The Opposition with Jordan Klepper | Jordan Klepper & Jeff Gordinier | Talks at Google

[MUSIC PLAYING] JORDAN KLEPPER: Hey, everybody SPEAKER: Well, hello JORDAN KLEPPER: Hello SPEAKER: I think I should start with asking– JORDAN KLEPPER: You say hello back, guys Come on, for God’s sakes Let’s be congenial to one another What are these T-shirts? Can I know these T-shirts are? Sorry, it’s right in the front row Are these pictures of you on your own T-shirt? Is this a Google thing, or is this just a Rob thing? Good to know, OK SPEAKER: It’s not an inside joke we have to understand JORDAN KLEPPER: OK, yes Just a Rob thing, OK, good All right, I’m learning the Google ways, great SPEAKER: So I want to start out by asking who am I talking to JORDAN KLEPPER: Ooh SPEAKER: Am I talking to you, or am I talking to the character version of you? JORDAN KLEPPER: You are talking to me SPEAKER: The real Jordan JORDAN KLEPPER: The real Jordan, yes, as actualized as I can be, which is not very actualized SPEAKER: What is the difference between that person and the character? JORDAN KLEPPER: I’d like to think the real me is a little bit smarter and self-aware SPEAKER: We’d all like to think that JORDAN KLEPPER: We’d all like to think that I think it’s perspective I think when we talk about the character I play on the show or what have you, and the guy I try to highlight, it’s somebody who doesn’t understand his place in the world, and therefore, feels like he’s the victim in certain ways He feels like he’s being hated on He’s the white man who thinks he deserves everything And I think Jordan Klepper is the white man who understands a little bit of that privilege and that perspective I think the character does not and just uses that as a cudgel and as a weapon SPEAKER: The world is against him JORDAN KLEPPER: The world is against me I have something to fight against SPEAKER: So how did you find that person? How did you develop that character? What kind of research went into it? Did you go method like Daniel Day Lewis? JORDAN KLEPPER: I just became a little bit dumber and angrier, and just like that I don’t know what that Daniel Day Lewis guy is even doing I think what has actually been really fun– I’ve been doing improv comedy and comedy for a long time And so instead of necessarily stand-up, with improv and with sketch you create versions of yourself and find characters around that And then getting to do a show like “The Daily Show,” what was really fun about that is you are playing this heightened version of yourself but with flaws that allow you to bounce around different stories And so I think the ability to play that version of myself on “The Daily Show,” who wasn’t– it was titled Jordan Klepper I was a correspondent there But it’s a different version of Jordan Klepper That’s something that helped me figure out both how I could play this new show and how I could be a character within that world SPEAKER: So it’s kind of a political moment we’re living through JORDAN KLEPPER: You think? SPEAKER: A little bit Just a smidgen of interest these days JORDAN KLEPPER: It feels like people focused on politics nowadays, yeah SPEAKER: Possibly JORDAN KLEPPER: It could be SPEAKER: Or we’re getting there JORDAN KLEPPER: Yes SPEAKER: So to have a show like this that’s right in the thick of it, right in the midst of it going right into all these issues that people are talking about with this bizarre meta twist, how did you develop that? JORDAN KLEPPER: Well, I spent three years at “The Daily Show,” and I was talking with Comedy Central about doing another show And I loved– my job at “The Daily Show” was a dream job To get to both work with those people to do a show that’s constantly responding to the news was my passion and where I wanted to be But we talked about if we wanted to do a new show, where did that show want to live? And at the time, I was going to a lot of Trump rallies talking to a lot of people And this political moment you’re talking about it, this new Trumpism felt like something new It felt like something we were all experiencing and trying to articulate what this moment was And as we were brainstorming what world should this show be in, I want it to be a show that is about the news, and I want it to be about something that feels like the news in 2017 And I think, as I was talking to a lot of those people at the Trump rallies, we were talking about where they were getting their news from And it wasn’t like– Trump is not your average Republican He’s not your average anything And I think we realized it’s not an ideological Republican thing that’s happening It’s a Trump thing that’s happening, and these people were getting their news at these Trump rallies not from the classic Fox News or at all CNN, they were getting it from these more fringier worlds and sites, like the “Infowars,” the “Breitbarts,” the “Daily Callers.” It was like, I think this world of paranoia and fringe feels like that moment that we want to start to play around in So if we’re going to build a show with a perspective, let’s build it out of that, out of that paranoia, that fear that’s the less classic conservatism and more like paranoia and chaos And I think also folding that in– SPEAKER: And make it funny JORDAN KLEPPER: And try to make it funny I mean, for me, what I like though is I got to play a character on “The Daily Show,” so I didn’t– What I always say is it’s show not tell Trevor is so great at being Trevor Noah and telling you the bullshit that he sees I think it’s more fun for me to be the guy who doesn’t see the bullshit and gets to play it

And for us, that felt like that was the world we wanted to inhabit SPEAKER: Immersion in those worlds, what did you learn from it? What do you continue to learn from it? When you’re at Trump rally, you’re among Roy Moore supporters or something, why is there this fixation on conspiracy theories? Why are they getting their news from these different sites? What’s the appetite? JORDAN KLEPPER: The appetite is for confirmation Yeah, so there’s confirmation bias of that thing you feel Now you can find it You can Google it I’ve researched you guys SPEAKER: Well done JORDAN KLEPPER: I know what you guys do SPEAKER: Product placement JORDAN KLEPPER: Yeah But you can find the news that complements your world view And so I see that is something we all do I’m guilty of it as well We all have our news sources, the places we want to go, the places that make us feel good in the morning, of like, yes, this is saying the thing about Trump that I want it to say This maybe is from a different perspective, but I can throw that out because I don’t like it And I think we’re living in a time where Donald Trump, what he’s very good at is creating distrust in institutions And I think we should be critical of institutions We should be aware of institutions But what I saw at these rallies was he legitimized the idea of doubting all information you don’t like He’s de-legitimizing media in a way that people think CNN is completely fake People don’t trust anything that comes out of “The New York Times.” SPEAKER: They really believe that? JORDAN KLEPPER: They believe that I think you see that groupthink because they hear it A story that I often talk about is I would go to– I started going to Trump rallies in January of the election year And I would talk to people outside And I would say 2 out of 10 people would buy into the Obama birth certificate, the birtherism conspiracy 2 out of 10 would talk openly about that Because at that point, it was very fringe, the idea of questioning Barack Obama, his legitimacy as a citizen, was like, eh, I’m not going to– no, that’s crazy But I support Donald Trump By the end, that was easy 8 out of 10 It was so open that you didn’t have to feel weird about that because all those people would walk into an arena where a guy who’s leading in the polls is telling them, “you should be doubting these things.” He was yelling at the media, “they’re fake They’re fake They’re fake.” It’s all you ever hear And you hear something three times, and you start to believe it And with Donald Trump, you hear something a million times And I think we see that with– we see what he’s doing with media And I think it’s dangerous, because now you don’t have to trust that institution of news, and now “The New York Times” is just as fringe as some bullshit thing you see pop up on Facebook And so I think that’s what I’m starting to see I see it starting to happen now with the FBI And I think that’s what’s scary I think that’s the next institution Robert Mueller’s going to fire in the next couple of weeks, and there’s not going to be an outcry from those people because the FBI is now an institution Law enforcement is an institution that we don’t have to buy into anymore SPEAKER: What happens when he gets fired? JORDAN KLEPPER: Boy, I think timing is going to be really interesting I think the Doomsday– or the pessimist inside of me says he gets fired, and the left is– they throw their hands up They’re really frustrated And there’s a big groundswell to hold Trump’s feet to the fire Hopefully there’s a big– I could see a big march on Washington or something I would hope to see that I think that is a scary moment in our culture I don’t see a lot of the people on the right who are in power as having the backbone to stand up to that I think that’s a really scary point for us to be SPEAKER: I feel like there was this pivotal moment with Merrick Garland and the Supreme Court, which people don’t always refer to But the fact that Mitch McConnell stonewalled so completely on that is something that constitutionally is simply supposed to happen He was the nominee He’s supposed to go through the procedure It simply never occurred That to me was a signal of all bets are off JORDAN KLEPPER: All bets are off The idea of bipartisanship or a line that we won’t cross– and we don’t talk about Merrick Garland anymore SPEAKER: Yeah, I know People don’t even know who I’m talking about when I mention his name It’s strange, because it was a major thing JORDAN KLEPPER: That was a clearly partisan move that people are like, this won’t stand And now we don’t remember it He won McConnell won SPEAKER: By doing nothing JORDAN KLEPPER: By doing nothing, by not letting Merrick Garland get his day in court, if you will They got their own guy in SPEAKER: And that seems to me significant in terms of indicating what could happen with Robert Mueller JORDAN KLEPPER: Yes I think what we need is good strong leaders to stand up against somebody who is in their party for what is good in America I think you see some people You see people like Jeff Flake You see people who are willing to buck the system and go against what the president is doing And I think we need that And hopefully, hopefully, we have enough faith in American democracy that people stand up I honestly haven’t seen enough evidence of it SPEAKER: I want to switch to a question about your health

I’m concerned because of the MAGAMeal going challenge JORDAN KLEPPER: Oh, geez, yeah SPEAKER: I don’t know if you saw this If you didn’t, Google it JORDAN KLEPPER: Good, good SPEAKER: Nice What did you eat exactly? It was basically a Trump lunch JORDAN KLEPPER: Yes So it came out in a book by Corey Lewandowski, his former campaign manager, just last week, if you saw this Donald Trump’s regular order for McDonald’s was two Big Macs, two Filet of Fishes, and a chocolate malt slash shake That’s what he would order at McDonald’s They say regularly, even daily, which is fucking insane That’s insane SPEAKER: I’m nauseated thinking about it JORDAN KLEPPER: He’s a 71-year-old man, a grumpy old 71-year-old man who’s just inhaling this regularly And so on the show, our mind was sort of blown And the questions we were asking– one is, this is this guy is making the most important decisions on Earth, and this is the fuel that he has And so we were like, let’s do a thing where I’m discussing I’m having to make decisions I’m having to discuss what he was discussing At that point, it was the Jerusalem decision where they were “moving” our embassy to Jerusalem SPEAKER: Just a minor thing JORDAN KLEPPER: Just a minor thing, just dealing with the Middle East So I decided to take the MAGAMeal challenge and eat his entire order in the course of a segment And that’s a lot of food, guys I would not recommend that By the time you shove a Big Mac in, it’s the smell of the Filet of Fish that gets you a little bit nauseous there SPEAKER: You mentioned that it was fishier than you remembered It was JORDAN KLEPPER: It was way fishier I hadn’t eaten that much McDonald’s in quite some time And I was like, I can do this And this one was real fun We were writing the show, and just before going out, trying to figure it out I’m going to eat this meal I’m going to try to do it and kind of host, and we’ll have somebody out who’s actually helping host But how do I eat it? What should I eat first? Will I be able to eat all of this stuff? And we had probably like a 10 minute digression of whether it was possible for a human being to eat this And then we took a step back, and we were like, this is the regular order of the commander in chief right now And we’re like, I just don’t know if it’s humanly possible I just don’t know SPEAKER: Did you actually finish it? JORDAN KLEPPER: I finished almost all of it I still had like– I think I was 3/4 of the way there I still had one Fillet of Fish I mean it I almost vomited six times because it is the smell of fillet of fish shoved into your mouth SPEAKER: There was kind of a chartreuse hue on your face JORDAN KLEPPER: Yeah, you get where that color’s coming from Donald Trump when you eat his diet You’re like, oh, I see this I also eat that, and I don’t want to get vile But I’m like, that’s what that man eats You know he’s stressed He’s nervous because everybody is coming at him And can you imagine just the Trump farts in a car with him? Because that bag already has its own order, and you just have an unhealthy 71-year-old man with the weight of the world on him who is just angry inhaling that I’m like, that is the worst place on Earth to be right there SPEAKER: That’s actually the most disgusting scenario ever JORDAN KLEPPER: Can you just imagine being in that car? Oh, oh, OK SPEAKER: But you’re OK I wondered if you could even think after that, because I would imagine the brain fog, the food coma JORDAN KLEPPER: I ended that segment I did go backstage and threw up a little bit SPEAKER: A little bit? JORDAN KLEPPER: A little bit SPEAKER: [INAUDIBLE] go in! JORDAN KLEPPER: I wanted more to come out And then I came out, and I interviewed astronaut Scott Kelly That’s the fun thing of this job And if you watch that, my eyes are so bloodshot in that interview because I had just thrown up nearly 2,400 calories and then sat down with an astronaut It’s a fun job SPEAKER: What’s space like? JORDAN KLEPPER: Yeah, tell me about space How does that affect your body? Tell me SPEAKER: You grew up in Michigan JORDAN KLEPPER: Yup SPEAKER: Michigan went to Trump JORDAN KLEPPER: It did SPEAKER: Do you have any insight into that? JORDAN KLEPPER: Yes, yes, I have a lot of insights SPEAKER: Good JORDAN KLEPPER: Good, let me share some No, I grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan Michigan is always right on the line with that I did a special about the gun debate that focused a lot on Michigan And it’s partially because Michigan is very much a microcosm of America Kalamazoo has got a couple universities It’s a fairly liberal town You go 10 miles outside of Kalamazoo, and you are in hunting town And all you’re going to do is you’re hunting duck You’re hunting quail It has Calvin College, which is 40 minutes outside of Kalamazoo It’s a very religious little enclave as well And you start to see America is full of a lot of different people, a lot of things they very much care about And I think when I would go back and talk to people in Michigan,

you see that, I think, a lot of liberals focused on this election as something that you are taking the totality of Trump And I think there’s a lot of people in Michigan and places across the country who take one issue, and they hold on to that And it could have been the Second Amendment It could have been abortion I think we see that in Alabama as well There’s a lot of Trump voters who are one-issue voters, and that issue might have just been, I want a change And for me, that’s always been something in Michigan whose had– Michigan has had its issues Detroit has had a really tough time, is coming back right now Flint has had a really tough time The automobile industry has been up and down and a little bit back up again in a way that people are frustrated People are underemployed And I think you look at election as a way to like vote for change And at its simplest– in this last election, if you were unhappy about where you were in life, and you wanted a change, the candidate who was advocating change was Donald Trump And I think I could empathize with that understanding I was against that decision for a lot of the reasons But I could see that a lot of people who were frustrated, who were down on their luck and were like, I want change, to me, Hillary Clinton is not change Donald Trump, at least it will shake things up SPEAKER: Even if change is a dumpster fire JORDAN KLEPPER: Yeah, because I think– change is a dumpster fire SPEAKER: I don’t care JORDAN KLEPPER: It’s different But I do think at it’s basic, if you are somebody who has been down on their luck and doesn’t have a lot of faith in what government can do, then the idea of, let’s blow up the government, is not as insane as some people might make it out to be Again, not something I advocate, but it is something I can empathize with SPEAKER: When you were growing up, were there certain comedians who had an influence on you and your sensibility? JORDAN KLEPPER: I was a huge Jim Carrey fan But as far as sensibility, I just ripped off every line he said in “Ace Ventura” and “Dumb and Dumber,” and just regurgitated in my math class SPEAKER: Did you really? JORDAN KLEPPER: Oh, yes, I was so annoying in math class, just quoting “Dumb and Dumber” line after line SPEAKER: The teacher’s just like, Klepper, oh, my god JORDAN KLEPPER: Just shut up Let me go through this theorem But I think “Monty Python,” British comedy, was always really exciting to me “Monty Python,” sketch comedy, “The State,” those were early things that I really got into it “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” was something that I fell in love with watch on Comedy Central and made me go and do improv comedy in college SPEAKER: Did it really? JORDAN KLEPPER: It did, yeah I would come home after school in high school and watch “General Hospital” with my mom, and then I would watch “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” on Comedy Central And I would love it I loved Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie And when I went to college, I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life And at orientation, I walked onto campus, and there was an ad up to audition for the improv team And I was like, oh, that’s such a fun thing I’ve been a fan of that Let’s give that a shot And it was a blast and kind of segue into me taking a real interest in this idea of comedy and the idea of performance SPEAKER: I recently saw– I finally caught up with “The Big Sick,” great film, and it reminded me of those gutting moments of a comic up on stage trying to get the crowd to laugh, and things are just– Have you had those nights? JORDAN KLEPPER: No, no, I’ve always had success with comedy SPEAKER: Just home run, batted 1,000 JORDAN KLEPPER: Almost, but with improv, you’d be surprised I’m always just knocking them out of the park SPEAKER: Just from the start JORDAN KLEPPER: Right off the bat, you’d be surprised, a real natural No, that is part of the quest, I think Improv is full of those moments I think, from an outsider perspective, it’s almost entirely those moments From an insider, you think you’re killing a lot more than you are But I think that feeling of you can fail and you’re constantly getting response from the audience is part of what is so exciting, but it never goes away I think you’re always hoping that you are getting the response that you want But comedians, you’re always failing too Again, that has been something that is a really worthwhile lesson, especially doing the job I do right now where you have to be responsive We write a lot of jokes We write a lot of shows We’re doing one every day You can’t be precious, because that fear will lock it up, and you won’t create anything And so I think that nugget that I take from improv is– try, be confident If you fail, step over it, and keep moving forward SPEAKER: I would imagine you can’t get hung up on one dead joke, one failure, or you’d just be paralyzed JORDAN KLEPPER: Yes And you do I’m not without total fear and doubt It happens for sure The internet also helps that too You will have that moment that didn’t go well, and the internet will find it, and they will tweet it back at you, which is really nice to be like, remember, you’re a failure Thank you, good to know SPEAKER: Just wanted to let you know you suck JORDAN KLEPPER: Yeah, exactly Thank you noted SPEAKER: Right on JORDAN KLEPPER: So that is always there But yeah, I think if you get too caught up on it– again, I’m lucky

I go into work the next day, and it’s like, I’ve got to focus on today SPEAKER: Another question related to your health, more your psychological health, your balance– JORDAN KLEPPER: This is like a physical SPEAKER: I’m worried about you, OK? I’m worried about you JORDAN KLEPPER: Am I am on trial here? What’s going to happen? SPEAKER: How do you get away? You’re swimming in these conspiracy theories all the time to feed the show, to feed your character You’re in touch with the lunacy, the batshitness of “Infowars” and stuff like that And how do you get away from it? How do you escape just to meditate and get some peace? You know what I mean? Because I think it would infect your dreams after a while JORDAN KLEPPER: It does, yeah Yeah, it does I would say my dreams are infected by the conspiracy of it Also I’m three months into the show, and the anxiety of putting up a show is all encompassing And so I think we are inundated ourselves with news and getting this job done, and the mind is racing What I have found is getting new input is very important, and I don’t have a lot of time right now I had to move into Manhattan I was a Brooklyn guy, and I moved into Manhattan because that’s where our studio is And so something I do now, I wake up on Saturday And it’s like, I can’t read the news I do it every morning, but I’m not going to read it right now I’m going to get up, and I usually– I go to art museums just for an hour, an hour and a half, to get a new input that is not commentary, that is not telling me about Trump I can look at an abstract painting, and I can make it about Trump, and I usually do But I like the idea of getting something in that is just not modern bickering, modern partisanship or editorializing For me, that’s pretty important It gets me a little of the way there SPEAKER: Because I would suspect everyone in this room can say there are moments in our lives when we’re inundated with social media and the flow of all this to where it just feels unhealthy You’re in it to the n-th power JORDAN KLEPPER: Yeah, I think it’s part of our society right now, this idea of turning off your phone It’s hard And I think now this is much more a part of what my job is, and I need to stay up on top of it But it doesn’t help with clarity I think I find myself losing perspective Because every day, we’re making choices about what we’re going to cover, what the story of the day, what our show’s story of the day should be, and if you’re too glued to your phone, there’s 10 new stories coming up all the time that can make you lose perspective But you have to ride that line of being aware but also not being lost SPEAKER: As a creator of comedy, when a character comes along like Roy Moore, do you do you dance a jig? Are you just like, this is comedy gold? Or I mean the horse, the little gun? JORDAN KLEPPER: The potential rape and pedophilia SPEAKER: I mean, he’s repulsive, and yet, you have to create comedy out of it Do you react like this is too much, it’s too dark? Or, actually, we can create something very entertaining out of it? How do you react to it? JORDAN KLEPPER: The reaction is a guttural feeling I react I’m aghast at it It isn’t like we find it, and that’s the job And it’s amazing what Donald Trump and Roy Moore will do on a day to day basis I can’t believe that That is something we can respond to It’s sad, becaused we watched these videos, especially as Roy Moore was coming on the scene, and hearing the things he talks about– we are happy we can find comedy in it But we are saddened by what we are seeing with these characters So I do think– people often ask us, oh, you must feel so happy that Donald Trump and this era feels so crazy And it’s like, the comedy comes out of feeling frustrated and angry I wish we didn’t have this clown in office right now who is tweeting out Islamophobic videos day in and day out It’s like, this is insane SPEAKER: Well, for me, that was a level of disgust I reached it I just felt like I couldn’t function I was like, why is he doing this? It’s just horrible JORDAN KLEPPER: Yes SPEAKER: But then you have to create a show You see what I mean? It’s such an interesting place to be, where you have to take that disgust, that repulsion, that anger, and then convert it into something that is highly entertaining Your show is great It’s weird JORDAN KLEPPER: What’s fun about that is, because we play this character, for me, going into this Trump era, what is fun is the defensiveness, how Trump has to defend these noxious actions And I think you can only throw up your hands so many times I’m like, you see what he did? You see what he did? And so for us, it’s like, we saw what he did Sarah Huckabee Sanders is going to have to defend this in an hour and a half Kellyanne Conway is going to have to twist this Mitch McConnell is going to have to find a way in which to walk the line And for us, that’s the bullshit that we can look at it and be like, look at the way in which people

are bending over backwards to support hate speech or to “not offend” their core constituents It’s like we get to play in that world We get to hide and go crazy And I think the one saving grace that I have is I get to go to work with a bunch of really smart, funny people, and we get to throw up our hands and then be like, all right let’s talk about it Let’s find a way to find some light in it SPEAKER: Do you have any backstage rituals before you go on? Are there certain things that calm you down? JORDAN KLEPPER: Cocaine, man, just you know SPEAKER: Old school JORDAN KLEPPER: Old school comedy though, right? SPEAKER: ’70s, ’80s style, right? Whatever works, man JORDAN KLEPPER: Whatever, you know? We are writing right up until the end, and so for me, it’s a very stressful day It’s 8-10 hour days of putting together the show But as soon as that thing is locked, sent to prompter, I go and meet the guests The ritual is the getting ready for the show I do a couple of little improv things I used to do, little warm ups just to kind of get my mind like vocal warm ups or physical things to get my mind remembering that I’m not writing anymore, I’m performing And then the crowd and the energy of a room awakens you to turn from being producer to being performer And then you just go SPEAKER: Like with the MAGAMeal, were you saying before that you were basically writing it 10 minutes before you were fine tuning it? JORDAN KLEPPER: Well, what we sort of do, it’s a race each day And we write and rewrite and throw stuff out and keep creating, and then we do a rehearsal usually around like 3:30 each day And that runs till 4:00-4:30 And graphics that we’re changing, everything is constantly happening there But at like 4:00-4:30, we grab it, and we go into a room, a handful of us, and we just basically rewrite and go line the line and change the stuff that we like, add new stuff that’s happened during the day, until about 6:30, when we give a thumbs up And then usually, it’s like we get a 30 minute clock, and then we walk out and do it So it’s a sprint until the performance It’s a lot of adrenaline SPEAKER: I bet JORDAN KLEPPER: Yeah SPEAKER: In the spirit of the word “sprint,” I was told that we should do something known as a lightning round JORDAN KLEPPER: Ooh, Good segue SPEAKER: But I got my– yeah, nice I worked on that all week JORDAN KLEPPER: Nice, all week? SPEAKER: Yeah, man JORDAN KLEPPER: That’s great That paid off SPEAKER: I was waiting for you to say a word like that, and I thought, I’ll just move it I’ll just go It’s actually five minutes early I’m supposed to do the lightning round later But you said “sprint,” let’s do it now JORDAN KLEPPER: Let’s do it SPEAKER: Yeah But I’m going to do it a little different I’m going to do a free association kind of thing, because I feel like we’re living in this world that’s absolutely populated by super villains It’s amazing the cast of characters that grace our screens So I’m just going to throw out their names, and I want to hear what you think of each person What comes to mind, free association, Freudian? And when I start– JORDAN KLEPPER: Freudian, I’m just going to go, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom SPEAKER: –just go straight in JORDAN KLEPPER: Sex, Dad SPEAKER: MAGAMeal Gmail JORDAN KLEPPER: Indigestion SPEAKER: Disheveled drunk, Steve Bannon JORDAN KLEPPER: Pus Pus, collars, layers, sweat, ETA a year and a half, then he’s out of our life– fingers crossed SPEAKER: You had me at pus JORDAN KLEPPER: Oh, you sound like my wife I don’t even know what that means SPEAKER: Yeah, let’s move on Joe Arpaio JORDAN KLEPPER: Oh, disaster, disaster I was down there at one of the rallies where Trump was talking about pardoning Joe Arpaio And I think that was just a disaster, partisan disaster, let’s say that SPEAKER: Mike Pence JORDAN KLEPPER: Hair SPEAKER: Hair? JORDAN KLEPPER: Hair, just a little helmet, he just has a perfectly coiffed helmet SPEAKER: What’s underneath the hair? JORDAN KLEPPER: A hatred of homosexuals, I think, at least the last time I heard I think it’s just a body of Christianity as a shield That’s what I think he’s got underneath there Pus, let’s say pus SPEAKER: No, you finally get pus once JORDAN KLEPPER: I only get one pus? Oh, I didn’t know the rules SPEAKER: You can’t keep– Bernie Sanders JORDAN KLEPPER: 2020 SPEAKER: Is that a hope? JORDAN KLEPPER: That is a hope You know what? I will say this I was not necessarily on the Bernie train this last election But I look back to that, and I am regretful I think there was a lack of media coverage of him That I will say as somebody who was watching a lot of that stuff That definitely affected my perspective of his chances,

of how real his support was And in one traditional way, I think I looked at the race for president I think looking back at that, I was like, oh, I think there was a real opportunity there that I definitely felt like I missed giving him more of a chance than I probably should have I think it’d be really interested if he ran again I don’t know if it will happen SPEAKER: Did you think he couldn’t win? JORDAN KLEPPER: I did I think I knew a little bit about Bernie Sanders when he came out and when he was introduced to the people so early in that election cycle I think the tenor of the conversation was like, he’s a socialist, a joke candidate SPEAKER: It’ll never happen JORDAN KLEPPER: Yeah And in the same way everybody talked about Donald Trump, in a way that was like, these are the joke candidates It’s Jeb It’s Hillary Let’s focus on that And I think, from my understanding, the elections I had been through and the people I talked to, it was like, oh, that’s– guys, have fun with the fringe But it’s these two people, let’s focus on it And so that’s the way the media covered it, and it was always Hillary But Trump was so enticing that it was so Hillary, it was so Trump, but it’s probably Jeb And then I think seeing that turn out, going to some of those rallies and seeing how excited people for Bernie were, it was shifting in my head But I was like, I think the narrative really was this is not how modern politics works A guy like Bernie Sanders won’t become president, and I think we thought that times 10 for Donald Trump And looking back, I was like, yeah, I think there was missed perspective from the media’s landscape And I think I was a victim of that SPEAKER: I actually was on the road the last week of the election because I did a cover story for “Esquire,” about Pharrell Williams And he was campaigning for Hillary, and there was an event in North Carolina with Hillary and Bernie and Pharrell And I was talking to one of Hillary’s advisors there, and I was like, you have to win this Do I say, please, please? I’m not taking sides, but nevertheless JORDAN KLEPPER: Feels like it SPEAKER: You know, come on He was like, oh, we got this Don’t worry I’m kind of haunted by this There was this incredible overconfidence that I think maybe was rooted in exactly what you’re referring to, all the paradigms from the past JORDAN KLEPPER: Yes, yeah I would say that with Trump, people are like, are you so surprised with Trump? It was like, I went to rallies I saw up close the fervor and the excitement people had for Donald Trump But what you can’t get even going to those is that 36,000 foot view I didn’t have the perspective The media kept telling me, yeah, this won’t catch on I was like, people are way into Trump There’s a lot of support, these rallies It feels legitimate But everybody is running it through these– this is how elections work This isn’t going to pay off Oh, I think things are different now And I do think social media, I think Facebook feeds the way in which we get our news, the way in which we interact with the world It’s like, we’re not just looking at– no, we’re not all just watching NBC telling us how this election is playing out We don’t know one place to look, and it’s so disparate, it’s hard to get that perspective And I think going into these next few elections, we just don’t know how they’re going turn out SPEAKER: A couple more names, Ivanka Trump JORDAN KLEPPER: Oh, disappointment SPEAKER: Disappointment? JORDAN KLEPPER: Disappointment I didn’t have a huge hope for her, but I think the way in which she talks about women’s rights and things of that nature, I think she holds a place where she can challenge her father I think she has in some places with Roy Moore and what have you But I’d like to see her use that platform a little bit It feels like Donald Trumps only trusts about two people, and I think she’s one of them SPEAKER: But she spoke against Roy Moore JORDAN KLEPPER: She did SPEAKER: And Trump, therefore, supported Roy Moore JORDAN KLEPPER: Yes, yes SPEAKER: Did I read that right? JORDAN KLEPPER: Well, I think you did I wonder what went on behind the scenes with that kind of a thing I think it was also really interesting that Bannon came out and he mocked Ivanka and the language she used for going at Roy Moore or going at the idea of people who prey on children I think it was a lightly veiled comment that she made I don’t know In the end, Donald Trump only listens to himself, and I think it’s unfair to say, she should be able to control her dad But I don’t think she should I don’t think she can But I do think she has his ear, and I wish she would talk a little louder sometimes SPEAKER: Mitch McConnell JORDAN KLEPPER: Oh, spineless SPEAKER: Right? JORDAN KLEPPER: Spineless SPEAKER: Do you ever have folks ask you, of all the super-villains, which one do you loathe the most? JORDAN KLEPPER: I mean, I’m having that happen right now SPEAKER: But I’m asking the crowd too, because I’m just saying, personally, for me, just really McConnell really gets to me JORDAN KLEPPER: What is it for you? SPEAKER: Because he could– McConnell, because he could stop all this He could stand up for civility and reason and unity, and he’s not He’s actually the stonewall that allows all this to occur You know I mean?

JORDAN KLEPPER: Yes There’s some great quote that I will butcher about the idea of the thing– what is it? Bad shit happens when good people don’t stand up SPEAKER: Yeah, something like that JORDAN KLEPPER: Gandhi said it SPEAKER: Gandhi Two white guys trying to figure it out JORDAN KLEPPER: What was it Gandhi said? And I’m sure it wasn’t even– But I do think that’s– there are reprehensible things that Donald Trump says and does We talk about the video that he tweeted out, for example And I think there’s something about him that is so infuriating, and I think it’s just because he’s so populist, and he so needs to be loved I don’t know if it’s– I don’t think he less an evil guy I think he’s a guy that just wants to be loved so much that he would go to such evil places SPEAKER: It’s a pathology JORDAN KLEPPER: Yeah, and I think what you’re talking about with McConnell and all of these guys is there is another layer right there It’s the layer that shakes what I believed and loved about this country I think it’s still there, but it scares me Because it’s like stuff is shaking away that we’re like, oh, my god Like stuff that’s happening in North Korea, some of these things that he’s saying about women, some of these things that are going on with this Islamophobia and stuff, it’s like, we’re getting into dangerous territory right here If he fires Mueller, we are discrediting the FBI, the branch of the justice system that’s supposed to protect us, that’s supposed to be separate from the presidency The thing that will stop a crazy man who just wants to be liked and doesn’t want to be made look bad is other people in positions of power who can put aside partisan bullshit and stand up for the betterment of this country that they claim to love so dearly that they keep a Constitution their pocket to prove to other people that they love it And I think you see people like McConnell and people that level just kowtowing to winning And I think this American culture of winning is frightening, because that’s the ultimate ideology And it’s like, screw you, Mitch McConnell Support what is right Protect this union and this thing that you promised to do, and don’t protect the idea of winning in your next election or getting sponsors and money so that you can move forward I think that’s the thing that to me that is so frightening right now SPEAKER: Yeah, although the winning feels pretty nice JORDAN KLEPPER: I like winning Trust me SPEAKER: With Doug Jones? Did you like that transition? JORDAN KLEPPER: That was good Were you just waiting like, he’s got to say winning? I was thinking winning I’ll just move right into that JORDAN KLEPPER: Yeah SPEAKER: Yeah, language is fun found there was this fizzy sense of, at least on the social media, excitement with Doug Jones that night And then you wake up, and you realize that they stole the internet while you weren’t looking JORDAN KLEPPER: Whoops SPEAKER: Sorry about that Can Google stop that? JORDAN KLEPPER: Yeah, could you? Yeah, no? SPEAKER: You guys are Google JORDAN KLEPPER: Can you please, net neutrality, can we? It is, right? Everything moves so quick with that It was a day later, it was like, oh, this other thing we weren’t talking about SPEAKER: Hey, you having fun? We just took the internet JORDAN KLEPPER: Dammit SPEAKER: Ah, shit JORDAN KLEPPER: We felt so good that only nearly half of Alabama still voted for Roy Moore That’s what’s still crazy SPEAKER: Yeah, a lot of people JORDAN KLEPPER: A lot of people still did SPEAKER: OK, we’re going to do some questions from the much smarter folks, who are you So there are microphones around Just go on up and jump in Hi– oh, Rob AUDIENCE: One of the Robs SPEAKER: How many Robs are there? Is that a thing? It’s like if your name is Rob– well, anyway, the questions are for Jordan AUDIENCE: The question is, with political news shows, I wonder is the goal to create comedy from news or a political impact with comedy, and how do you balance the two of those? JORDAN KLEPPER: I think, for us– I am a comedian I am somebody who– I think people when people often ask, they’re like, oh, are you a journalist? Are you, what have you? I think it’s very clear with these shows I’m a comedian I didn’t go to journalism school I took improv classes But that doesn’t mean I don’t take my job very seriously, and the people we hire are comedians We hire journalists We hire researchers The things that we put out, we hold in high regard and want to get it right But I think it’s very clear that we are editorializing on the news there And I think the way in which we can do that is through the prism of comedy And I think we try to stay in that lane of, let’s show up in the morning What we can do is talk about what’s happening in the news that day They’re a bunch of smart, thoughtful people who have different points of view, but let’s get to the thing that we are most frustrated about or care most about that day And what we can do best is try to find comedy and speak to that thing And so if we stay that line, then hopefully we can get the end product that we are ideally aiming for AUDIENCE: Hey, growing up in the Midwest, I definitely know my fair share of Trump supporters

JORDAN KLEPPER: Yeah, where’d you grow up? AUDIENCE: Ohio and Michigan When you were talking about hunting towns outside of Kalamazoo, I literally have been there many times I understand I’m just wondering based on the number of Trump supporters you’ve spoken to if their minds haven’t changed in the last year Do you think that they’re ever going to change? Do you think it’s actually worth even fighting that anymore, or is that just a battle that is over? JORDAN KLEPPER: I do think the idea of fighting for people– you need to change your mind– I think there are 30% of people who the narrative is, this is my guy, and I’m going to fight for this guy no matter what And I think that is 100% going to continue and will continue into the next election and what have you I do think there are a lot of people who are Trump supporters who have their guard up but are open to having a dialogue And I think it is for people– I think as we have that dialogue, like what we talked a little bit about earlier, it might be less about Trump than we think, people on the left We get so obsessed and so Trump focused about all the little things that he does It’s like, look at this giant conspiracy board of a million things I’ve already seen him do Isn’t this all the proof? Again, it might be about change It might be just about somebody who feels like a winner And I think sometimes engaging in that conversation might be a way in which to see if there is a middle ground But hopefully the people on the left, hopefully Democrats, can offer, and I think they will be able to offer in the next election, that idea of change Because I think in a couple of years, that’s what America is going to want AUDIENCE: Yeah, thanks AUDIENCE: Hey, Jordan Firstly, congratulations on your new, “The Opposition.” JORDAN KLEPPER: Thank you AUDIENCE: When I got to know you were leaving “The Daily Show,” I was kind of distraught You were my favorite correspondent on the show JORDAN KLEPPER: Oh, thank you I’ll let Hasan know AUDIENCE: You used to do one of my favorite bits, and it was called “Fingers the Pulse.” And you used to go to Trump rallies and question the voters there and their supporters So I wanted to know There’s been a lot of videos online about you asking them questions and them coming up with ridiculous responses How do you deal with that? And what was your experience in the rallies? Did they know you were from “The Daily Show” and you were presenting the satiric angle to this? And were they angry at you? How do you deal with this? JORDAN KLEPPER: So I went to a lot of Trump rallies I actually just went to one last week to get a feel for how things had changed and what have you I think we’re very open about who we are there Not a lot of people necessarily know who we are there, but we say, look, we want to talk to you about what’s going on and what have you And I think I go into that, as like in improv world, like I’m “yes, and-ing” the ideas that are already there And I think it’s like, you think this Tell me more about this, and let’s hear more about this and what have you And I think you see a lot of people who are at those rallies who are distrustful of media, but a lot of people, with “The Daily Show” and with “The Opposition,” they want their voices heard And so they’re eager to talk about that on camera And so we try to find those people who are eager to talk about Donald Trump, about what they think about what’s going on, and we start chatting It doesn’t necessarily get contentious Sometimes people around here are so anti-media that they’re following us around They’re yelling “fake news.” And they’re right We are fake news SPEAKER: You’re a fake guy delivering fake news JORDAN KLEPPER: Don’t talk to them They’re fake news Yeah, that guy gets it He does get it I will say a funny detail that we got our last rally right before the election We were getting followed by people who were claiming that we worked for Hillary and the FBI and were Googling the initials on the back of our battery pack, which was just the initials of the rental company, because they were certain we were working for the government and trying to spy on everybody, covertly, with a camera crew and mics So they’ll get you anyway SPEAKER: That’s the downside I’m undercover as a comedian JORDAN KLEPPER: Yes, with two cameras and a producer Yeah, you never saw us coming SPEAKER: Shh, don’t tell anyone AUDIENCE: Jordan, did you ever try to reason with them once the cameras went off? Did the real Jordan come out and try to reason with them about their thinking? JORDAN KLEPPER: Yeah, I think I try to engage in conversation in this character, but a lot of times, I come out within And I think this character that I play, I think Jordan Klepper is in there a lot as well I think it’s a hybrid of you see this character, but hopefully you also see me underneath there It was really frustrating over the course of the election to go to those And by the end, it was pretty raw, and there wasn’t a lot of veneer between how I felt on what was going on, because it was angry I was tired of hearing how much they hated Hillary Clinton and what they wanted to do to Hillary Clinton And I don’t to paint the brush that that was everybody at those rallies, but there was just such fear and anger there that it would come out

And I’d be like, I think you’re spewing hate, and you’re just echoing something that’s happening in there SPEAKER: And they’re like, that’s not funny JORDAN KLEPPER: Wait, wait, come on Let me just talk here But again, the great normalizer was inside that arena And so I can talk and argue with them about these things and about the media being biased or about Hillary Clinton having murdered these certain people and how she should be in jail and what have you, and how Obama is an American citizen, but I’m just a guy with a camera They walk in there, and the most powerful person in the world is normalizing that And so I think that’s who is controlling that conversation and is still controlling that conversation, I think And that’s what I kept running up against AUDIENCE: Thank you, and good luck on the show JORDAN KLEPPER: Thank you AUDIENCE: Hi, I also grew up in Michigan, in Brooklyn, Michigan JORDAN KLEPPER: In Brooklyn, Michigan? Where’s Brooklyn? Right AUDIENCE: About here JORDAN KLEPPER: Right in the middle right there? AUDIENCE: There’s a big NASCAR track JORDAN KLEPPER: Oh, is there? There you go That’s only about 40 cities in Michigan SPEAKER: You’re going to have to be more specific AUDIENCE: In any case, as such, I have a lot of aunts and uncles and my dad and my brother who voted for Trump And I was curious How do you– I see them posting things on social media that’s becoming increasingly detached from reality, and they start to trust institutions less and less I was curious How do you think it’s possible for people to help others get their faith in institutions restored or increase that or point them to better stories without causing just insane arguments or something like that? And also, do you see your show as an evolution of “The Colbert Report” and the time that that existed with Fox News? And now, you’re focusing on what’s now the fringe of today? JORDAN KLEPPER: I think so I think in regards to interacting with family members who feel like they are getting news elsewhere, I think it’s a tricky place I don’t know if I have the answer or the suggestion It’s hard when we’re talking about, how do we change people’s minds? It’s not one of the most effective attitudes to go into things I want to make them think what I think I think that is a prevailing attitude that everybody has right now, and that’s some of the issues that we’re having And online, it’s just a way in which we can swirl that up I do think it’s old school, but sitting down conversations with those people talking about those things, where you’re coming from and what have you, is a way to move things a little bit forward Empathizing with where they come from can get you a step or two closer But again, I think we are in this culture where we seek out what we want to see and hear, and I think that that is difficult. So maybe get in the way of that seeking, and maybe you can get a little bit farther As far as how we saw our show, “The Colbert Report” was such an incredible show, and I was such a fan of it I think what Stephen showed is that you can sustain a character day in and day out and filter a show every day through a different perspective, through totally a satirical perspective and a character perspective And so I think when we were creating the show, we were like, let’s try to focus on what seems to be 2017 Let’s look at this fringe It’s less American flag ideology, and it’s more like anti-everything ideology It’s more winning as an ideology And so I think that’s what we’re trying to build our show around AUDIENCE: What or who has surprised you while you’re making “The Opposition?” JORDAN KLEPPER: What or who has surprised me? What or who has surprised me? I will say Roy Moore has 100% surprised me, that he could get so far He lost by 0.8% And I think it does show– the fact that Alabama turned is an accomplishment, and you are seeing a shift But I think he ripped away so much bullshit around faux Christianity in a way that I think was really interesting to see, this idea We talk about this era, the era 10 years ago, the Christian right, this idea like we want a moral leader We want somebody It’s about what is inside It’s not about partisanship and what have you And you saw that It was like all of that fell away, and it was just about abortion, or it was just about winning It was just about your team getting ahead, and I think I was pretty shocked at how blatant that became with this Roy Moore Literally, we were talking to people We did interviews with it You’ve seen it all over the place But the interviews with supporters were like, what do you think about the allegations? Yeah, I know, potential pedophile But I just don’t want a Democrat in office People kept saying that It’s like, well– SPEAKER: I noticed one episode of yours that they were saying the more that the mainstream media covered that, the more inclined

they were to vote toward Moore JORDAN KLEPPER: Yes, they need an enemy And I think that’s so powerful Oh, we’re not angry at pedophilia We’re angry at the “Washington Post” for coming in here and poking around And that, to me, is inanity, like insanity Are those the same thing? I don’t quite know Maybe kind of SPEAKER: What was the first word? JORDAN KLEPPER: Inanity, like to be inane SPEAKER: Oh, inane, yeah JORDAN KLEPPER: To be inane, it kind of worked there But I think I was– SPEAKER: Inane in the membrane JORDAN KLEPPER: Yeah Is that a segue? Are we going into a Cypress Hill segment? SPEAKER: Yeah, see? Now we’re just going to– OK, one more I think we got time for AUDIENCE: Awesome I know “The Opposition” is young, but have there been any segments that have been just so absurd where you just got close or just an idea that you just cut off early that was just too crazy to put on the air? JORDAN KLEPPER: Too crazy to put on the air– what have we done that has been too crazy? I’m trying to think right now We’ve tried to let some crazy live I think that’s the freedom of it being a young show It’s like, it’s a dumb idea to eat a bunch of food while talking about Jerusalem But you’re like, all right, let’s give that a shot And a lot of them do have to do with– it isn’t even production stuff I can’t remember Let’s dunk Jordan in a giant thing of water, or we’ve had some ideas of like, let’s do an entire show– I think one idea which I like and we’re pushing for weird stuff When this Uranium One deal went out– “deal,” like when it became the counter argument with Hannity and the fringe that we shouldn’t be talking about Trump investigations, we should talk about Hillary Clinton and her connection to Uranium One, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary We worked on an act where it was just me saying the word Hillary for eight straight minutes And we worked through it a little bit SPEAKER: That’s some Andy Kaufman JORDAN KLEPPER: It was a little bit That’s where it was like, I love that idea And in the end, we pulled the plug on it We used a portion of it where I ranted in that way Partially because it was like, I don’t know if we’ve introduced our show enough where people get what we’re doing yet, but maybe partially because I was just afraid to just fill eight minutes with Hillary But I’m hoping we can get to that place where I grow the balls enough to make that choice in the future SPEAKER: There’s still time JORDAN KLEPPER: There’s still time SPEAKER: We got a sneak preview of that I’m looking forward to it JORDAN KLEPPER: Wait, what are you referencing, me growing balls? Is that what you’re– SPEAKER: Yeah Anyway, no, the Hillary, Hillary, that would be amazing I’d love to see that That actually sounds great JORDAN KLEPPER: I think that story will come up again SPEAKER: Yeah, well, that’s all they’re fixated on It’s bizarre JORDAN KLEPPER: She’s still a big, big enemy SPEAKER: Well, they’ll impeach her eventually JORDAN KLEPPER: I think they will [LAUGHTER] SPEAKER: Thanks for being here That’s it, I believe, right, for now? JORDAN KLEPPER: Guys, thank you [APPLAUSE]