The host of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” may get the lion’s share of the credit, but know that it takes a village to raise this kind of volatile, biting, articulate humor four times a week.
Four writers of the long-running show — Adam Lowitt, Matt Koff, Travon Free and Zhubin Parang — will perform “political-ish” comedy Saturday at Dudley Riggs, followed by a Q&A in which fans get a behind-the-senses glimpse of one of TV’s most provocative shows.
We got a sneak peek last week through a conversation with co-executive producer Lowitt, who has collected four Emmys in the 13 years he has worked alongside Stewart, who will leave the Comedy Central show in August.
Q: How did you end up on the show?
A: I was an intern. Comedy was the goal. I wanted to do it from middle school, even before I knew it was a job. You just watched “Saturday Night Live” and thought how cool that would be.
Q: I remember how distraught I was when I found out Johnny Carson didn’t write his own jokes, that he was reading off cards.
A: It’s like finding out there’s no Santa. You have to adjust.
Q: So what exactly does an executive producer do?
A: I ride a horse to work. My main job is articulating Jon’s vision, while managing multiple things to be done, from scripts to montages and really dissecting so many moving parts. There’s graphics and sound effects, while working on Jon’s performance, pacing and timing. I mean, there are always bumps in the road. That’s the great thing about a topical show.
Q: What’s Jon like as a boss?
A: He’s a tyrant. I’d say he’s a cross between Fidel Castro and Skeletor. It’s not like people aren’t talented in their own right, but everyone just works really hard. That comes from Jon. He’s involved from top to bottom. We have about 100 meetings a day and he’s at most of them.
Q: You’ve earned four Emmys. Ever get tired of them?
A: I get tired of holding them. I’m kidding. It’s a nice cherry on top, but the real treat is working on an awesome show with an awesome guy.
Q: What do you think Jon will do after he leaves the show in August?
A: He’ll grow a beard.
Q: I saw the last beard —
A: A fuller beard. Some film and stand-up. I’m looking forward to working for the new guy, Trevor Noah. But it’s a bummer he’s leaving. It’s also exciting. He’s been here so long, I don’t even know what the new show will look like.
Q: For purposes of getting laughs, who are you rooting for in the presidential election?
A: I would love to see Ted Cruz in the debates. He is so steadfast in what he believes even if he disagrees with earlier beliefs. I love ballsy hypocrisy. Hey, how far is Mankato from Minneapolis?
Q: A little over an hour. Why?
A: After I graduated [from the University of Florida], we did a bunch of road trips and skateboarded. One of my favorite memories was linking up with local musicians [in Mankato] and crashing on people’s floors.
Q: I’m sure you’ll have a lot of Mankato folks come to the show.
A: I doubt it.