. With the blessing and collaboration of editor David Remnick, the show’s executive producers include Kahane Cooperman (The Daily Show) and documentarian Alex Gibney (Going Clear). The show works with New Yorker writers (Ian Frazier, Miranda July, and Nick Paumgarten to name a few) and their stories and puts them into the hands of well regarded filmmakers (Steve James, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini and others) to recapture their stories in a visual medium. What results is a unique television show that combines documentary, non-fiction shorts, cartoons, and poetry, as well as glimpses into the New Yorker offices and the nooks and crannies of the city itself.
One episode features a documentary from Alex Gibney about how the CIA kept pertinent information from the FBI that could have prevented 9/11, a fictional short of how exactly author Honore de Balzac (played by Paul Giamatti) drank his 50 cups a coffee a day, a cartoon from Roz Chast, a glimpse at the work day of New Yorker fact checkers, and a short doc on people who suffer from “Truman Show delusion.” In another, you’ll learn that the Naked Cowboy was anorexic in his youth and has a sweetheart of a father, and that Andrew Garfield is gifted when it comes to performing poetry.
I spoke with Cooperman about transitioning from The Daily Show to The New Yorker, how the show captures the feel of the esteemed magazine in a new medium, and the heartfelt stories we can expect in the series.
How was it transitioning from The Daily Show to The New Yorker Presents?
I was fortunate that the day Jon Stewart announced on the air that he was going to be leaving The Daily Show, Alex Gibney, the filmmaker, reached out to me. I did’t know him all that well, but we had certainly met a few times. He said, “I have this rather extraordinary opportunity here.” He knew that, in addition to The Daily Show, my background was in filmmaking and documentary filmmaking specifically. I said, “Yes,” in one second because it sounded so interesting and so compelling, the idea of short films made from New Yorker content. I was incredibly excited. I went on my first round of job interviews for the first time in 18 years, which is how long I had been at The Daily Show. I interviewed with Alex and also Amazon and Condé Nast Entertainment and finally with David Remnick. Lucky for me, I got the job. I left The Daily Show on a Friday, had the weekend, then jumped right into this. I didn’t get a break, but I think that might be a good thing.