Lewis Black Reveals That ‘Daily Show’ Producers Didn’t Want to Invite Any of the Correspondents to Guest Host
Next month, cantankerous comic Lewis Black will assume the role of guest host on The Daily Show after spending over a quarter century lending his talents to the lauded late-night series — and in those long 27 years, he’s found plenty to complain about.
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Speaking to The Daily Beast in an interview released earlier today, Black revealed some of the behind-the-scenes bullshit he’s had to suffer during his record-setting tenure as a Daily Show contributor. Black discussed how Daily Show producers removed him from writing duties on his recurring segment “Back in Black,” a bit devoted to channeling the acerbic comic’s legendary anger on generally inconsequential issues, relegating Black to the role of reading someone else’s diatribe off the teleprompter.
Black also revealed that The Daily Show suits didn’t plan on inviting a single contributor to sit in the big chair when the show first launched its slate of rotating guest hosts. Black, Roy Wood Jr., Hasan Minhaj and Jordan Klepper were only added to the lineup after the first round of celebrity cameos were planned, and, even then, the correspondents weren’t invited — Black and his colleagues had to ask for the honor of running the show for a week. Somehow, Black didn’t swear once while describing the injustice.
“To be honest, when they first started going, ‘We’re going to have guest hosts,’ I literally just said, ‘I want to be on. Can I sit in that chair once?’ I’ve been on the show 27 years,” Black recalled of the conversation with Daily Show execs that resulted in his name being added at the end of the list of guest hosts. Black recalled how he caught wind of the plan to have rotating celebrities host Daily Show episodes while the suits searched for Trevor Noah’s replacement, but his bosses never approached him. “I was pretty pissed at that,” he said.
When asked about the initial list of guest hosts that the producers had planned, Black replied, “None of the correspondents (were on it). And I just thought, come on, guys, throw a bone.” Black expanded on that gripe to explain a long-time issue he’s had with the business side of The Daily Show, saying that the plan to rotate hosts without giving correspondents a chance, “really undermines, too, something that I felt about this show for years, which is, it undermines the importance of the writers on that show. So it’s not just who’s sitting in that seat. It’s the guys and the women in the back who were pumping out all sorts of stuff on a daily basis.”
Still, Black, Wood, Klepper and Minhaj did eventually land the guest host gigs, and Black commended his colleagues for their performances, saying, “I thought Roy did a terrific job. Jordan did a terrific job. They’re all going to be really good. I’m not going to be good, but they’re going to be terrific!”
When Black finally fills the big chair during the week of June 20th, he doesn’t know for sure how he’ll use his precious time in charge after spending nearly three decades waiting in the wings. However, he knows one thing for sure about the jokes he’ll be telling: “We’re not going to say that I’m old for the 36th time.”