“If you could fight any celebrity, living or dead, who would it be?”
“Shut the fuck up and sit down!”
Clearly, this isn’t the portion of The Daily Show that aired from coast to coast.
Because it was filming in Charlotte all this week due to the Democratic National Convention, local folks were able to attend the taping of the popular Comedy Central show — or at least those folks who were first lucky enough to reserve free tickets online (they were all swooped up within a couple of hours upon announcement a few months ago) and then fortunate enough to make it into the ImaginOn auditorium after waiting in line for a couple of hours.
My alert wife was easily able to reserve two tickets for Thursday’s taping. But at the actual venue, it was more of a cliffhanger situation. Arriving a mere 25 minutes before they started handing out the physical tickets, we were way back in line. When the dust had settled, we had tickets #393-394, meaning that we were “not guaranteed admission.”
Despite this ominous warning, we were later assured by at least two employees that we wouldn’t have any problem acquiring seats. They were correct, though I admittedly prefer better odds: We were placed on the next-to-last row from the back, with only one to two dozen more people admitted after us. Whew.
Despite being high up, the seats were actually great. Parked front and center, we had a perfect view of the stage and actually felt sorry for some of the people on the first few rows, who would occasionally be treated to the backsides of the cameramen rather than full-frontal Jon.
The show itself was a hoot: Stewart mocked the length of Bill Clinton’s speech, made fun of Romney and Ryan’s lack of specifics in their RNC promises, and presented a mock Obama campaign film called Barack Obama: It Could Have Been Worse (love the inclusion of Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact, “the last black president” in charge when a meteor avoided hitting the planet). Still, the best bits were the ones that will never be aired.
Prior to the actual taping, Stewart — as he apparently always does — came out to break the ice and field some questions. But before even that, the audience received a special treat: The show’s correspondents, who normally do not take part in the pre-show Q&A, made a special appearance and interacted with those in attendance. Of course, with the likes of John Oliver and Jason Jones up there on the stage, it wasn’t a big hugfest between correspondents and audience members.
In addition to this article’s opening salvo (with Al Madrigal providing the profane retort), Jones, in responding to one man’s observation that he’s lost weight, responded, “First, thank you for saying that I was fat before. Second, fuck you.” Oliver, who says he gets special pleasure out of hearing boos, received the response he craved when he rated North Carolina barbeque thusly: “It goes from Texas barbeque to Korean barbeque to no barbeque to North Carolina barbecue.” (He then did admit that he actually thought NC BBQ was pretty good.)
In his pre-show appearance, Stewart was overall less biting than his correspondents but no less funny. And after the taping of the actual episode was over and the cameras were off, he graciously came back on stage, giving props to the local talent who helped make sure the show came off without a hitch and also thanking Charlotteans for the hospitality they extended to him and his team. It was a classy exit from a class act.