“Daily Show” alum Wyatt Cenac has a new show on HBO, called “Problem Areas.”

What did he take from his “Daily Show” experience into this new program? “Research,” he says.

As a comedian, if you’re getting up on stage and talking about your life, you’re doing first-person research with that so you have most of, if not all, the information. In trying to do something for TV that is topical, talking about social and political issues, research is huge. What was a huge help to us at The Daily Show, was the staff with had, whether it was the segment producers combing through footage or the head researcher who would find different articles and was a vault of information who could talk about things historically and in the present, it challenged the writers and correspondents to do that same amount of investing in stories because the more information you had, the more you could mine that information for potential comedy.

On “Problem Areas,” Cenac does some reported pieces, but he told The New York Times, “I’m not going in to try to be right. I’m going in to try to understand. Sometimes, I might be right.”

One of the first lines of the pilot episode is “I guess this is the part where I’m supposed to talk about Donald Trump and how we’re all f***ed, but you already know that. So I want to talk about something that’s been bugging me. Outer space.”

The New Yorker frames Cenac’s show as “a comedian’s para-journalistic confrontation with current events” like John Oliver or Samantha Bee. Also, the first season is focused, and it will reportedly cover police confrontation throughout its 10 episodes.

What does late-night comedy look like in this political moment?


  • Wyatt Cenac Comedian; host/creator of "Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas," which airs Friday nights on HBO.

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