In 2005, Comedy Central premiered “The Colbert Report,” in which Stephen Colbert of “The Daily Show” took on Fox News with a character who was shared a name with his creator but was a parody of the flag-waving, right-facing primetime hosts on the cable news network.
More than a decade later, Comedy Central is taking a similar swing at the emerging alt-right news ecosystem.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour Tuesday in Beverly Hills, Jordan Klepper, who will host Comedy Central’s upcoming “The Opposition With Jordan Klepper,” described the show as a vehicle built around a faux alt-right host, taking cues from outlets such as Infowars, Breitbart News, and The Blaze.
But the show will not be a targeted shot at Infowars’ Alex Jones, one of the most outrageous figures of the alt-right media.
“We’re inspired by the points of view of these alternative media sources, but I think I’m going to pull my character from a handful different points of view,” Klepper said. “I’m a Midwesterner, and I have a different tone and a different sensibility. So I like to see myself as Alex Jones meets Garrison Keillor.”
That character, he said, will be “a heightened version of myself—a character, somebody who is a know-nothing provocateur who fights for the forgotten man. I may at times also forget that man. But I will remember him and try to sell him supplements that are made in China.”
Klepper’s new series was ordered in April, with the title announced Tuesday at TCA. It will air in the post-“The Daily Show” time period on Comedy Central long occupied by Colbert before his move to CBS.
“There has been a great normalization of bullshit in America,” Klepper said at the start of his TCA panel. The new series, he added, has roots in Klepper’s time as a “Daily Show” correspondent during the 2016 presidential race. “In November,” we elected the most famous conspiracy theorist in the world to the highest office in the land and boomed, normalization happened.”
“The Opposition” will be a studio show, with Klepper spending much of his time behind a desk and occasionally interviewing guests. He will be joined by on-air “foot soldiers,” correspondents posing as citizen journalists and filing field pieces.
Klepper said that he has not spoken with Colbert, also a “Daily Show” alum, about the tricky task of balancing an on-screen persona with a real person off-camera.
“I haven’t talked to Stephen about that,” he said.” Figuring out who real Jordan is an ongoing process, one I hope to figure out one day. But TV Jordan I’ve been figuring out in my time on ‘The Daily Show’.”