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How Jordan Klepper's "Trump Diet" brought him to "the fringe"

by Melissa Holzberg /
A Conversation With Jordan Klepper
CAMBRIDGE, MA - OCTOBER 10: Comedy Central's Jordan Klepper speaks at "A Conversation With Jordan Klepper" moderated by Jesse Shelburne and Sharon Yang at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum on October 10, 2017 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)Paul Marotta / Getty Images

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For political satire and late night comedians, the Trump presidency may seem like the gift that keeps on giving. But Jordan Klepper, host of Comedy Central’s “The Opposition,” doesn’t buy that. On the latest episode of 1947: The Meet the Press Podcast, Klepper said President Trump is the gift of focus, not a gift to comedy.

“We can’t get outside of this Trump cyclone, this bomb cyclone that is here right now,” said Klepper. “We are all almost forced to comment on this thing, but the downside to that is we’re all picking from this one [topic].”

Klepper got his start in comedy improv with The Second City in Chicago. He began to focus on politically-edged comedy and realized how necessary it was for comedians to constantly keep up with the news. He eventually went to work for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart“ during the final years of Stewart’s tenure there.

“I got into an improv show that was news-based called World News Tonight. We’d take news clippings, we’d read them, we’d improvise satire kind of off of that. And immediately, within a week of that, it was like, ‘I’m not reading the news enough.’” he said. “I’m commenting on these things, I need to be informed on these things because I can’t add commentary without any kind of basis.”

In a media environment where the public is split on where information and news come from, Klepper decided to start listening to the Republican electorate’s news choices, which he called the “Trump diet”.

“I want to see what he’s watching, but our show, ‘The Opposition,’ wants to take a look at what’s happening on the fringe,” said Klepper. “I’d go to a lot of Trump rallies, at ‘The Daily Show,’ I followed that, and what I started noticing is these old tropes of ‘Where are you getting your news from?’ and what have you, it was Fox, and some CNN. But it was InfoWars, it was Breitbart, it was The Blaze.”

While Klepper argues he’s not like Alex Jones, even if they are both entertainers, Klepper does think that his brand of comedy -- politically-edged, sharp, a little bombastic -- is the name of the game in late night talk shows now.

“The late night slot in and of itself is a way to comment on what’s happening during the day. I felt like it used to be something like ‘This is what I want to go to bed to,’ and now it’s something you want to go to bed too but more so you want to wake up to and see how comedians digested the thing that just happened,” said Klepper.

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