by JESSICA KEESEE
The Republican National Convention brought media outlets and reporters from across the country to Tampa, Fla. to cover the events of the 2012 GOP nomination. Jon Stewart and crew even brought satirical political talk show The Daily Show to the bay area, filming at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts for the week of the convention.
While in Tampa, Stewart and his correspondents targeted the city, mocking the heat, humidity, notorious strip club district, and large population of insects.
“This is the land that time forgot. This is the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. at the end of August,” mocked John Oliver, a Daily Show correspondent. “There is no place you’d rather be, particularly if you’re an insect from an Indian Jones’s films.”
Correspondent Jason Jones, reporting from a strip club, joked, “Jon, I’m here in Tampa’s famous strip club district, or as they call it here, Tampa,” while Correspondent Samantha Bee took aim at the insects habiting the city. Reporting from midair in the grasp of an overgrown palmetto bug, Bee cracked, “I was coming out of a Waffle House. Apparently, the scent of syrup and cigarette ash proved irresistible to this, what the locals have assured me, is a juvenile palmetto bug.”
Aasif Mandvi, another Daily Show correspondent and Tampa native, defended the shows comedy.
“People were offended that we made fun of Tampa, it’s literally like, what do you want us to do… we’re a comedy show. We’re not going to give you a shout out. You know? We’re going to make fun of the city that we’re in,” Mandvi told FOX 13 News.
Despite all the of the Tampa themed jokes, viewers flocked to the Straz Center hoping to get a seat during filming.
Ann Midtgaard, 55, did not mind the jokes geared at Tampa.
“That’s the kind of comedy he has,” the longtime Stewart fan and Tampa native said.
Others felt differently, however, when hearing their city mocked on national television.
“It’s kind of sad, it just seems like there’s only so much material to talk about,” admitted Kendall O’Neil. “It’s either the insects, the strippers, or the weather, hurricanes, and that’s cool, you know, you have to be able to generalize whatever city you’re going to. It ‘s kind of a little bit interesting knowing that that’s what peaks up about Tampa, knowing that I live here.”
Some attendees just wanted to see the show, regardless of Stewart’s comedy. Betsy Alvarez, 32, went to see the filming with her boyfriend and some friends, only to find out that their reserved tickets had been given away. Alvarez waited in line for free tickets the morning before an episode was to be shot. Promised four tickets and only given one in advance, she was told to return by 4:30 p.m. with her group to collect the other tickets. By her arrival at 4:20 p.m., she found that her tickets had been given away.
“We waited for an hour earlier. We did everything. We’ve come, we’ve taken the whole day off to do it so it kind of sucks.”
The RNC may be over and The Daily Show may be gone, but Jon Stewart and his team will not be forgotten in Tampa, at least his jokes certainly won’t be