Daily Show Correspondent Roy Wood Jr. Credits Bernie Mac With Career Changing Advice

roy wood jr

I finally got the opportunity to sit down with to talk about his gig as a correspondent on . We’ve been passing each other like ships in the night because we’re both always running off someplace, so before he took the stage to headline Gotham Comedy Club over the holiday weekend we sat down in the green room to chat. As a testament to his popularity despite the holiday weekend the room was packed.

Roy suggested we sit down and talk before the show started because he had to run out to do a set at The Cellar before his second show of the night, which speaks both to his determination as a performer and also how important it is to do a set at The Cellar! No one wants to give that up. When I asked him if he was working on anything else besides The Daily Show he explained it to me this way, “I won’t pretend to be a female. but doing The Daily Show is almost like finding out your career got pregnant, and you gotta drop everythinng and just tend to that pregnancy. So any of the projects, any of the scripts that I had in the works, you have to put a pause on it because you have an opportunity to be a part of an institution, … so maybe you should just focus on that for a while dummy, and go back to your stupid sports vlogs later!” He added, laughing, “those things are no longer a priority right now”!

To which I reminded him that as a result of his stand-out appearances on the show, all or at least many of those projects will eventually come to fruition, and the show will give him a voice he may not have had before. He said it’s been fun to be a part of it but even more fun to learn the process of what goes into making a show like The Daily Show. He said there’s actually so much more that goes into the making of the show than you would think as a comic just watching the show but when you’re there day in and day out, for like 10-12 hours a day, and you start seeing how they put everything together, you realize how much work goes into making that show.

He said that Bernie said– and he said he was paraphrasing– but that Bernie said no matter who’s there, no matter where you are, the people are entitled to a good show.

He said he’s been doing comedy for 17 years and he feels like everything he’s been doing up to this point has been “one long-ass internship! A 17 year-long paid internship but now my actual job has begun!” He was particualrly impressed by the collaboration and the collaborative spirit that goes into making the show. One of the big surprises to me was when I asked him how he got the show, and he said he didn’t even know. He said “their people called my people and 48 hours later I was on a plane to New York for my audition.” He said he was “oblivious” to how his name fell on their radar, but that he’d been working hard for those 17 years, and he’s “thankful that somebody noticed what I had been doing and took the time to drop my name!”.

And he said that’s why he feels that all comedians should always try and give a good show, which is a concept he said came from , in his book, and it helped to change his ideology. He said that Bernie said– and he said he was paraphrasing– but that Bernie said no matter who’s there, no matter where you are, the people are entitled to a good show. No nights off, you give your all every night, because you never know who’s in the crowd and apparently someone who was connected to the show saw me do something positive years ago, and when it came time for them to look for a “slighly overweight Black comedian” my name came up! Then we high-fived on “Top of the list bitch!”

He’s got these stylish European shoes on sometimes, … I gotta get him a pair of Jordans

He said at this point it doesn’t matter who it was, but what IS important is that he proves them right by doing the job properly and paying it forward by helping somebody else! He said he had always been a fan of Trevor’s but never actually met him until the audition. He said that Trevor is such a “wonderful dude” adding “he’s African, so you know they wear different shoes from us sometimes” which I took as a metaphor for people from other countries who may be on a different path or who do things differently than we do, but he was being literal, and really was referring to Trevor’s actual shoes, as he continued “He’s got these stylish European shoes on sometimes, … I gotta get him a pair of Jordans”, he added laughingly. And that’s when I busted out laughing at the fact that I thought he was using a metaphor when he was just being real about Trevor’s footwear! He said “ I’ve never seen any other Black dude wear shoes like that. I know they’re like top shelf shoes, I’ve just never seen ‘em before!”

When I asked him if he had any advice for up and comers he said, “ Just work hard and trust in your talent man! Too many people expecting somethin’ else to come from other people, like ‘ Why haven’t I gotten something, because the other guy got it?” Well his walk isn’t your walk,” … which is when I thought he was going back to the shoe metaphor, but I was wrong again, because he continued with, “I been doing this 17 years and I seen cats been doin’ it six or seven years doin’ stuff that I still have yet to do in my career. You don’t get bitter about that. You don’t even pay attention to it. You just respect that’s what your path is, so just be your best to perform and capitalize on it when you have a chance. That’s all I’m tryin’ to do!”

And with that we went back upstairs so I could watch him kill to a packed house!

jeffrey gurian roy wood jr

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Jeffrey Gurian is a comedy writer, comedian, author, producer, comedy connoisseur, comedy journalist, and an all around bon vivant. You can find him on red carpets, at comedy events across the country and hosting Comedy Matters TV. He’s the author of the book Make ‘Em Laugh with an intro by Chris Rock”. You've seen him on Comedy Central's Kroll Show and he's a regular on SiriusXM's Bennington Show and it's predecessor the Ron and Fez Show. He's also A BIG BELIEVER in Happiness and Love.
Jeffrey Gurian
Jeffrey Gurian
Jeffrey Gurian is a comedy writer, comedian, author, producer, comedy connoisseur, comedy journalist, and an all around bon vivant. You can find him on red carpets, at comedy events across the country and hosting Comedy Matters TV. He’s the author of the book Make ‘Em Laugh with an intro by Chris Rock”. You've seen him on Comedy Central's Kroll Show and he's a regular on SiriusXM's Bennington Show and it's predecessor the Ron and Fez Show. He's also A BIG BELIEVER in Happiness and Love.