With The Daily Show, including correspondent Aasif Mandvi, heading to the respective Democratic and Republican national conventions over the next two weeks, I thought I’d delve back into the archives for a little extra material from a not-too-long-ago chat with the aforementioned actor. Since he was a working (and Tony Award-winning!) thespian prior to his visibility-increasing small screen gig, I asked Mandvi if there was any apprehension to making a go at The Daily Show, since it sometimes seems to muddy the casting water for its supporting performers.
“For me, no,” he says. “I was a huge fan, and I got brought in as a one-off deal, and then they asked me back. It was never originally a permanent gig. It was kind of just one of those things where they called me when they needed me, and I was a contributor in that way. And then it became a permanent gig with a contract and everything. But I was always excited about appearing on the show, and it wasn’t that much of a departure for me because I’ve always done comedy. When I got out of school I was doing improv comedy at the Disney MGM Studios in Florida, I was doing a lot of sketch comedy… so for me it felt like it wasn’t that much of a departure.”
As for where this election cycle is headed, Mandvi won’t make any predictions, but he doesn’t see any single potential twist or turn as fatal to The Daily Show‘s comedic head of steam. “I don’t think there’s any shortage of material, of being able to make fun of anyone,” says Mandvi. “The system is absurd sometimes, you know what I mean? When you plug into the system, there’s an innate absurdity to it. We’ve had eight years of this sort of manna from heaven when it comes to comedy material, so whether Obama or McCain ends up in the White House there’s enough within politics and the media and the hypocrisy and absurdity of it all [to keep things interesting]. I don’t think we’re going to be out of business. That’s the great thing about what we do — it’s not predicated on who’s in the Oval Office, it’s about always finding the absurdity and ridiculousness within our own systems of society and government. That’s what satire has always done. And I think it’s healthy, too.”