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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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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.