How Daily Show Segments Get Made

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As part of this week’s cover story on The Daily Show in New York Magazine, their reporters had an opportunity to sit in for a rewrite of a segment with Jon Stewart, head writer Steve Bodow and and co-executive producers Rory Albanese and Josh Lieb. Here’s a sample of them working through a visual joke:

Bodow: I think actually the way you gotta do it is like a Where the Wild Things Are head on a Liberace body, like in the bedazzled clothing or something. Or what’s-his-face throwing a bucket of confetti with a werewolf head ….Stewart: The gay monster … you know what, fuck it, go Liberace on a …Albanese: You want to do, like, a three-headed monster, like a Liberace’s head, Elton John’s head …Stewart: Uh, yeah, but then you’re going to make it about them. At least Liberace just makes it seem ridiculously fictional …Albanese: Okay, yeah, a Liberace’s head on … want to do the famous Sasquatch photo? The blurry one, with a Liberace hat on? … [To production staffers.] I know you guys are slammed, but if we could just give you a very basic mock-up—well, what we think is basic—’we just need Liberace’s head on a monster’s body. [Laughter.] So the idea is, if there’s a preexisting monster’s body, maybe from that new werewolf movie or Where the Wild Things Are, one of the bodies of those creatures, just stick Liberace’s head on it.Bodow: You don’t have to do anything else to it.Stewart: Or if you just want to do one of them and just give them a gay-pride flag.Lieb: Yeah, don’t even give them a Liberace face, just the Where the Wild Things Are holding a rainbow flag.Albanese: Yeah, I don’t think a lot of people know Liberace’s gay, I think we should be careful with outing him.