Samantha Bee and Jason Jones are Daily Show correspondents, which means they’ve spent the last week answering (or, really, failing to answer) a very specific question. They’ve also been studying up for their debut as Oscar correspondents. The married duo will be hitting the red carpet for a new video series sponsored by Butterfinger and devoted to their superhuman ability to provoke unexpected answers from people they’ve just met. Sure, they’re thinking about the future of Comedy Central’s West Side studios, but they’ve got plans of their own.
And Jason has that hot tub to think about.
What was it like when you found out that Jon Stewart was leaving the show? Did the studio collapse?
SB: I think we all knew that it would happen one day. He couldn’t do it forever and, whenever it happened, it was always going to be shocking.
JJ: I think we had an hour on you.
SB: The mood wasn’t one of sadness. We’re happy to see what he does next.
You guys did tons of remotes, but you also did those two-person desk skits with Jon Stewart. What was that like the first time out?
SB: It was terrifying. I’ve never been more scared.
JJ: I think the audition was even scarier. It was like meeting this celebrity…
SB: And it’s always unnerving. It should be. If you lose the nerves you wouldn’t be good at the job.
What do you feel like The Daily Show’s continued place is in our national discourse? Do you agree with the critique that says it got a bit negative over the last few years?
SB: My perception: It didn’t get more negative.
JJ: The show isn’t one person. I’ve worked on those shows and I say this with due respect to Jon, but there are hundreds of people working on The Daily Show.
SB: It’s incredible, a great team.
It’s got to be an intense experience working there.
SB: You’re constantly inputting information. For me, it gave me breathing room to learn about stuff and get angry and then have some catharsis.
JJ: I learned what the word “catharsis” means.
You guys had to develop the ability to just talk to people and you’re both amazing at it. Was that hard at first?
SB: It’s a super niche skill set. Not everyone has that particular skill. It’s always hard to do so, you just step on the gas and go.
JJ: You have to just put on the blinders.
SB: Just go.
You’re going to cover the Oscars and you’re both in the entertainment business. Is it tempting to take it seriously?
JJ: The great thing about where we are is that we circle news and entertainment and politics but we’re not really ‘of it’ in any real way.
Are there any movies you’re rooting for in particular?
SB: I saw Whiplash on a plane and they dubbed over all the swearing and it was so creative and I loved it.
JJ: It started as a powerful drama, but it made an amazing comedy.
That sounds like a very succinct description of The Daily Show.
SB: Think that’s a great statement you can put in my mouth. Happy I came up with that.
So, what’s next?
JJ: This Friday you can see me in Hot Tub Time Machine 2playing the guy that got left behind.
You get your Oscar next year?
JJ: It’s the sequel you never knew you wanted.
SB: It’s guaranteed.
Photos by Casey Rodgers/AP Images