The casting department at The Daily Show with Trevor Noah is on a roll. In March, Comedy Central’s flagship late night program announced the hiring of internationally renowned comedian Gina Yashere as its newest correspondent. Dubbed the program’s “Brexpert,” the British-Nigerian performer introduced Noah’s mostly American audience to her country’s own particular version of “Trumpism.” Since then, however, Yashere has worked more often as a contributor — though The Daily Show subsequently brought on comic Michael Kosta for a correspondent role in early July.
Enter Dulcé Sloan, the Miami-born Atlanta comedian who moved out to Los Angeles and made her comedy television debut on Conan in early 2016. Since then, she has performed on programs as varied as Comedy Knockout, Steve Harvey’s syndicated talk show, and the recently disbanded @midnight. Thanks to The Daily Show, however, Sloan just moved across the country to New York to begin her new job as the series’ newest correspondent, which she and Noah made official with a debut desk piece about New York Fashion Week and cultural appropriation.
Sloan was gracious enough to speak to Uproxx about her first appearance on The Daily Show, as well as what topics she would like to address in future episodes.
The official press release made it sound like Trevor Noah sought you out. How did this all come about?
I got contacted. My manager and my agent contacted me to let me know Comedy Central had reached out for me. They wanted me to audition, and I knew at the time they were doing rounds of auditions, because they were looking for new The Daily Show correspondents. So I wrote my first piece, taped it and sent it over. Apparently they liked it enough because they called me in for a second audition, and they flew me in for that. I auditioned in the studio with Trevor, which was an amazing experience. I’d never met him before. They called me two hours later to tell me I got the job.
Do you know how that started?
Trevor said he had seen my Conan set and liked it. So that’s how this all happened, I believe. I’m not sure. Listen, my manager just calls me and tells me to audition for stuff. [Laughs.] I don’t really know the back end all the time, so when I get an email telling me to do something, I do it.
Your first piece on air was about cultural appropriation and New York Fashion Week. Did any of that come from your audition piece, or was it totally new?
It was totally new. My first audition piece was basically about me coaching white people about what to do on social media. Like, stop being so surprised when people of color experience something racist. Stop defending racists to people of color. Just listen. As for my second piece, it was about how difficult it is to be patriotic and black at the same time — especially since my birthday is July 4th. So I tied all of that in, because it is hard to say, “I love this country, but the cops might kill me.” It’s an interesting dilemma, my being born on Independence Day and knowing black people were still slaves and women weren’t included when the Declaration of Independence was signed. That’s what my second audition piece was about.
Your NYFW desk piece definitely dove into some of that, as does your Twitter account. I noticed you retweeted Jemele Hill’s tweet about Donald Trump. I suspect you and your The Daily Show colleagues will be discussing that at length, especially since the White House responded.
I saw that this morning on my way to work. I was like, “Oh, she tweeted that Donald Trump was a white supremacist and surrounds himself with white supremacists. I see nothing wrong with this statement.” Then a bunch of other people came out against it, saying “this was seen by ESPN viewers (who are predominantly white men). They’re alienating the core base.” Yes, a lot of men watch ESPN, but all races of men watch all the sports. Women, too. So the fact they they’re making that point, that ESPN is mostly supported by Republican white men, is insane. The owners of the teams are Republican white men, but the people who attend the games aren’t. It’s an insane concept, especially when they come back with, “If we said something about Obama, we would have been fired.” But a lot of the people who said terrible things about Obama, especially racist things, weren’t fired.
Meanwhile, Curt Schilling was finally fired by ESPN for multiple suspensions and reprimands, regarding several racist and bigoted social media posts.
Or a black dude kneels and catches all kinds of crap. It makes perfect sense because this is how America works. We’re not allowed to call these people white supremacists. We were in a meeting this morning and I said this was the epitome of white privilege. This is the epitome of white privilege, where someone like PewDiePie will say the N-word and all the white people will argue, “It’s just a word!” But they freak out whenever anyone calls them a racist. Words are significant.
You’re absolutely right, and I suspect working on a program like The Daily Show now gives you and your colleagues the perfect space in which to address these topics in a humorous, but informative, way. Speaking of which, what has the pitching process been like so far?Are you writing your own material, collaborating with the writers, or both?
It’s both. If a writer gets an idea for something and they want a certain correspondent to do it, they’ll pitch it that way. If one of the correspondents gets an idea from something, then we’ll pitch it to the other writers in the room. It goes both ways, so it’s definitely a more collaborative effort.
Do you enjoy that?
Definitely! I’m a theater kid, so I always love doing anything that involves working with an ensemble. When you’re working in stand-up comedy, however, it’s usually just you and nobody else. So being able to work with other people during the creative process is wonderful.
Are you still in Los Angeles, or have you made the move to New York yet?
No, I moved to New York last week. I’m going to be here for a while.
How are you liking it so far?
It’s good. I have friends who are comics that live out here — other comedians I started with while we were in Atlanta. When they came to New York, me and a few others went to Los Angeles for about a year and a half, but now I’m here. So, it’s great.
Have you managed to do any stand-up since moving, or is everything focused on The Daily Show?
I went to two shows last night. I had friends on one show and friends running the other. I’ve got a show scheduled for next week, but I’ve been trying to just get used to traveling in New York. I’ve been here for shows before, like if I was taping or auditioning for something, but I would just pop in for a couple of days then pop out. Now I’m here for good, so I’m still learning how to get around the city. I’m going to try to figure out this job and figure out how to get around the city, then I’ll start adding on more stand-up. Baby steps. And working for The Daily Show is a great job, and it’s very creative, but sometimes we’re here really late at night. We get thrown onto something, start working on it and don’t leave the office until 8 or 9 o’clock at night. So it’s difficult to do that and try to do a stand-up set at 6 or 7 o’clock. I’m still learning the schedule and the processes, but once I do, I’ll start doing more shows.
Is there any topic or subject you really want to cover, or are you seeing what happens on a day-to-day basis?
I’m going day-to-day, but I definitely want to address the issues that affect people of color, women, the LGBT community and the immigrant community. I have a friend who works as a DACA lawyer. I grew up with immigrants, and my aunt is originally from Brazil. My best friends growing up were all immigrants. I’ve even had friends get deported, so I’m just trying to see what I can do for them with this show. A lot of the time, they will pick things that perfectly align with me, like the cultural appropriation piece and the Equifax video on Tuesday. When we were pitching for that, I made a comment about why these hackers weren’t doing something useful. Now we all have bad credit, but why not break into a bank account and start adding zeroes? Maybe they could people instead of messing up stuff. So we threw that into the video.
Before you go, I wanted to quickly ask you about you and Noah’s wonderful hand-holding moment from the NYFW desk piece. Did you two script that, or was it ad-libbed?
That wasn’t part of the original idea. We did a dress rehearsal the night before we taped, to get me acclimated to the audience and the stage. Feeling the energy in the room, and understanding how the show’s process works, we just suddenly did it during the first night. It was a natural moment that just happened, and when Trevor said his line about big butts, it got this huge laugh and we improvised the rest of that particular scene. It felt so natural, so before we did it a second time, we talked trying to recreate that particular moment and the response. Trevor said if we did it, that’s fine, and if not, we shouldn’t try to force it. The second time we did it, that same moment, we got the same big laugh as we did during rehearsal. But yeah, it wasn’t planned at all.
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah airs weeknights at 11pm ET/PT on Comedy Central.