By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
The Daily Show host Jon Stewart insists the program is "fake news," yet its skits surgically expose political hypocrisy better than any 60 Minutes piece. Florida is a favorite target, and Mandvi, who grew up in Tampa, is the perfect gonzo guide.
Born in Mumbai, Mandvi moved to northern England when he was a year old. Fifteen years later, his shop-owner father saw ads for real-estate deals in Florida and moved the family to Tampa. "I came from an all-boys British boarding school to a place where girls were wearing short shorts and everyone was running around on skateboards," he remembers. "It was completely another dimension for me."
As a Muslim Indian with a British accent, Mandvi was triply out of place. His new neighbors didn't know what to make of him. "I don't think that in the 1980s Americans knew that there were other countries," he jokes. "They knew that the oil came from somewhere, but they weren't sure where exactly."
After high school, he stayed in Tampa to attend the University of South Florida. He majored in theater and later landed a job at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando making fun of guests as part of a wandering improv group. Three years later, he moved to New York.
Watching the city grow suspicious of Muslim-Americans following the September 11 terrorist attacks, Mandvi turned his comedy political. In off-Broadway plays, he mined the "idea of sitting between cultures, between East and West, being Muslim-American but having that experience of being a kid in Florida." The Daily Show asked him to audition in 2007, and he was hired the same day.
During the past four years, he has traveled the country for segments, but many of his most memorable moments have happened in the Sunshine State.
"Florida is such a huge piece of the pie in terms of national elections," Mandvi says, "so it becomes a kind of lightning rod for all kinds of political energy. There is a reason why the Republicans are having the convention in Tampa this year."
He pauses before offering another explanation for the locale of next week's event: "You can't ignore the fact that the Republicans are coming and having their convention in the city that has the best strip clubs in the world."
In five years on the campaign trail, Mandvi has learned what to expect from moments like the RNC. In Tampa, there will be a vastly different scene from the one at the Dems' convention in Charlotte.
"The DNC felt like just a big frat party, with kegs and people having a great time and dancing. The afterparties were all videogames," he says of the 2008 convention in Denver. "Then the parties at the RNC always seemed to be debutante balls, with ice sculptures and women in ball gowns."
In Florida, The Daily Show won't struggle for material. Just ask executive producer Rory Albanese, who has helped coordinate coverage of six past conventions.
"A lot of that is just because it looks like America's penis," he says of Florida. "We didn't invent that. If it was Long Island, like I'm from, we wouldn't be a very well-hung country."
The Tampa convention also dovetails with two of The Daily Show's most recurring themes: the mainstream media's failings and money's ever-expanding role in politics.
"We all love watching CNN during debates or on election night," Albanese says. "It's like they have Q from the James Bond movies in the basement saying, 'OK, Anderson [Cooper], here is the new jetpack. You're going to be flying around the studio.' What weird piece of technology will CNN have spent $50 million on and have no need for tonight?"
In May, The Daily Show's close cousin, The Colbert Report, poked fun at a mysterious South Floridian named Josue Larose for forming more than 600 PACs and 64 super-PACs, supposedly representing everyone from supermodels to Taco Bell customers.
As usual, Comedy Central's pranks hint at a deeper, darker truth. For months, the Tampa area has been flooded with political attack ads by shady, well-financed super-PACs, Mayor Buckhorn says. On a national scale, these anonymous expenditures could decide the election.
"There is so much political advertising coming through here, none of which is saying anything nice about anybody. And that's true of both sides," he says.
For a moment, Buckhorn sounds almost as cynical as Mandvi peeking behind the political curtain and finding nothing but frat boys drinking and screwing.
"The ads are just nonstop," he admits. "It's gotten to the point where we see so much of it that I almost long for the days of those Cialis ads."
Under the black lights of the Mons Venus strip club, Monica's eyes and teeth glow like St. Elmo's fire. Six-inch stilettos dangle from her toes as she sits at a waist-high table. Her folded arms prop up her bare, surgically enhanced breasts, nipples staring in opposite directions like a gunslinger's pistols. She smells like mint chewing gum and cigarettes.
It's a Monday afternoon. On an octagonal stage, a thin Asian girl grinds her naked hips against a pole as a few customers gaze at the gyrating spectacle.
The question is - Can half this country order the other have to the tongue of the wagon? A very real form of human bondage.
And even if it turns out that way, the formula does not work. It violates the Law of Self Interest. People will not devote ever more hours of labor every day and not receive the direct benefit of that labor. We are trending from avoidance to evasion and it will accelerate.
And to exacerbate the situation, we have reached the point where we have taxed Future wealth and income yet to be created to the extent it won't be - created. Again, it is the usurpation of the law of self-interest.
This ain't your Daddy's Depression. That debt wall is now so large it darkens the skies. And it's alive. It is growing upon itself. And the only thing that has any possibility of overtaking its rate of growth is growth. Growth in the the Gross Domestic Product. that's us, folks, not Wall Street. And that means small business. For it has always been the Great Unwashed that has tractored us all out of these recessions and depressions.
And that takes us back to square one.
It ain't magic and it is not a matter of rote faith, a Hail Mary, or a wing and a prayer.
We are in a very dark place, and this is just Purgatory. It can and will get a lot worse. Just look at the last century.
So yeah, we will be at each other's throats if we do not change course immediately.
The dogs are mewling and the birds are flying inland. Every natural sign is yelling, something bad is coming.
How is that Hope and Change going for you? 15 million more on food stamps and unemployed keep hoping for a change.
@Sarge Keep that thought,soon you will get your voucher for H/C about 6k short, but hey they love you,LOL
Judging by his repeated references, Michael Miller either has a secret fetish for guns, or an irrational fear of them, not sure which...
@CREATIVEVIRTUOS I am a little confused by the title on this article....this has nothing to do with strippers!
The GOP’s 2012 convention theme will be, “We Did Build This!” — which is amusing since the Republican National Committee convention will actually be held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, which is publicly-owned and is managed with taxpayer funds. The media center for the RNC Convention is the Tampa Convention Center, which is also publicly-owned, and was built with $140 million in taxpayer funds.
The GI bill and massive road construction were federal programs that aided the parents of today's white suburban citizens, yet they insist upon excoriating African-Americans for being "dependent upon the government for assistance". Republican trash talk and race-baiting is feeding this ignorance.
The Romney-Ryan-Akin team has forbidden the press from asking any questions about Medicare, reproductive rights, or tax returns.
I'll take the Romney-Ryan-Akin ticket anyday over the Obama-Biden-Marx ticket.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Instead of a convention they should just hand out fliers, that is more info than you will get from Hatefest 2012
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz In reading your comments through out, I am not convinced you a radical Democrat, but a true idiot.
@holmantx They did not build S................................,without others money
@holmantx Their convention is being held in an arena built by the government.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz And there it is - your sickness in full Monty. Shouting it out in public for all to see.
I can only hope that your brethren continue to extol the virtues of the collective over the individual at every turn. That the People through the Public Servant are the true definition of American Exceptionalism.
What you assert is worse than the notion of trying to explain the benefits of legitimate rape. At least Akin apologized.
You remain in a state of pristine cluelessness.
@holmantx "Todd Akin has fallen behind Sen. Claire McCaskill by double digits in the Missouri Senate race, according to a Rasmussen automated phone poll released Thursday." --POLITICO
Read it and weep, boyfriend.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz and yet another one!
Pious ignorance and proud of it.
you go girl.
@holmantx Hee hee. Latest Rasmussen poll has Claire McCaskill up by ten points. Now who's the sick one?
The University of Colorado analysis is out. This analysis is unique in its predictive ability. The model correctly predicted all Presidential elections since 1980.
The most recent University of Colorado (UC) analysis has Mitt Romney the winner of the 2012 Presidential election according to political science professors Kenneth Bickers of UC Boulder and Michael Berry of UC Denver. The predictions were presented in a press release on August 22, 2012, and will appear in PS: Political Science & Politics, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Political Science Association this month and be updated in September.
“According to their analysis President Barack Obama will win 218 votes in the Electoral College, short of the 270 he needs. And though they chiefly focus on the Electoral College, the political scientists predict Romney will win 52.9 percent of the popular vote to Obama’s 47.1 percent, when considering only the two major political parties.”
GOD is very angry at the republicans for their immense hatred of everyone. HE is sending Hurricane Isaac into Tampa to shut down their convention.
Here on the 'ol D-O blogs, most of us just have to treat these threads not as a narrow lane built and policed by a Liberal cop, but as an opportunity to express an opinion why this street and this cop exist in the first place.
Can ya dig it? So here goes:
Romney's one of the good guys on the planet. He was a Governor, a highly successful businessman, and can obviously take a punch, and counter-punch. He can carry the right and will capture the center and disaffected Democrats. He will beat the President. After all, this election will be a plebiscite on Obama's record and where he's dragging the soul of this country.
Romney is the nominee and the next President because he is the most qualified, possesses the most experience, and exhibits the most Leadership. He knows how to lead. He will stand down the regulatory agencies and will not veto what the next Congress must do - which is set a course to balance the budget, repeal Obamacare, and cut spending to restore our credibility so that we will pay our debts without monetizing it. And, of course, you refuse to recognize what I just said however, our national salvation depends upon it - including the wagon riders.
This writer and the morons who mouth the same old braindead slurs would never vote for Romney yet we are treated to a continuous stream of perfumed slants and strawman blog after strawman blog that DO serve a purpose in your world. And that purpose is to provide a platform for you to express displeasure, imply all manner of insult and invective . . . anything but defend the consequences of collectivism. I'm just trying to reach out and explain why self-selecting elitism is such a vacant enterprise. You are engaging in self-righteous masturbation.
What's clear to everyone else is that the the ones you think you speak for are not ideologues like you. Your rank and file are mercenary and practical. In the big scheme of things Romney and Ryan, as flawed as they are, represent a solution to at least sustain the benefits. They won't vote for Romney . . . they just won't vote in the numbers they did in 2008. A sufficient chunk of your troops will remain on the couch. All because you yammered when your leadership should have let the economic horses run. You could have had Obamacare had you fixed the economy first. Instead, you have women cheering a rapist who will be the keynote speaker at your convention.
You don't have any (recognized) idea what I'm talking about. But your rank and file do, for they know how the egg is laid. So . . . You cannot be allowed to sit in your addiction and continue to deny why these Republicans and the TEA Party movement are on the national scene in the first place. Mine is but an early intervention. And help is on the way.
Let it not be a shock when the adults take over for awhile. Just go get in the back seat with Grandma whilst Dad fixes the engine you so royally screwed up.
And don't touch anything!
All true - but will you also be publishing an equally scathing (and entertaining) expose on the Democrats?
@Sotiredofitall why don't you get right on that and write your own article, then.
@Sotiredofitall I was wondering the same thing....
@Sotiredofitall FOX takes care of that every minute of every day.
Richard Nixon. Out of the many, many republican dirt-bags to come down the pike, Nixon was the one... number one.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz And Nixon was proven to be a "dirt bag" doing what, exactly?
He can't touch 0bama, my dear.
@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz #1 that you knew about, honey.
By the way, MSNBC = FOX. Huffingtonpost = FOX.
It's all crap, and if you are a side-taker, then you are The Problem.
boy, Nixon was #1, and time has not softened this countries disdain for him.
... and who could forget that elephantine bird-brain Veep of his, Spiro Agnew, who coined such alliterative gems as, "nattering nabobs of negativism".
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