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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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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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