Wyatt Cenac reveals he and Jon Stewart had beef over racially-charged skit

tbs people of earth wyatt cenac
Host of the popular WTF podcast, Marc Maron has a knack for getting people to open up in ways that almost no one else can. Give a listen to his interview with President Obama if you want a candid example. More recently, former correspondent for The Daily Show, Wyatt Cenac, appeared on the podcast and revealed that he and long-time host John Stewart weren’t exactly thunder buddies. In fact, they had several heated disagreements, one of which boiled over … big time. Here’s the backstory:

Back in the Summer of 2011, the Republican Primary was in full-swing and Stewart aired a clip of then Presidential Candidate Herman Cain decrying, rather vociferously, the idea of 2000+ page bills in Congress. Instead, Cain said, he’d ensure that bills were closer to three pages so that they were documents you’d have time to read at the dinner table. As the clip ended, Stewart began mimicking the tone and cadence of Cain’s voice, shouting “I am Herman Cain, and I do not like to read!”

On assignment at the time, Cenac remembered feeling uncomfortable as he watched the segment play out. “I don’t think this is from a malicious place, but I think this is from a naïve, ignorant place,” he recalls thinking,  “… you just did this and you didn’t think about it. It was just the voice that came into your head. And so it bugged me.”

Related: Obama to wish Jon Stewart a fond farewell this Tuesday

After the sketch aired, Fox News — often on the business end of Stewart’s jeers and screeds — attacked the host, alleging that he was showing the same sort of racially insensitivity that he had routinely criticized others for.

Not willing to take the attacks lying down, Stewart began planning another sketch, one that would respond to the criticism. But during the writer’s meeting, Cenac spoke up, telling Stewart that he too had been uncomfortable with the sketch and that it reminded him of Amos ‘n’ Andy character Kingfish, echoing (perhaps inadvertently) the sentiment of a Fox News host who had said something very similar.

… and then, Cenac says, things got uncomfortable.

“[Stewart] got incredibly defensive. I remember he was like, ‘What are you trying to say? There’s a tone in your voice.’ I was like, ‘There’s no tone. It bothered me. It sounded like Kingfish.’ And then he got upset. And he stood up and he was just like, ‘Fuck off. I’m done with you.’ And he just started screaming that to me. And he screamed it a few times. ‘Fuck off! I’m done with you.’ And he stormed out. And I didn’t know if I had been fired.”

Vulture reports that the squabbling continued in Stewart’s office, but cooler heads eventually prevailed and Cenac went to get some air and clear his head. He recalls finding a nearby baseball field, where his emotions finally got the better of him. “I was shaking, and I just sat there by myself on the bleachers and fucking cried” he said, adding that he felt “alone” at the job.

Jon Stewart is as beloved a public figure as we have in today’s media, so it’s jarring any time someone has personal issues with the host. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they’re unfounded. Hopefully we’ll get Stewart’s side of the story as well … or maybe it’s better if this just becomes water under the bridge.

For now, there’s no love lost between these two. Cenac was asked pointedly earlier in the interview if he “got along” with Stewart, to which he replied, simply, “naw.”

You can listen to Wyatt Cenac’s full conversation with Marc Maron here and watch Stewart’s response to the Cain voice criticism here.


From PUBG to Apex Legends, this is how battle royale happened

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in Twitch streaming and eSports.
Movies & TV

The best new podcasts to listen to on your daily commute

Feel like you’re drowning in podcasts? In this weekly series we’ll help you pick out the best from the rest of the new and returning shows. This week’s picks include a call to arms for creativity, an infamous baggie of crack, and…
Movies & TV

Study up for season 8 with the best Game of Thrones theories

Season 8 of Game of Thrones is still on the horizon, meaning there's still time to brush up on the best theories about the show. Whether you're one of the last adherents of the Cleganebowl or a King Aerys truther, here are our top theories.
Movies & TV

In the new Hellboy clip, a giant problem leaves our favorite demon unimpressed

Hellboy is returning to the big screen in April 2019, with Stranger Things actor David Harbour taking on the title role. Here's everything we know so far about the reboot of the franchise.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 is coming! Here’s everything we know so far

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Home Theater

Here’s what’s new on HBO and what’s leaving in April 2019

Whether you're a cable lifer or a staunch cord cutter, there's never been a better time to get down with premium TV. April 2019 brings Game of Thrones season 8, BlacKkKlansman, and Crazy Rich Asians to HBO.
Movies & TV

Want free movie tickets? Beam these ads into your eyeballs for 15 minutes

Would you watch ads for 20 minutes to earn a free movie ticket? MoviePass co-founder Stacy Spikes bets you will, and he's launching PreShow, a new app with some pretty advanced technology, to prove it.
Movies & TV

MoviePass returns to unlimited movies plan, but with plenty of restrictions

Troubled subscription-based movie service MoviePass is making headlines on a daily basis lately, and not in a good way. Here's a timeline of events for the company once described as Netflix for movie theaters.
Movies & TV

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Everything we know so far

Quentin Tarantino's ninth feature film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, uses the infamous 1969 Manson Family murders as a backdrop to tell a story set in bohemian Los Angeles. Here's everything we know so far.
Movies & TV

New John Wick: Chapter 3 trailer brings gunfights, dogs, and Matrix Easter eggs

A new trailer for John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum punctuates the action with a deeper look at the film's star-studded cast, as well as a sly reference to Keanu Reeves' other big action franchise.
Movies & TV

Comcast launches Xfinity Flex, a $5-a-month service aimed at cord cutters

For $5 a month, Xfinity Flex gives existing Xfinity internet subscribers a 4K- and HDR-ready set-top box that can stream video from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, as well as free TV from apps like Cheddar and ESPN3.
Movies & TV

HBO’s Deadwood movie rustles up a trailer and a release date

This spring, HBO's long-awaited Deadwood movie will explore what happened 10 years after the events of HBO's award-winning drama, giving the series a finale 13 years after the show was canceled.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is set for March 25: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.
Movies & TV

Us review: Jordan Peele makes seeing double singularly terrifying

Jordan Peele follows up his Oscar-winning 2017 thriller Get Out with a more straightforward horror film in Us, but the film's blunt terror succeeds thanks to fantastic performances from the cast and clever storytelling.