Comedian Roy Wood Jr. graces the pink couch for this episode of Small Doses with Amanda Seales to talk political comedy, leaving The Daily Show, and what’s next on the horizon for the actor and comedian.
Wood made headlines in October when he decided to leave The Daily Show after eight years as a correspondent on the show. The late night series has not had a permanent host since Trevor Noah left the position in 2022, but it has since featured a weekly rotation of guest hosts like Leslie Jones, D.L. Hughley and Roy Wood Jr. himself.
The comedian, beloved for his recurring Daily Show segments like “CP Time with Roy Wood Jr.” and “I Apologize for Talking While You Were Talking,” felt the time was right to move on to the next chapter.
“I have to step away to figure out what I want to do next. Because what The Daily Show doesn’t lend itself to—because of the nature of the job—is mental stillness,” he tells Small Doses host Amanda Seales. “Sometimes you have to jump before you figure out what is next.”
Side Effects of Political Comedy
As a former Daily Show correspondent, Wood is in good company. Since the show premiered in 1996, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Hasan Minhaj and John Oliver are among the long list of former Daily Show correspondents who have established careers beyond the late night series.
Wood, who headlined this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, continues to perform stand-up comedy with tour dates booked through 2024. He’s taking this time to meditate on his next moves and how to approach political comedy going forward.
“I’m over national and global politics as a place from which to mine content. My preference is local,” he says. “I care about local politics because that’s where all of the issues are ultimately going to trickle down to.”
Wood is passionate about discussing local issues that impact people in a real way. He cites the Black Belt region in his home state of Alabama, where wastewater issues have plagued the health and well-being of Black rural residents for generations.
“To me, the pressure is: where are my passions versus what people really care about, and not spreading yourself too thin through all of it,” he says. “That’s the thing that’s stressful.”
While most corporate media outlets are not interested in local issues, Wood is hoping to find a balance where he is able to discuss the important issues and find the comedy in them.
“Being in the position where you are free to do what you want, the way you want, is something that I’m excited about the possibility of. I just gotta figure out what it is,” he says.