Ziwe Fumudoh sat down with former presidential and current New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang this week, and those who assumed the result would be bad news for Yang were apparently very correct according to the first clips from Ziwe.
Ziwe, whose Showtime series has garnered a reputation for putting celebrities on the hot seat and asking some very leading questions, asked Yang on Twitter earlier in the week he would appear on the show. “You would be an iconic guest,” she wrote on Twitter.
— ziwe (@ziwe) May 20, 2021
Those who knew her work pretty plainly thought this would be a tough interview for Yang, who has stumbled in his mayoral campaign in recent weeks. By Thursday night, however, Wall Street Journal reporter Katie Honan had reported Yang would indeed appear. And on Saturday, Ziwe posted a clip from the episode that involved New York legend Jay-Z. The clip, which cuts off after about 30 seconds of awkwardness, includes Ziwe asking Yang what his favorite Jay-Z song is with him unable to name a single one.
i asked new york mayoral candidate andrew yang what his favorite jay z song is pic.twitter.com/UV8tQJXta1
— ziwe (@ziwe) May 22, 2021
“I listened to a lot of hip-hop during like the 90s and 2000s,” Yang said when asked what he’s “vibing to” lately after a question about listening to rap music. She presses him, saying “I gotta know” what artists he likes, and he mentions Nas and Jay-Z after some hesitation.
“What’s your favorite Jay-Z song?” she asks. “I mean, he’s a New Yorker.”
Yang only says “yes” initially, and then there’s a long pause as he seems to think it over. “What is my favorite Jay-Z song?” he asks, as if to himself as well as anyone willing to give him the name of one to rescue him from the situation. Ziwe’s expression really says it all here.
The clip cuts off right as he says “it’s” after a full 10 seconds of contemplation or so. And while he may just have had a hard time coming up with his favorite, not simply struggling to come up with any songs at all, the awkward moment is the latest in a campaign that’s struggled to avoid them.
For Yang to have said yes to the interview means either no one on his staff knew what Ziwe’s deal was with these interviews, or he was simply not as prepared as he should be for the kind of questions she’d ask. But it’s also an own goal in several ways here: If Yang simply isn’t a Jay-Z fan, which is fine even for New York mayoral candidates, the easiest way to avoid falling into this trap is to not claim he spent a few decades listening to his music seconds before.
We’ll have to wait and see what he came up with when his interview on Ziwe airs on Sunday night.