Laugh Through the Conventions with Sling TV

Jul 18, 2016 by Alex Castle

After eight and a half months of the weirdest, wildest presidential primary possibly ever, the 2016 party conventions begin this week with Donald Trump descending into Cleveland for four nights of speeches culminating in his official nomination as the Republican candidate, followed next week by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats doing the same thing in Philadelphia. Sling will of course have straightfaced live news coverage available on CNN and MSNBC, but is 2016 really the right year for straightfaced news coverage?

The bad news is, Jon Stewart will not be covering these conventions on The Daily Show. The good news is, the spitballs he shot from the back of the classroom once upon a time have become a full-on deluge, as his heirs and imitators converge on both Cleveland and Philadelphia to give these circuses the treatment they deserve.

The heir to the Stewart’s throne, Trevor Noah, is bringing The Daily Show to both conventions, with correspondents taping segments onsite, and airing new episodes Monday thru Thursday both weeks at 11:30pm ET on Comedy Central. Noah’s approach is less acerbic and more bewildered than Stewart’s, but he’s really found his footing in recent months.

The woman who many feel should have taken over The Daily Show will also be in Cleveland, as TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, in addition to its regular Monday shows (which are likely to at least touch on the conventions) airs A Very Special Full Frontal Special at 10:30pm ET Wednesday, featuring Bee and staff roadtripping to Lake Erie, talking to voters, and bearing witness to The Donald’s coronation. Bee’s weekly show has been a smash hit with critics, and her approach is best described as “righteous anger with killer punchlines.”

If anyone can dispute Jon Stewart’s claim as inventor of late-night political comedy, it’s Bill Maher, whose Politically Incorrect predated Stewart’s tenure on The Daily Show. Real Time with Bill Maher, the comedian’s HBO home since 2002, will be broadcasting special half-hour editions live from Los Angeles both Wednesday and Thursday both weeks at 11pm ET, with guests Michael Moore, Joy Reid and Dan Savage (Wednesday) and Heather McGhee, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Robert Reich (Thursday). Guests for the Democratic convention are still TBA.

On NBC, Late Night with Seth Myers, which has openly sought to take Stewart’s mantle by focusing its monologues almost exclusively on politics – particularly with the “A Closer Look” segment – will be broadcasting live from Cleveland Thursday (technically early Friday) following Trump’s acceptance speech July 21, in his usual 12:30am ET timeslot. This will be Myers’ first live episode of Late Night, though he is of course a live TV veteran from his long stint on Saturday Night Live.

And that’s just the shows on Sling that have already announced plans around the conventions – it’s a safe bet that The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (11:30pm ET, Comedy Central) and Conan (11pm ET, TBS) will at least wet their beaks at this trough, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver returns from a four-week hiatus on July 24, just after the Democrats wrap up in Philly.

Sounds like the perfect capper for two weeks of hilarious, depressing political comedy!

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