If you ever get to sit down and have a conversation with The Daily Show’s Dulcé Sloan and Josh Johnson, be prepared for your own personal tennis match. The comedic correspondent and series writer toss off one-liners just as fast as the Williams sisters smash balls over the net. This makes Johnson and Sloan the perfect pair for their new podcast, The Daily Show Presents: Hold Up. Touching on non-topics like staycations vs. vacations, these two besties throw down no-holds-barred conversations that won’t solve any world dilemmas, but will definitely get you chuckling.
EBONY caught up with the duo to learn all about their newest platform for their uproarious banter, the secrets they know about each other and why Hold Up should be a part of your weekly listening library.
EBONY: Who came up with the idea for the podcast?
Josh Johnson: I think it was a collective effort. We had talked about having a podcast in the past, and I think that all the stars just started to align. This sounds weird, but every time we chatted, we would go for like 30 minutes to an hour, so it became like a podcast anyway. We were like we might as well record just so that there's proof. And years down the line, when I'm proven right about something, I have something to point back to later.
Dulcé, do you agree?
Dulcé Sloan: No, because he's never proven right (laughs). Josh and I were friends before we started working at The Daily Show when we performed at college comedic shows together. We’d be talking at work and random people would walk by and be like, “Y’all should start a podcast." And then the producers of the show were like, “Hey, you know how everyone’s been saying y’all should start a podcast? Well, you're going to start a podcast. We've got a whole network. We need content on YouTube. Ridiculous human beings are exactly the content that we need.” It was just like that.
You have this very natural rhythm with one another. Where do you come up with your ideas?
Sloan: We're trying to stay away from certain topics because we both work at The Daily Show, and we both do stand-up. We always have to stay on top of current events and be really topical. And that can be exhausting, honestly. So most of the time when Josh and I are having these conversations, they would be like our first episode. Our first episode was socially conscious vs. club bangers. That's a legitimate conversation that we had.
Johnson: That's usually how we know it should become a topic, if we're at an impasse. But, nothing that we talk about matters. It's not us getting into a heated argument about world policy. It's literally, “you can't tell me that.” And something probably too bland to ever actually be a topic, like Pepsi vs. Coke.
That’s the beauty of it. Is there something you know about the other that we would be surprised to learn?
Sloan: His internet sucks. I will be like, “Josh, can you put more quarters into your internet?”
Johnson: I'm not trying to skimp on the internet. They decided to be a bad Internet company and try to send me out little drips of internet. I get drips, like an IV of internet every day and I get roasted for it. Like, I don't know how to put a modem together.
Sloan: I'm just being rude. One, he loves puppy dogs. His girlfriend is from Australia. There’s this conference where comics will go to try to get the college tour jobs. It was the first time I had ever seen Josh do a long set, the one with the chocolate cake joke and turning the fan off, and sleeping in the bed with a bunch of men making all that noise sleeping. Josh's set was done, and I stood up and started clapping. I was just like, “Give him all the jobs.” I'm nice. F-me. Send him to your school. I don’t know if people know how many comics respect him and his joke writing.
Johnson: That’s very kind. I don't know if the people know that Dulcé's very good at crafts. She’s talked about crafts and she sold crafts before, but her crafting is like a tier above. She’s shown me the craft station. Her craft sector is very organized, she has little dividers and sometimes the divider only has one thing in it. I'm like, “You really didn't need to divide that from the rest of the stuff.”
Sloan: But I know where everything is. I used to have a jewelry business. I was making feather earrings before anybody was making feather earrings. I am now doing these fun wall things. I have a machine called a Cricut where it cuts out preloaded images. I'll take song lyrics and make an image from them. I have this very gorgeous art deco woman whose hair is kind of whipping, but the way gets cut out, it looks like dreadlocks. So, it's this beautiful woman just looking majestic and then there's a bubble that says, “I come in the club shaking my dreads/throwing these balls/and busting these heads.” Just this beautiful image and the juxtaposition of a rap lyric.
The Daily Show has been nominated for seven Emmys. Where were you when you found out?
Johnson: When I found out about the Emmy nomination, I was just chillin' at the house. I also didn't fully understand it right away because somebody texted me congratulations, but they didn't say what for. I was like, “I did have a bagel today. I'm doing well; I'm having a happy life.”
Sloan: I was at home when we got the Emmy nomination. I'm always happy we can, with all of that work that goes on the show, get acknowledged by our peers who recognize the work that we're doing.
Why should people listen to your podcast?
Johnson: It's a nice break from everything in the world that is very serious. And it’s people giving you that break who work on the things that are serious. It's not as if we're just flippant and we don't care. It's just that we also need a break. We are inviting you to talk with us about: is it a diner, or is it Waffle House? Some people will say Waffle House is a diner. I say Waffle House is its own thing.
Sloan: We all know that Waffle House is its own thing. But you got to listen to that on the podcast to figure it out. We're tackling hard-hitting issues that are soft and, just, cotton. We're not helping anybody. But I can tell you, at work, if me and Josh are having a conversation, people will come and listen. At shows, if me and Josh and I have a conversation, people will come over and listen. And they know that the conversation is half logic and then half me just saying wild stuff to Josh.
Johnson: There's no mercy shown. Sometimes you'll be able to tell one of us is lost and we are not giving up.
Sloan: Sometimes I'll be in the wilderness. I'm dying. Just lost. And I'm not talking about Jesus' 40 days in the desert. I'm talking about 40 years, just gone. Lost as a tribe. Red Sea parted. Just dust just out here. Sometimes we'll go on a tangent. We always make it back. I'm the tangent queen. You might as well just call me algebra. I don't know what the tangent part of math is, but that part of math.
Johnson: I think algebra is right.
Sloan: Tangent, cosine, sine, all of that nonsense. Anything you put on a graphic calculator. It’s listening to two friends, and you feel like you are sitting at the next table and eavesdropping, but you're being allowed to do so. And every once in a while, we'll go, “Oh, yeah. And you, the listeners, what do you think?” So that's the way I think of it. It's. It doesn't feel like work. It just feels like a chance for me to talk to one of my best friends about something silly.