For viewers of The Daily Show, one of the most popular recurring segments comes around every four years: presidential election year - or Indecision 2012, as it was called this last election.
The segment lampoons election coverage and skewers the campaign trail. Fans love and critics award it for both its comedic value and news reporting. And it does it every time there's a national election. That's what makes it recurring.
But in this article, we want to focus more on more frequent recurring segments. And maybe you're asking yourself, "What's a recurring segment anyway?
Put simply, it's a comedy bit - either a sketch, routine or gag - that the talk show and host returns to regularly. Johnny Carson had Carnac the Magician. David Letterman popularized Stupid Pet Tricks and the Top 10 List.
The Daily Show has its own stable of classic routines. If you're a fan, you have your favorite. But if you're new to the show, how do catch up on the joke? Start here, with 5 of the most popular recurring segments and short description of each:
- Your Moment of Zen
Quite possibly the longest running recurring segment on The Daily Show, "Your Moment of Zen" began when Craig Kilborn hosted the program. The segment occurs at the end of the program, as the host closes the show by say, "Now here's your moment of Zen." With that, the show kicks to a random video from satellite b-roll or news feed. The segment has evolved from truly Zen-like moments of unexplained video that the viewer must ponder over to today's extended news clips or unfiltered news feed, which reveals the imperfection of broadcast journalism.
- Mess O'Potamia
Playing off the name Mesopotamia, this segment focuses on news stories from the Mideast. It was mostly retired in 2009, though versions of the segment have kicked up dust in the years since. The segment was later named Crisis in Israfghyianonanaq.
- "You're Welcome" with John HodgmanComedian John Hodgman stops by occasionally to solve domestic issues with his "resident expertise" in all things. His solutions, however, leave much to be desired. They often play off cliché "answers for everything," often reported on by the media, such as how holidays will help boost the economy. In answer, Hodgman suggests "emergency Christmases" from time to time to fuel the economy further. As the name implies, after delivering the answer, Hodgman says, "You're welcome."
- "Back in Black" with Lewis Black
One of the most enduring and beloved segments on The Daily Show are commentaries by caustic comedian Lewis Black in a segment The Daily Show likes to call "Back in Black." During the segment, Black rants about news topics and skewers politicians and the media. The segment has run since Kilborn hosted the program more than 15 years ago. Black appears less often, but the segment continues on - and will likely continue for some time.
- BONUS: Even Stevphen
One segment worth noting is Even Stevphen. Though it no longer appears on the program, the skit was a fan favorite, pitting former Daily Show correspondents Stephen Colbert and Steve Carrell against one another in a mock debate. Instead, the two comedians would personally insult one another until one broke down in tears. The two would then make-up and often fall right back into slinging mud before the segment was over.