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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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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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