'Daily Show' Co-Creator Lizz Winstead on Donald Trump's "Full of Shit" Abortion Stance, Sam Bee's "Amazing" 'Full Frontal'
“Trump has given permission for people to be horribly racist, horribly ugly, horribly awful."
Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about politics, the election and Samantha Bee as she promotes her Lady Parts Justice organization, which is hosting its first satirical awards show, called the "Golden Probes," on Sunday.
LPJ is an organization focusing on the "erosion of reproductive access" in the United States and the ceremony is meant to honor “outstanding achievements in sexism and anti-choice extremism in the fields of politics, media and other industries that have made strides pushing women’s rights backwards." Mike Pence is among the nominees, which are mainly politicians and policymakers.
The nominees and winners will be revealed at the ceremony, held at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York on Oct. 2 and streamed live on the LPJ website. Jessica Williams and Wendy Davis are scheduled to attend the show with taped appearances from Sarah Silverman, Connie Britton and Broad City's Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer.
Winstead shared her thoughts on the "sexist 1990s" media coverage Hillary Clinton has received, what a moderator should do at a debate, why she wishes people would stop saying they want Samantha Bee to host The Daily Show and what Donald Trump has revealed about society
What about the Golden Probes has you most excited for the weekend?
The fact that so many people are going to — in a really fun way — learn about how all of these laws that are curbing reproductive access happen. People don’t fundamentally get that these laws are coming out of state legislatures mostly. We get sucked into general election and all of this big stuff about Trump and Hillary when quietly people are getting elected in midterm elections who are changing the course of how our access to reproductive health, abortion, is just being eroded.
Can you talk a bit about the people who are nominated and winning awards?
Of all of the people that were at some point contenders for president on the Republican side, none of them are nominated because there's people who are more dangerous. You might think of Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina — they are not nominated. We have found people who have said things that are so outrageous and who are holding office now. It’s important to learn about this statewide onslaught. Mike Pence is nominated because he's also served in all of the places [Congress and as governor of Indiana.] He’s an all-around upstanding nominee.
When it comes to who we rely on to help us make sure that we retain our constitutional rights, it’s state legislators — who are completely nuts — and a Supreme Court that will decide what is nuts and what isn’t — and that feels like that is a little insane. That’s kind of where the volleyball game is happening.
In Missouri, one state legislator tried to pass a law that would have forced Planned Parenthood to give the medical records of every woman who's ever had an abortion over to their state government. There’s one man who had proposed that women should be forced to carry a nonviable fetus to term because of miracles. There’s a guy in Idaho who asked, "Why can’t women just swallow a camera to have a gynecological exam?"
What do you think of Trump's run for presidency?
Trump has given permission for people to be horribly racist, horribly ugly, horribly awful and then you combine that with access to the internet and the media — it’s just been an onslaught of permission to be uncivil, uneducated and unbelievably terrifying.
I had one woman tweet at me — I don’t remember what my joke was but it was something about Donald Trump and his son retweeting white supremacists. This woman wrote to me saying, "Donald Trump is not a white supremacist, I am and he’s the closest candidate I have." I’m like "Wow." The legions of ugly that have been gathered and validated is what terrifies me the most. If we give them power and if we give them validation — if we lose science and we literally lose general humanity then we’ve kind of lost everything as a civilized society.
What about his stance on abortion?
I think he is so full of shit. He has been staunchly pro-choice, supported Planned Parenthood and now [has reversed his stance]. To me it tells me more about the anti-abortion movement that people who are profound leaders in caring about life have co-signed on to him because that just shows that they have layers of hypocrisy. If you are supporting a candidate who has caveats and giant gaping holes in their abortion stance and you are firmly "pro life" then you have put yourself in charge of being judge and jury about what life is. I just believe that pregnancy is not a baby, but I don’t understand how someone who thinks that life begins at conception could have a caveat about abortion.
What are your thoughts on Hillary Clinton as a candidate?
I was a Bernie [Sanders] supporter, and now I feel really confident about the things I really love about Hillary, whether it’s college tuition, TPP, whether its both [Sanders and Clinton] saying we want to make sure that repealing the Hyde Amendment gets into the platform. Bernie pushed Hillary to a place where I’m excited about having her as a candidate.
What is your opinion about the media coverage of Clinton and Trump?
When they decide to break away from Trump to cover Hillary it’s been often outstandingly sexist 1990s and that’s really bizarre to me. Even watching the debate, Donald Trump interrupted Hillary 26 times in the first part of the debate, and then I read about how moderators are acting like its not their job to correct the record. I don’t know what their job is then. To sit there and just not try to facilitate?
Debates are so the American people can get the best information possible from the two people who will lead the nation and spend their tax dollars. For any moderator who thinks it’s not their job to make sure that the information they get is correct and that they hear both people speaking on said information is outstanding to me. So that part really bums me out.
Have you been watching the Trevor Noah-hosted Daily Show, and if so, what do you think?
Quite frankly, I’ve seen some of it and I think Trevor is awesome. People hate change. There’s this new young person who is taking over the hardest job in the world for scrutiny and trying to make it his own, and I think it’s brave and he’s funny. People should stop hemming and hawing about this cool thing that was going on with Jon Stewart and start embracing what he’s doing.
I feel the same thing about Sam Bee. I keep hearing people say "I wish Sam Bee was the host of The Daily Show." I’m like, why don’t you shut up and be so excited about the fact that Sam Bee and Jo Miller got to create this amazing new show with their unique and wonderful perspective and are doing so on their terms. It’s the best.
Do you watch other Daily Show alums like Stephen Colbert and John Oliver to see how they’re doing?
Yeah, I’m thrilled about all of it. The hope of doing an ensemble show like that is that it can permeate into other spaces, so not all of this amazing talent is glommed into one spot. So to be able to watch watch Stephen and Sam and John Oliver and Brian Unger and people just doing really cool stuff, it’s really great and makes me feel really happy.
*This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
LPJ is hosting public watch parties that will live-stream the Golden Probes in cities like L.A., DC, Austin, Portland, Memphis and Minneapolis.