Comedian Roy Wood, Jr. was one of the highlights of this week’s debut of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. And that’s not shading Noah (who also aced the job!) because the format of the show allows correspondents to show off a little more of their comedy chops. Wood, Jr, a standup comedy veteran whose skit on Black people on Mars stole the night. Before his big debut on Monday night, he spoke with ESSENCE about his exciting new job.
Congrats! How does it feel joining The Daily Show team?
You know what? It’s fun. The only way I can put it after 17 years of comedy is that I feel like a dog that caught the car. This is what it feels like when you hit a goal. I’ve got to learn. I’ve got to do this job well. I’ve only been here two weeks so it’s been a very swift learning curve. Now I understand why the audition process is so thorough. It’s because when you get here you basically merge into traffic that’s already flowing. There aren’t a lot of stops. I feel like I joined an operation that was already moving and it’s my job just to merge in.
Meet Comedian and Actor Roy Wood, Jr
How’s it been working with Trevor Noah and the team?
Trevor’s been great. They put me with a bunch of great field producers and they talked to me about what’s expected of correspondents and how good a correspondent is supposed to be. Some of the vets here taught me some tricks. Jessica Williams has been really great. Al Madrigal as well. Jordan Klepper and I, we talked about some stuff. We watched some old stories to get a feel for the job. Thankfully, I feel like everything I’ve done up until this point has prepared me for this.
Did you watch this show before?
Yes, I was a fan of show. I didn’t watch every night because I was a working comic and I was on the road when the show came on. I was on stage more often than not, but I caught what I could online. I was already familiar with the show and the format. This was actually my second time auditioning so it definitely was a goal. I feel like I belong.
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Are you gonna be the Black correspondent?
[Laughs] I don’t want to just be the dude that does all the Black stuff. I would be remiss if I didn’t take a look at some of the issues that affect people of color and use the Daily Show’s signature style of humor to shine light on topics—not just the Black ones. But if there are Black issues there, please believe I’m going to try and cover some of that too.
I said that because of Larry Wilmore…
Yeah, Larry Wilmore called himself the “Senior Black correspondent” but he covered more than Black stuff. I definitely am not going to ignore issues that affect people of color because there’s a reason why Trevor is looking to diversify the staff behind the camera and the staff in front of the camera. I can bring a unique view to those topics more so than anyone else, I hope. It would be crazy for me not to.
Catch comedian Roy Wood, Jr. in his new gig as a Daily Show correspondent, weeknights at 11pm ET on Comedy Central.