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 shopowner 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 after-parties were all video games," 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, 'Okay, 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, says Mayor Buckhorn. 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.

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19 comments
jesuschristodenogale
jesuschristodenogale

Owebama is a true racist. Why does the US President hate the advancement of the standard of living for Mexico’s poor? Barrack Hussein Obama; how dare you deprive Mexico these young educated and motivated people? These US educated and motivated illegal alien occupiers (brought to the US as babies) now in the US are the only hope for Mexico and you want to keep them here in the US. They could start businesses, create jobs, and improve the standard of living for the poor people of Mexico. Yet you want to be selfish and deprive Mexico of these talented youth who could make life better for all the people of Mexico. SHAME ON YOU! Have you no compassion for the poor now living in Mexico?  Gustavo Arellano, Steve Gallardo, Nicky Diaz Santillan, and La Raza need to insist that all these young educated and talented Mexicans be sent back to Mexico to help improve the standard of living for the poor Mexicans. Are you with us for the good of Mexico and its people?

Geenius
Geenius

HILARIOUS!!!,,What a pathetic 'piece of shyt' this stream of pathological lies is. Absolutely fascinating. There are 'the reasons' and 'the REAL reasons'  So why do people as bitter and resentful as this author and this joke paper, lie with this much pride and conviction to deceive? it's always over the 'definition of what is right and what is wrong'. Too bad their false conclusions and lying minds make them so pathetically mentally ill.  The mind that habitually lies is not sound and is diseased. Frustrated, desperate, always trying to force fit lies into a reality that just won't allow that square peg lie into the round hole of truth. They can't even go 24 hours without lying to themselves and others nor recognize truth anymore.

matlock
matlock

The New Times has turned into a worthless left wing political rag. Unless you are a liberal nut or in the pro illegal alien crowd there is no use for this fish wrap. I do pick up a copy from time to time when I need to light a fire.

bgray59
bgray59

Fun piece.  Looking forward to the "Gonzo  Guide" to the democratic convention.  Maybe you can show the kid with his lip torn off that Michelle's health care policy denied treatment to.

Thane.Eichenauer
Thane.Eichenauer

"And murder essentially is legal, thanks to the Stand Your Ground law."

 

Y'all are completely deluded and obviously think that if you repeat your claim often enough that someone will believe it.  

coyote_slim
coyote_slim

Wow and, will the Rethugs give Benny 'walking on the Sea of Galilee' Quayle some prime time? I mean, he bagged a bottle of baptismal Galilee for his urchin.

xinruaa11
xinruaa11

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fairymagic13
fairymagic13

Get em Issac - they're Godless Republicants and the LORD needs his vengence for the obstructionism they have wrought upon the chosen people, citizens of the United States! 

Robert
Robert

I've always been a big fan of Hunter Thompson, and I've always hated it when people try to imitate him.    

fairymagic13
fairymagic13

The corruption in the Republicant party is unbelievable.  I remember before the Iraq war stated, I was playing with my band at an expensive restaurant and some Republican corporate type was there with a bevy of girls-of-the-night and some business friends.  He was celebrating because he had already lined up a number of military contracts to support the war in Iraq - this was 2 months before the war started.  He said that he would be making millions on the war for basically doing nothing.  Iraq was a complete welfare move for military industrial types.   There was no objective to that war except making military contractors wealthy so that they would support Bush in his second run for the Presidency. 

 

They are a disgusting group of backward talking assholes! 

 

Artfan
Artfan

Ryan Sealock's illustrations for this story are delightful!

suewallick74
suewallick74

This article makes no sense.  IT'S ABOUT JOBS AND THE ECONOMY STUPID.  He's living in the past.  Our future is bleak.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

wow.....

 

Well stated

Tommy_Collins
Tommy_Collins

 @matlockIf you use the paper as fish wrap or to light a fire then it certainly does have worth and you've conflicted yourself. Not to mention that you must enjoy the articles or you wouldn't bother posting in response to one. Yojo.

 

saltywench
saltywench

 @coyote_slim His Mommy has a call in right now to make sure her baby gets the proper face time.

Tommy_Collins
Tommy_Collins

 @coyote_slimAs of August 29th he will no longer be an elected official... at the end of his current term in January.

 

restitutiontouscitizensfirst
restitutiontouscitizensfirst

 @suewallick74 aMEN TO THAT!  I don't think this site allows posting links - make google your friend and let your fingers do the walking . . . . Real Simple Math - Unemployment - they'll walk you through the real simple math to see that our true unemployment rate is 49%!

 
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