Big post alert.🔑
After nine months of helping re-launch The Daily Show with Trevor Noah as Supervising Producer for Digital Expansion, I am leaving the show today. It has been a challenging and incredible journey. I’m hella proud of what the show overall and my team in particular have accomplished.
When Trevor Noah recruited me for this position, I joked with him that “I don’t want to be your digital monkey.” I didn’t want to be relegated to a corner somewhere sending tweets. He got it and supported my view that I wasn’t building an ancillary digital team but an integrated “Expansion Team.” That’s literally what I decided we should be called, and it stuck. We would build on, with, and beyond what the show was already doing and expand The Daily Show.
I inherited two-and-a-half existing staffers, a digital producer based at Comedy Central, and I hired digital news legend Ant De Rosa. We formed Voltron, and we defended the crap out of the universe.
In just nine months and roughly 100 episodes, we grew The Daily Show’s social reach by more than one million followers. We published thousands of items to the internet, generating millions of likes and faves and hearts and shares and shouts and digipressions, as the people formerly known as the audience continued their great migration away from proprietary set-top boxes and 20th century business models, toward an even greater unknown.
More meaningful, and infinitely more fun than the numbers, has been the ability to tap into the show’s existing creative talent and create new, funny things with tech.
On a regular basis, the Expansion team worked with various departments to unleash things like: YourBoyBlackTrump.com, Trump Dick, and debate night live-tweet achievements. We created that moment when Ben Carson separated a Kit Kat bar and when Lindsey Graham got deep. We launched Cruz Your Own Adventure, Third Month Mania, and that open letter from the Zuckerberg baby.
This is just a sampling, and it doesn’t do justice to the process and systems work we had to do. On my first day at the show, they gave me a tower PC (Seriously. I thought they were joking because it’s a comedy show, but no). Today, words like Slack, Github, Amazon S3, Giphy, and Twilio are increasingly part of The Daily Show lexicon.
This has probably been the hardest job I’ve ever had, and while the work has been challenging, it isn’t the only challenge I’m up to. I love bending technology to people’s creative wills. I also love being able to express myself directly to people, and now I’m ready to get back on stage, on the mic, and on screens of all sizes.
With this election revealing the actual nation in which we live (versus the myth we’ve believed), with the tech world forcing ever more unconsidered changes on societies, with Boaty McBoatface demoted to a drone sub against the will of the people, I must get back to the other parts of my work.
While at The Daily Show, I learned as much as I could, as fast as I could, while I could. And I learned from those who are some of the best at jobs I never could do. I am so grateful to them all, especially Trevor. I will miss this place, and I have even more respect today than the day I started for the miracle the staff pulls off in making The new Daily Show every day.
Next for me: eating dinner before 9:30pm, clearing out my book-length Instapaper queue, and opening my mail. I’ll be doing more standup; more TV; and more plotting. I’ve missed y’all, and I’m looking forward to this next phase.
Oh yeah, I have an email list!