Why these “Daily Show” correspondents choose to share an office

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Comedians Ronny Chieng and Roy Wood Jr., correspondents for “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” share an office at the Comedy Central show’s midtown building. And they don’t plan on giving that up.

“I don’t want to be alone in the building. I like the creative energy. We’ve had correspondents leave — Jessica Williams, Hasan Minhaj — and there’s always the ‘Hey, one of you guys want to take the office and we’ll put the new person in here?’ And we’re like ‘No, no. We’re good together,'” Wood told CBS News contributor Jamie Wax on the “CBS This Morning” podcast.

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Chieng agreed, saying “collaborating is one of the great joys of working on a show like ‘The Daily Show.'”

“Standup comedy is a solo sport so you spend a lot of time on the road by yourself with your own thoughts,” he said. “It’s nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of on a daily basis who understands exactly where you’re coming from and what you’re trying to do.”

Roy Wood Jr. (left) and Ronny Chieng (right) are correspondents for “The Daily Show.” Comedy Central

Plus, they’ve learned a lot from one another in the past five years or so.

“[Roy’s] still every day teaching me like about, ‘This is what America is. This is also what black America is. This is where they intersect. This is where things get weird.’ Because I had no idea about that,” Chieng said. “He shows me WorldStar; he explains what Waffle House is and why there’s so many fights there.”

Wood has two Comedy Central specials under his belt — “Father Figure” and “No One Loves You” — and Chieng’s Netflix special “Asian Comedian Destroys America!” debuted last December.

Balancing their standup careers with the demanding grind of “The Daily Show” can be challenging, but Wood said one makes the other better.

“The challenge at the show is to find, especially with all of these other political satire shows that are out there, what is the one thing about this issue that no one else is going to say that we can say?” Wood said. “And then when you nail that, oh, man, that’s a good feeling. So then that bleeds over into your standup. My standup got better once I got on ‘The Daily Show,’ because now it’s ‘oh, if we’re not doing that on a show then I can try to do that with my comedy.'”

Wood compared comedy to journalism, saying “you’re either reporting on who you are or you’re reporting on how you feel.”

Chieng said that while “The Daily Show” wants to be a platform that does comedy, it also has “a focus point coming from a place of news and truth.” “Ultimately, the allegiance is to the joke. But just having that kind of consideration of, what are you trying to say with this joke? Let’s not just make fun of things just because we can,” Chieng said.

However, Wood also highlighted the complexity that comes with everyone having a voice online.

“The problem is that truth has become this amorphous thing now to some people, where the truth used to be concrete. Now the truth is Jell-O — a little more flexible. We’re in a space where people are a lot more vocally disagreeing. I don’t think people are more upset. I just think there’s more ways to hear people complain,” he said. “Twenty years ago, if you were angry about something, you had to write a letter to the editor of the newspaper and wait patiently to see if they printed it. And then no one replied to it. You had to really put in effort. Now, you can just yell on the internet and go right about your day.”

That is why Chieng says he stays focused on his work rather than what people are saying.

“My whole thing is I just want to make stuff. I want to spend more time making stuff than I do talking about making stuff, or talking about other people’s opinions of making stuff,” said Chieng.

Comedy Central is part of ViacomCBS.

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