In the Daily Show world, you can go from nervous pre-audition jitters to filming a segment for the show in the span of just four days. That was the case for the newest addition to the Daily Show team, Jordan Klepper, who debuted on the satirical news show Monday, replacing longtime correspondent John Oliver.
“I auditioned on Thursday and I got the news then that I would be starting on Monday,” Klepper explained to EW today in his first interview since joining the show. “They said, ‘Bring your suit, just in case,’ and I’m glad I did, because I wore my one suit on air that night. It was really quick. They had a piece that fit and everybody is so pro here I could kind of slide in and work with the writers and figure out how to make this thing work in just a few hours.”
Klepper, who calls out “Even Stevphen” as his favorite old Daily Show segment, is used to working on the fly. He moved to New York City three years ago and has been regularly performing improv and sketch shows at Upright Citizens Brigade. “I like to do as much improv as I can do,” Klepper explained, saying he hoped to continue improv shows even with his new Daily Show commitments.
What’s the initiation process like to become part of the best f–ing news team on television? “Lots of spanking,” Klepper said with a laugh. “Seriously, the process seems to be that they throw you in and you get going. It’s been a great day and a half here. I showed up yesterday and by 11:30 I was told I was going to be in a piece that we would be filming later on that day, so I jumped in and started working on the piece with some of the writers, and talking with Jon [Stewart] a little bit to get it ready to go up. It was incredible to start day one with the faith that this show puts in its staff.”
For now, Klepper is just hoping to get his bearings and isn’t concentrating on any one specific issue that he’d like to explore in-depth on the program. “Right now I’m working on getting acclimated to the world of the show,” he explained about his plan for the week. “I’m figuring out how these field pieces work. It’s been really inspiring and exciting to see how other people with this job who’ve succeeded, how they go about it. So right now I’m in learning mode.”
And who better to learn from than Jon Stewart, someone Klepper naturally said has been a comedy idol of his for years. “I was a little starstruck [meeting him for the first time] as you can imagine,” he said. “I met him at the audition on Thursday. He was incredibly warm and playful, which I think was part of what was great about the audition. We were kind of loose and improvising moments with a lot of fun back-and-forth. And then when I got on the show I was in a few meetings with him, got to work on the script with him for the show, and then when we did the show he had some nice words to say beforehand and lots of jokes to put me out of my head by threatening to fire me on day one. Which is the kind of pep talk you really want to begin a show like this [Laughs].”