Wyatt Cenac would rather not spend a lot of time talking about The Daily Show.
Still, the comedian is best known for his time as a writer and correspondent on the fake-news program, and one needs to know if he regrets leaving it three years ago, since it was announced that a current correspondent, South African comedian Trevor Noah, will replace host Jon Stewart in August.
"There's no looking back and saying, 'Oh, if I stuck around, maybe they would've offered me the job,'" says Cenac, 39, by phone from Brooklyn. He feels that Noah will do a fine job because he's in capable hands.
"There is a team of people who've been working there for 17 years to make sure that a quality show will be made four nights a week," Cenac says. "If anything, people just need to calm the fuck down."
He'd rather talk about coming back to Raleigh and performing at Goodnights Comedy Club on Tuesday. After all, Goodnights is the first place he ever did stand-up, while he was attending UNC-Chapel Hill. "I got a communications degree," he says, "so I didn't really major in anything."
This may come as a surprise to those who know Cenac as a born-and-bred New York comedian. In his last stand-up special, the Netflix-streamed Wyatt Cenac: Brooklyn, he talked from the perspective of a Brooklynite who remembers when everything wasn't gentrified. ("At that point in Brooklyn, if you wanted anything that was small-batch and artisanal, it was just drugs.")
But Cenac still has warm memories of his time in the Triangle—and Goodnights definitely holds a special place in his heart. "It was the first time I ever got on stage," he remembers of that college open-mike. "I was so nervous that I sped through my three-minute set in a minute, and just ran out of stuff to say. It was both the most terrifying and most exciting thing I'd ever done at that point, at 19 or 20 years of age. So to get to come back—maybe I'll do those two minutes I didn't get to do last time."