The Daily Show's Desi Lydic: 'Being Afraid Is a Comedy Killer'

June 8, 2018

By Christian Smith

Comedians including Michelle Wolf and Samantha Bee have caught heat recently for their controversial comments about President Trump and his administration.

The fear of backlash to topical jokes that may skate over the line is always on the mind of comedians, especially in the age of social media, said The Daily Show's Desi Lydic.

"Being afraid is a comedy killer so you can't be afraid," she said in a recent interview with Cheddar's Hope King at Clusterfest in San Francisco. "At the same time you have a responsibility, and you have to figure out what feels right for you."

Feelings are easily hurt these days, even among what might be sympathetic audiences, and jokes about Trump aren't always landing the way they used to.

"I've noticed in comedy clubs across the country, whenever I tour or whatever, do live shows, there's fatigue at this point, where no one wants to hear about it at all," comedian Julian McCullough said at Clusterfest. "Even if the crowd is liberal and you're doing anti-Trump, they still don't want to hear it."

This Trump fatigue is new, McCullough said, something he noticed in the last three to six months.

That might not be the case on TV, he said, where late-night hosts include a joke about Trump or some member of his staff nightly, seemingly by default. The shows' ratings hold up, but the same jokes don't get the same laughs in the clubs, McCullough said.

Trump was still one of the most talked-about topics at the three-day Clusterfest presented by Comedy Central last week in San Francisco, featuring stars such as Jon Stewart, Amy Schumer, and Trevor Noah.

"It's always part of the conversation when we decide to make a joke or write a piece and have a very strong perspective."

For full interview, click here.