About a year ago, when I ran into my DC-based writer pal Robert Draper while he was on his way to interview someone for his book, I told him that whenever the book came out and he got invited to go on The Daily Show, I wanted to go along.
The book — Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives — came out this Tuesday, and Draper actually remembered my request. He invited me to join his brother John, girlfriend Laura and longtime pal Colin in attending the live taping at the small Daily Show studio (CAMERAS VERBOTEN!) on the Upper West side. (I tried to hear any distinctive laughter from our little group, but it’s all pretty muddled.)
|The Daily Show with Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
So I went up around lunch and came home after the show. But because it’s Nueva York, there was plenty of randomness to observe and experience.
1. While visiting pal Marc at The New York Times, we met the head of Reddit in the elevator. I told him how much I loved the “Today I Learned” sub-Reddit. (It is awesome y’all.)
2. A lot of tourists were ACTUALLY WEARING “I Heart NY” sweatshirts. In New York.
3. On the plane I met the State Department’s undersecretary over Haiti policy. Really nice guy. He’d just spent two weeks down there, said the cholera situation was a concern again because it’s the rainy season.
4. Reunited for a quick lunch with old pal Drew, who is a writer at Sports Illustrated. His office was across from all the draft madness so I got to check out all the red carpet/lighting set up for the footballers.
5. Before the taping, the show producers make the audience sit there in the studio for a good hour or so as they prepare. That gave me, John, Lara and Colin lots of time to chat. We started talking about Robert Caro and the new LBJ book, that somehow jumped into JFK assassination territory, and one of the guys mentioned that some believe Nixon was behind the killing.
Armed with all this conspiracy talk, when Daily Show host Jon Stewart came out to take a few questions from the audience and warm up the crowd, he called on me and I asked: “What’s one conspiracy theory I can believe in?” Stewart ended up riffing on this for a while, to our great amusement. He said he didn’t really believe in conspiracies because he doesn’t believe in competence, and so he doesn’t think people are competent enough to actually plan something intricate and execute it. Then he asked me, “What’s one you believe in?” And I told him about how lately I’ve been thinking Nixon is gay. This was great fuel for the comedian, as he launched into a series of jokes about how Nixon being gay “is not a conspiracy, it’s just random bull shit you’re calling a conspiracy…”
6. My diabetic cabbie (we checked his blood sugar together) asked me why I didn’t just move to New York.