The Daily Show’s Desi Lydic Uses Humor To Speak Truth To Power

by Ana  Breton

Even after nine years as a correspondent for The Daily Show, Desi Lydic still finds plenty of exciting challenges at her job. Chatting with her over Zoom from her New York bedroom-slash-home office, Lydic, who is currently the most senior female correspondent on the Comedy Central news show, says she was nervous when she first took a swing at hosting in 2023. 

The Daily Show has gone through a rotation of celebrity hosts, including Sarah Silverman, Leslie Jones, and some of the show’s own correspondents since host Trevor Noah departed in 2022. Lydic first guest-hosted for a week last April (which happened to be the week Tucker Carlson was fired from Fox News) and guest co-hosted with fellow correspondent Jordan Klepper in November to rave reviews. Then in February, former host Jon Stewart returned to helm the show on Monday nights through the 2024 election cycle, with the rest of the week being handled by the correspondents, including Lydic. “Being able to sit in the guest-host seat for the first time was a terrifying moment. I didn’t know if I could do it, but I knew I had to jump in and try,” says Lydic, 42, who was among Noah’s starting lineup of correspondents when he took over in 2015. “If last year taught me anything, it was to throw myself into these situations and try something that scares me a little bit. To trust that I have my own back.” 

When asked if she considers herself a feminist, she doesn’t even allow me to finish the question. “Yes, of course!” she exclaims. And certainly, it makes sense. Her 2019 Comedy Central special, Desi Lydic: Abroad, explored just how far behind the United States is compared to other countries when it comes to gender equality. (The U.S. was ranked 51st at the time the special was taped but is currently 43rd, according to the World Economic Forum.) Lydic also hosts a punchy and often viral online series called Desi Lydic Foxplains, which was nominated for an Emmy in 2022. 

Besides reporting actively on the upcoming election, taking on more hosting duties, and continuing her online series, Lydic is also set to appear in the upcoming film Space Cadet, starring Emma Roberts and Gabrielle Union. Roberts stars as a Florida party girl who, after years of feeling dissatisfied with her life, decides to follow her dreams of joining the NASA space program. Lydic plays Roberts’ nemesis, “which was really, really fun,” she says. 

The film, set for release later in 2024, was partly filmed in Huntsville, AL, home of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. While there, Lydic says the cast had the opportunity to play around with and study actual astronaut training equipment. But the experience did not awaken in Lydic a desire to pursue a real career in space exploration. “I don’t even like being in elevators,” she says. “I could not do that. Space terrifies me almost as much as this upcoming election.” 

PHOTOS BY ELISABETH CAREN 

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