Atlanta comic Dulcé Sloan admits her new role as a correspondent on The Daily Show has come with a learning curve.
“Every time you start a new job, you have to adapt to what their culture is,” Sloan says. “It’s been fun and challenging to have to adjust to the humor of the show and how I can bring my humor into the show. They’re not asking to put me in a box at all. They’re just trying to marry our two styles together and present the best pieces that we can.”
Recently named one of Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch,” Sloan visits the White Rabbit Cabaret on Saturday, Dec. 29 as part of a show presented by Let’s Comedy. Beforehand, NUVO comedy writer Seth Johnson caught up with Sloan for a phone interview, discussing Greg Pence, Trevor Noah, and a whole lot more.
NUVO: Your roots as a comic are in Atlanta. How did you first get into comedy there?
DULCÉ SLOAN: A friend of mine worked at the Funny Farm, which is a club that used to be in Atlanta. I used to go up there and see her because she would let me in for free. From talking to some of the comics there, one of them [Big Kenney] told me, “You’re a comic.” I said, “No, I’m an actor.” He was like, “No, you know how to tell a story. You should try stand-up.” I told him no. [laughs]
I quit going up there because my friend stopped working there. But I had exchanged information with Big Kenney, and he taught a stand-up class. Every time they had a new round of the stand-up class, he would contact me and try go get me to take it. In 2009, I was like, “Yeah, sure. I’ll try it.” I took his class, and that was it.
NUVO: How did you wind up on The Daily Show?
SLOAN: I had done some stuff for Comedy Central, and they had seen me do some other stuff. When they were looking for a new correspondent, Comedy Central called my agent and were like, “We want Dulcé to audition.” I was like, “I’m not really a super political comic, but I talk about social issues. Just whatever really pertains to me.” So they asked me to audition, and I said, “Sure.”
I wrote my own desk piece [as part of the audition]. You write your lines and Trevor’s lines. I also had to do a piece from them that was pre-written. My manager and me recorded it together, and we sent it over. A few days later, I got called back. I had to fly out to New York, and that’s when I met Trevor. I did the audition. And then two hours later, they called me and told me I had the job.
NUVO: What have you liked about working with Trevor Noah?
SLOAN: He’s very supportive. When we’re working on pieces to do at the desk with him, he knows the rhythm of each of us. So when we’re going through and doing the final edit on the piece, he’ll be like, “No, your rhythm is better this way. How would you say this?” He makes sure each desk piece we do is very much in our voice.
NUVO: You said you weren’t really a political comic before joining The Daily Show. Have there been any challenges that have come with being a correspondent?
SLOAN: I’ve had to pay way more attention to what the White House does. It just was a big readjustment for me. Going back to a day job was a readjustment because I was on the road for a year-and-a-half. When my mom found out I got on the show, she was like, “You gotta work at an office again? Whachu gonna do?” I was like, “Momma. I worked so hard to not be in an office, and then I hard-worked into an office.” So it was an interesting adjustment.
Here, we have a production studio downstairs. It’s interesting being in a creative house and a production studio at the exact same time. I’ve never written on a show before so I never really did the creative side. I just had it when it was already done. When we get a piece [with The Daily Show], the writers will write it up, and then we’ll work with the writers to get it in our voice.
NUVO: On the flip side, you’ll be visiting Indianapolis to do stand-up. How has your work on The Daily Show impacted your work as a stand-up comic?
SLOAN: It hasn’t changed my stand-up, but it has allowed me to take my stand-up and go, “These are the things I talk about. These are the things I care about. How do I get my voice that I do on stage and put it on the show?”
The show is also why I’m coming to Indiana. It’s given me such a big platform, and it’s given people the ability to see me and my style of comedy and what my voice is. It’s definitely helped me get into clubs. Just as a woman and a person of color, it’s hard to get into clubs on the weekends because they’re worried if you can pull an audience, especially if you don’t have a lot of TV credits. So it’s definitely helped expand my career as a comic because I’ve been able to do clubs that I couldn’t work before just because people didn’t really know who I was.
NUVO: You’re visiting Indiana, where Vice President Mike Pence is from. Being that you’re from The Daily Show, I’m curious what your thoughts are on Mr. Pence?
SLOAN: We actually did a story called “Black Girl Midterm Magic” about Jeannine Lake, who was running against Mike Pence’s brother in the 6th District. So I’ve been to Indiana before to meet Jeannine. She won her primary and beat out the five white men who were vying for the Democratic primary. But it’s a strong Republican district. The fact she even won her primary is great. For a Black woman to win in that area is really great. She didn’t end up beating Greg Pence, but she got 32.9% of the vote, which no one thought would happen.
When we were talking to people, we were like, “Do you have any political experience? Because Greg Pence doesn’t have any.” People who were Republican were like, “Wait, what?” And we were like, “No. He’s not a politician. He’s a businessman.” You just hear Pence, and you think they all have political experience but he didn’t.