From New York
Join the Party: Wyatt Cenac
After his routine at Indecision in the Park, comedian Wyatt Cenac invited us back to his trailer to talk about the collaborative effort of the Daily Show writers and who would play him in a movie if he was elected president.
Interview by Ally Mullen
Hey Wyatt! What are you doing here tonight?
Right now I’m talking to you, but before that I preformed at Comedy Central
’s Indecision in the Park. It’s a stand-up show where a bunch of us told jokes in the open-air heat of New York City. Who do you think is the best writer on The Daily Show? Aside from yourself of course.
It’s weird because I feel like it’s very much an ensemble and I think we have a lot of talented writers and producers who work together on the show. It really is this symbiotic thing where everything kind of builds off each other. There might be somebody who has a funny nugget for an idea, and then somebody else has some footage, and another joke kind of comes off that. It all kind of gets built together. It’s very rare that somebody walks in and is like, “I wrote this script all by myself! Here are all the clips you need!” I have yet to see a day where that happens. A lot of your segments on the show focus on race. Can you tell us why you think race is so important in this election, and why is it such a hot topic in our country?
I think we as a society are probably somewhat sensitive about race issues, maybe because historically we haven’t been the most tolerant people, but overtime we have tried to be. I’m not sure why it’s such a tough issue in this country. I think it will always play a role in politics because more often than not the statistical disparities that you see, whether it’s issues of poverty or issues of education, or access to education, or health care; they are all things that statistically we’ve been able to link to different ethnic groups. So as you have people promising to make society better, it’s very easy to point out, you know, “For the past forty years things haven’t changed for this group of people.” I think that goes across ethnicity and gender as well. It’s very easy to look at those things and think, “Well, statistically this hasn’t happened, how are you going to be different?” Then hopefully we hold that person accountable and hope something changes. Wow, this got depressing!
Okay, okay. Change of subject! So say you become president one day, who would play you in a movie of your life?
How does one capture all of the nuances that are me? Right now, I’m not old enough to be president so I guess it would have to be someone who could play me in the future. So, I’m going to say whoever it is, were looking at actors in the infant to 3-year-old range.
But then they would be even younger than you!
I’m looking at time! I’m looking at, if this movie happens I want it to happen fifty years from now. So presumably, if Zoë Kravitz has a cute kid down the line then that would be great.
Would Zoë's kid need to be male or female?
A good actor is a good actor. Or maybe, if Willow Smith grows up to be a lovely young lady, and she meets a nice guy, and they have a kid who becomes a good actor or actress, I’ll take that!
(Someone knocks on the door)
Wait, you guys are getting thrown out! Why are you getting thrown out?
Time's up! Maybe there are some other interviews we can do on the way home.
Like with the turtle man at Central Park?
If we get lucky. But before we go—are you supporting either candidate at this time?
I am not. I’m not a registered voter!