Jordan Klepper’s “The Opposition” to Resist the Resistance on Comedy Central

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

“Trevor, I’ve been on this show for over three years, peddling liberal talking points day in and day out,” longtime Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper told host Trevor Noah on a recent episode. “But then two months ago, I had two stark realizations: one, I’ve been living in a bubble; and, two, I didn’t have my own show.”

Consider both of those problems solved. The wry Klepper, whose recent Jordan Klepper Solves Guns special demonstrated his capability as a show captain, will star on The Opposition, a new late-night franchise beginning Sept. 25 on Comedy Central.

The Klepper that commands his own Comedy Central pulpit, however will be far from the liberal crusader who trolled pro-gun advocates and Trump supporters (watch his best moments here with your cable or service provider log-in). Instead, he will emerge as a self-certain crusader against the mainstream media, an alternative-media hero for, as Comedy Central describes it, “the America of paid protestors, Obama’s birth certificate, and the certainty that CNN is fake news.”

While the network hasn’t revealed the show’s exact format, you can get a sense of the tone and absurdist humor with this clip of Klepper at a Trump rally in Arizona, where he collects signatures on a petition to impeach Hillary Clinton (who currently holds no public office):

The table-thumping turnabout is, of course, sarcastic. But with so many late-night shows preoccupied with every political rumble out of Washington, Klepper knew he had to position this show differently.

“We have a lot of people [in late night] who are mad at what is happening, and they’re very articulate about their frustration,” Klepper told The Hollywood Reporter’s Lacey Rose. The new show will fill a gap, “showing where that [frustration] comes from and trying to satirize from that place. That’s what will hopefully feel fresh.”

This adoption of an alternative persona makes the show something of a spiritual heir to The Colbert Report, the longtime former home of the winkingly bombastic Stephen Colbert, which once aired in the same timeslot on Comedy Central.

In a wide-ranging piece by Salon’s Melanie McFarland, Klepper acknowledged the similarities to his predecessor, while explaining how the show will distinguish itself. “Colbert showed us that creating a character and filtering a show through a point of view is something that was sustainable and you could do it,” he said. “But what we’ll see this as, is that these characters [Colbert and Klepper] have completely different worldviews. The world has changed dramatically even since the time Stephen was on and the time we’re on. Things like Bush, O’Reilly and neocons, the Tea Party, those things have now either been fired, they’ve been shamed and one of them is oil painting in a bathtub. Donald Trump has shifted the landscape and the feeling. The patriotism that existed in perhaps an O’Reilly type doesn’t exist in Alex Jones. There’s a nationalism there.”

It’s a unique roll, and Klepper seems to be well-suited for it. “And for Klepper, The Opposition is a perfect fit for the times and for who he is as a comedian,” McFarland wrote. “As the host of his show [he] will play an outsized parody of himself, much as he did on The Daily Show.”

Comedy Central recently announced The Opposition’s lineups of writers and “citizen journalists,” (presumably correspondents in the tradition of The Daily Show).

The show debuts during a rich period for Comedy Central’s late-night programming: the network recently extended Trevor Noah’s hosting duties through 2022 on the back of steadily increasing ratings, while ordering additional episodes of the The Jim Jefferies Show and The President Show, both of which debuted earlier this year.

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