And then the other part of it that I’m confused by is just the society that we live in. In Season 1, we did an episode about restorative justice. There’s a part of me that wonders, Is there some sort of restorative justice model for someone like that?
The coverage is so focused on what he is doing next. Many of the women who were violated, they are comedians. They are writers. They are people with careers of their own. And I feel like we don’t direct the same attention to them. Like, when is Rebecca Corry onstage doing a stand-up special?
We’re still making it his story, and I’d be curious: How is someone like Rebecca—how does she process that onstage, and what joke is she telling? Is there a value to covering her and seeing, How does she take the stage again after all of this?
We have these conversations around this idea of “cancel culture.” But we don’t really talk about, like, “How do people make those things right?” How do they atone for those things? Instead what you see is: They disappear for a little, then they return. There’s maybe some outrage, but if they stick around long enough, the outrage subsides, and you just get used to them being there again.
I think we see it with a president who can say and do things that are completely offensive. People get outraged, and he then just pushes forward and doesn’t really face repercussions. He says something else terrible, pushes through, and it’s kind of like, “I’m not going to apologize.” What you’ve seen as the sort of rebuke to this idea of “cancel culture” is this idea of people saying, “I’m done apologizing, and I’m not going to apologize anymore.” And that just feels like, Okay, these two things are at loggerheads.
O’Leary: You were just on a show that I have a big crush on, Birds of North America.
Cenac: Oh, yes. It’s a great show.
O’Leary: What else do you watch?
Cenac: I haven’t had as much time to watch things this season. When we’re in season, my schedule becomes a little hectic. What do I watch? I’ve not watched Game of Thrones, which is obviously on the same network, I should get on that. But I never did.
O’Leary: I didn’t watch Game of Thrones. I was a late adopter, but then I committed.
Cenac: That’s the one weird moment of fame that I’ve had. I got to go to the Emmys. I went to the Emmys with The Daily Show. This must have been my second year at the show.
And so I wound up sitting at the award ceremony next to George R. R. Martin. And everyone else on the staff was a big Game of Thrones fan. Everyone was jealous, and I had nothing to talk to him about as it related to Game of Thrones. There were other people who saw this as a wasted opportunity. It was just like, “I know who you are, and I know that everyone who I work with is incredibly jealous right now that I’m just talking to you about what it’s like to live in New Jersey.”