This one is tough to write, since we are huge fans of “The Daily Show,” and 99.9% of the time, we love what they do. This past Monday, however, a “Cinco de Mayo” segment reported by Jessica Williams just didn’t feel right. First of all, it perplexes us as to why correspondent Al Madrigal didn’t host the segment, because he probably would have dealt with it with a bit more grace and authenticity. But that is for another post.
Now, we get what Williams and the show’s writers were trying to accomplish in the three-minute report: compare the commitment of immigration reform activists to the boorish behaviors of Americans who like to drink and whoop it up on Cinco de Mayo. Even though the premise of the segment started with promise, it soon devolved into something else that just made us uneasy watching.
Was it when Williams mocked the story of the young man who was explaining how his dad was deported when he was a teenager? Or when Williams took the immigration demonstrators to a bar celebrating Cinco de Mayo? How about when the bar manager was introducing “taquitos” to the demonstrators? Or when the drinking game was being played? And did the ending really make sense given the context of the piece?
Here is the full segment for you to decide.
We have seen the segment a few times already, and it just feels like it needed another day or two to contemplate the message it was conveying. Was it funny? Some of it was. Was it condescending? Yes, big time. Williams’ biggest mistake was that she went from mocking herself to making fun of the demonstrators. Maybe that is why it made us feel so uncomfortable watching.
In the end the comedy mocked those who are marginalized from society. Look at us! Witty New Yorkers making fun of dedicated immigration reform advocates! And that is the segment’s biggest problem. The self-deprecating humor disappeared rather quickly from the piece. Too bad.