Desi Lydic and Dulcé Sloan

Desi Lydic and Dulcé Sloan

Matt Wilson/Comedy Central
Trevor Noah and Desi Lydic

Trevor Noah and Desi Lydic

Matt Wilson/Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Dulcé Sloan

Dulcé Sloan

Matt Wilson/Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
Fill 1
Fill 1
July 04, 2022
In The Mix

The Daily Humor of Desi Lydic and Dulcé Sloan

In the best tradition of The Daily Show, correspondents Desi Lydic and Dulcé Sloan strive for segments that enlighten but also bring laughs — a method Lydic calls "hiding the veggies."

Christine Champagne

Two hours after Dulcé Sloan auditioned for a job as correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, her manager called, then asked her to hold while her agents, lawyers and others got on the line.

"They were like, 'You got it!'" recounts Sloan, who joined the show in 2017. "I was like, 'Yeah, I know that.' And they're like, 'How did you know?'"

"There's twenty-five people on this call," she replied. "Twenty-five people aren't getting on the phone to hear my manager tell me, 'You didn't get it.'"

Desi Lydic, who's been with the show since 2015, wasn't so sure she was going to land a correspondent gig after her audition. She recalls nervously telling writer–executive producer Jen Flanz, who took on the additional role of showrunner in 2019, that she'd be starting the job six months pregnant if she was hired.

Flanz's reaction? "Without even batting an eye, she goes, 'Great, awesome, perfect. We could use it [in the show], or we won't. Whatever you want. We've done it before. We'll do it again. Congratulations!'" Lydic relates.
"And here I am, almost seven years later, not wanting to leave this place because of things like that."

Sloan and Lydic recently spoke to emmy's Christine Champagne about their long-running gigs on Comedy Central's satirical news show. 

How do you come up with ideas for your segments?
Desi Lydic: Sometimes the ideas come from us, or from a segment director, a writer or a producer. The cool thing about The Daily Show is that anyone can pitch an idea. We've had great pieces that were pitched by an intern. It's the best idea that wins.

Once a piece gets approved, we have the opportunity to collaborate on it from the very beginning all the way to the final edit. I didn't get to go to film school, so this has been my film school — getting to sit through each part of the process. I think that's probably why I love this job so much. Creatively, you get to learn a new aspect of the process every day.

Dulcé Sloan: Desi really hit the nail on the head when she was saying it's collaborative and it's inclusive. There are ideas that I've had, like "Count on It," which became a recurring series — that started with me just wanting to talk about the census and wanting people of color to participate in the census, and explaining what that was. So there are things we come up with that can become recurring pieces, and there are other pieces where they're like, "Okay, let's see if it works."

I can go through a range of reactions watching your segments. For example, Dulcé, I was laughing while watching "9-1-1 for White People Emergencies," but I was also struck by some of the horrifying reasons white people call the police on Black people. And Desi, your segment on Texas abortion law SB 8 was scary, yet there were moments of humor, including your interview with the man who brought up Batman. All this to say, how do you balance sharing important information with making people laugh?
DL: With great writers and great segment directors and great producers who have a good sense of where that line is. And with a lot of trial and error. Sometimes we get it right, and sometimes we don't. We want to try to "hide the veggies" with as much humor as possible, but not be flippant.

Trevor and Jen have a great eye for those things. And collectively we're always checking in with one another, especially on a piece like SB 8. That was a treacherous topic to tackle. I was nervous about that one — I thought, "I don't want this to come off like we're making light of such a serious issue."

DS: In those moments when I've been unsure, Trevor is encouraging, but he's also very truthful. No one has time to be encouraging about something that doesn't work. But then there are other times when you're like, "I don't think this is working," and he'll go, "No, it's working. You're going in the right direction. You have the nuts and bolts of it. You just have to keep pushing forward."

Tell me more about working with Trevor Noah.
DL: He's incredibly supportive with all of us, and he's incredibly thoughtful, which is abundantly apparent in his work and how he hosts the show. He's also incredibly brave about experimenting with creative choices. I remember when he first started at the show, and we were making some changes to our field segments. He had this vision of them looking and feeling a different way, letting them breathe and treating them more like doc-style pieces. It was a big swing to take at that time. But as it turns out, that was the best thing for the show.

DS: He's been very encouraging to me since I started. One of my favorite things to do is to bother him. He'll be getting his makeup done, and I'll pop in, say something silly and be like, "Ha, ha!" and run out. I do it to everybody. I pop into Desi's office and say something silly and leave.

DL: I make you sit down and hang out with me.

DS: True. She's like, "No, where you going?"

How do you two stay inspired during these tense times?
DS: Well, I can say that as a Black woman in America, times are always tense for me. So it's never not scary for me, or for anybody that looks like me. Now it's, "Oh, it's still scary, but we're also in a pandemic." Or, "It's still scary, and now we might go to war." I'm always in a place that's heightened, and I'm always trying to find humor in being in a place that's heightened.

DL: I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't had the show during these past two years. I'm so grateful that we've been able to do what we do and stay on air and keep working through [the
pandemic]. There was something really cathartic about it. And there was an honesty to the stuff that we've been able to do in the last couple years. The show's always been honest, but it was a new kind of honesty — we weren't so tied to the joke. We were allowed to just sit and feel it a little bit and let it all out.

What do fans of The Daily Show say to you when you meet them?
DS: People come up to me and go, "You helped me get through the pandemic," which is a crazy thing to hear because you're like, "Oh man, I didn't know how I was getting through it!" But it's nice to hear that someone has watched my segments and that they helped them get through a time that was scary for all of us.

DL: It's so nice when someone does come up to you, and it's not just like, "I love your work," or "Are you that character on that show?" But it's, "Hey, thank you so much for talking about the pink tax [the higher cost of products marketed specifically toward women]. No one was talking about that at that time, and I learned so much." That's the most gratifying feeling in the world.

What are you working on outside The Daily Show?
DL: Getting my son into a really good private school. So if you could maybe shout out, "Brixton excels with his academics!" that would be really helpful.

DS: Listen, I, too, am really hoping that Brixton can get into a great private school.

DL: Thank you! Thank you!

DS: In addition to voicing Honeybee on The Great North [the animated comedy] on Fox, I'm also looking for a husband because I, too, want to make my own Brixtons. I think emmy magazine would be a great place for me to start my campaign. I feel like the people reading this magazine are doing it from homes that they own, you know?

DL: It is the eharmony of this industry.

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine issue #6, 2022, under the title, "Their Daily Cred."

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