It's been a momentous year for fake-news ambassadorship in Austin. By the time 2013 ends, we'll have entertained a satellite van's worth of cable news charlatans – and they us.
Like individual appearances by The Daily Show With Jon Stewart correspondents Samantha Bee and John Oliver before them, program cogs John Hodgman, Al Madrigal, and longtime executive producer and writer Rory Albanese will hit town: banding together at the Paramount Theatre on Nov. 8.
"Daily Show & Friends" is a special, one-off performance for Austin eyes only. So, on the A-list of America's young, hip, liberal outposts, why do we get priority? Our issuance of more cloying Jon Stewart fan mail per capita than other star-spangled bastions of progressiveness? That's a data crunch only a postmaster general would be privy to. But Lietza Brass, the Paramount's executive director of programming, gives a clean answer: "This show fits Austin's and the Paramount audience's demo sweet spot. It's tailor-made for our town. They know it, and of course so do we."
But what does an "off-Broadway" spin-off of The Daily Show look like? On this occasion, the product will comprise a mesh of program montages – with a video introduction from its figurehead and faux-Cronkite, Jon Stewart – followed by individual stand-up sets from Hodgman, Madrigal, and Albanese with accompanying multimedia. Any comedic performance can take a hard wrong turn once the audience is licensed to speak, but hopefully the concluding Q&A will uphold our special place in the heart of the world's greatest satirical news show.
As a program contributor since 2006, John Hodgman periodically recurs as the show's "Senior" or "Resident" "Deranged Millionaire": the unscrupulous "HodgeCo" tycoon who owns a sweatshop that, in addition to manufacturing shirtwaists and circumventing damnable child-labor laws, "has kids working on all kinds of things: asbestos, pre-lit fireworks, (and especially) industrial hand-manglers."
The 42-year-old actor, comedian, author, and pillar in "The Best F#@king News Team Ever" appeared as a Daily Show guest eight years ago while promoting his 2005 "satirical almanac," The Areas of My Expertise. Stewart lauded the book, a tome of spurious trivia with emphasis on "hobo matters," as evincing "a certain kind of genius." Hodgman joined the program two months later and has since helmed another ongoing segment called "Money Talks."
Comedian and actor Al Madrigal, a Daily Show correspondent since 2011, performed a Comedy Central stand-up special in August entitled Why Is the Rabbit Crying? and toured with this summer's Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival, along with Daily Show contributor Kristen Schaal. The tour, headlined by Dave Chappelle and Flight of the Conchords, took its maiden voyage at the Austin 360 Amphitheatre on Aug. 23. Madrigal, the correspondent, has recently lent his investigative-reporting chops to a land dispute "between Georgia and the butt-chuggers of Tennessee," and appeared as a "Capitol Hill bureau chief" who trolls for Republican randos on an app called "Votr," but practices "fiscally safe sex."
Rory Albanese is a stand-up comedian himself – having performed with Daily Show personalities Lewis Black, John Oliver, and Wyatt Cenac – but he's perhaps best known for working behind the curtain as The Daily Show's executive producer, showrunner, and writer. Albanese had been with the program since 1999, the same year Stewart replaced original host Craig Kilborn, but amicably resigned last October to move to the West Coast and develop sitcoms. Still, the 36-year-old, Emmy-winning comedy craftsman – who also has a 2010 Comedy Central special under his belt – won't bail on what will be a legendary evening for levity at the Paramount on a Fun Fun Fun Friday night.
On a ceremonious evening when three major Daily Show players are conducting an exclusive event before comedy rock stars Sarah Silverman, Doug Benson, and more pop-off next door at the Stateside, would it be inconceivable for Jon Stewart to descend on Congress Avenue in a hot-air balloon? Might be a stretch. But the drifter you'll spot passed out in that ATM vestibule will indeed be Craig Kilborn.
"Daily Show & Friends" will take place Friday, Nov. 8, 8pm, at the Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress. For more information, call or visit www.austintheatre.org.
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