WTF Wyatt Cenac

Listen to Wyatt Cenac’s Revealing Interview About Jon Stewart on WTF With Marc Maron

Wyatt Cenac

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As Jon Stewart’s exemplary tenure on The Daily Show draws to a close, bloggers and news outlets are heaping praise on the 52-year-old late night host and pleading that he reconsider his retirement. But one member of Stewart’s flock didn’t have as many good things to say about the comedian and show when he appeared as a guest on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast.

Former correspondent and writer Wyatt Cenac related to Maron the explosive debate surrounding a polarizing impersonation that led him to leave the show. During the lead-up to the 2012 presidential election, Stewart had performed an impression of black Republican candidate Herman Cain which Cenac felt bordered on racist, if not completely crossed the line. At a writer’s meeting, the staffer had voiced his objections to the tone and mannerism that the host adopted for the candidate, comparing it to racially stereotyped character Kingfish from the Amos ‘n’ Andy radio program. Cenac said, “I wasn’t here when it all happened. I was in a hotel. And I cringed a little bit. It bothered me.”

He continued:

[Stewart] got incredibly defensive. I remember he was like, What are you trying to say? There’s a tone in your voice. I was like, “There’s no tone. It bothered me. It sounded like Kingfish.” And then he got upset. And he stood up and he was just like, “F–k off. I’m done with you.” And he just started screaming that to me. And he screamed it a few times. “F–k off! I’m done with you.” And he stormed out. And I didn’t know if I had been fired.

From there, the fight gradually led to Stewart’s office and was only quelled when the office dog pawed at them to stop. (Staffers even confessed that the other pups in the office were shaking because the shouting was so loud.) But the fight cut deep for Cenac, who remarked, “I was shaking, and I just sat there by myself on the bleachers and f–king cried. And it’s a sad thing. That’s how I feel. That’s how I feel in this job. I feel alone.” And although Stewart apologized to Cenac and the rest of the staff, the writer “never felt comfortable” during the rest of his employment there.

Other writers and producers confirmed the story to The New York Times’ Dave Itzkoff, with executive producer Jen Flanz explaining while uncomfortable debates are not uncommon for the show when tackling controversial issues, this was one the worst. “Nobody wants it to get out of control the way that particular discussion did,” she said. “I’ve been here for 16 years, and I can count on my hands the times that it even got close to that.”

Stewart and Cenac have since exchanged emails, wherein Cenac said Stewart “kind of apologized as much as he could, for if [Cenac] felt hurt.” The host extended an invitation for him to attend the final taping, which the former writer said he has considered.

Nevertheless, the anecdote is a surprising behind-the-scenes look at a television institution renowned for being a bastion of progressive ideals and racial sensitivity.

The rest of Cenac’s WTF interview includes some fascinating anecdotes about his family and stand-up career. It’s well worth a listen.

Click here to listen to Wyatt Cenac on WTF with Marc Maron.

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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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