Last week Wyatt Cenac celebrated the 4-year anniversary of his weekly Brooklyn stand up show Night Train. To call Night Train a staple of the NYC comedy scene is almost an injustice. It’s a goddamn beloved institution and one of the coolest shows out there. Cenac who is also known for his run as a Daily Show correspondent, recorded a 17-minute take on the 2016 election that he is now offering as a free EP, and all you have to do to get it, is sign up for his newly created newsletter.
In his newly established newsletter to fans (and the junk folder of their mailboxes) Wyatt Cenac acknowledged that some of the content on his new EP Night Train Presents… One Angry Night In November “might have a short shelf life”. But get your hands on this because regardless. Recorded six days after Trump’s election, Cenac muses on what a weird time it is and the implications of the future, especially on how illegal under the Trump administration it’ll be to wear a hijab and have ovaries or brown skin. Sure, the material might not be especially relevant as time goes on (hopefully), but it’s a pretty great time capsule representative of a time of communal shock and grief (unless you voted for Trump).
Especially in the beginning of the recording, the ex-“Daily Show” writer is notably speechless. Perhaps in ten years, it’ll be so odd to remember that for awhile, everyone in the country was just at a loss for any words, including those who’ve made a career off their words and daring perspectives. Cenac gathers momentum and decimates the pregnant silence into a downpour of laughter when he “hopes that is not the deal with the devil that Chicago Cubs fans made” in case they all “wished on a monkey’s paw” so that “nobody from Chicago ever has to win anything again”. Cenac’s politics are biting and imaginative. He compares this brief grace period before January 20th to the “last few weeks before school started… and this is not the school all our friends go to. Nah, this is some weird military Christian academy our parents signed us up for because they caught us smoking weed and listening to the Hamilton soundtrack.” Cenac doesn’t just stick to the topical jokes on alt-right politics, he goes deeper to the white supremacy America’s been built on.
The whole thing, and maybe a lot of things in the coming weeks, feels like a misery parade. Sure, the theme of the party is sorrow but at least we’re all at a party together. Right? Cenac hits on the sentiment people have shared that “America’s more sexist than racist” and that besides “shut the fuck up”, “why is that a competition people are trying to win?”. That terrible contest aside, Cenac discusses the passive “ideals of white supremacy” founding America where “we white people can really live like white people and really let our hair down and really white people it”. What catapulted Trump into the Presidency is awakening that unthinking “white supremacy [that’s] lazy, like just not even considering another person’s existence” like “being a dog… that will take a shit in your kitchen.” You can yell at the dog, but it’s not going to not shit in your kitchen because you weren’t paying attention.
The timing of the recording is poignant. The show Cenac’s performance is taken from was the 4th anniversary of Night Train, so the show’s spanned the comfort of Obama’s incumbent administration and now this utterly unprecedented territory. In exchange for subscribing to Cenac’s newsletter, a download of “One Angry Night in November” is absolutely free.