Even Jordan Klepper can’t find the funny side of an armed insurrection.
The comedian has traipsed deep into the MAGA world for his segments on “The Daily Show,” uncovering the comedy and absurdity at former President Donald Trump’s rallies. So on Jan. 6, 2021, he and his team headed to the U.S. Capitol to document Trump supporters who took to the grounds to protest the certification of the 2020 election that President Joe Biden won.
“We expected, I would say, the first two-thirds of the day to go the way they went,” Klepper told HuffPost in an interview.
During that time, Klepper did his usual thing. He interviewed a man with a pitchfork. He tracked down the whackiest merch. And he highlighted the ridiculousness of it all, walking the streets and asking strangers, “Excuse me, is the sedition happening over here?”
But when people started setting off flashbangs, it was time to go.
“We were right next to the Capitol. We’d interviewed a bunch of folks. They were clamoring on the outside [of the building] and explosions started to take place,” Klepper told HuffPost. “We weren’t sure what they were, if protesters were setting them off, if police were setting them off.”
“We were with security and security literally came up to me and our producer and was like, ’We don’t know what these are. We can protect you from people right now, but we can’t protect you from these devices going off. I think we need to go now. And so at that point, we left,” he added.
That was right before rioters breached the building. Like much of the rest of the world, Klepper observed as the violent mob besieged the Capitol, temporarily halting Congress’ certification of the electoral count.
“Even as we were leaving, it was dire and sad to watch, but I still didn’t imagine them getting as far as they’d gotten,” he said. “I got into my car and I drove back home, listening to the radio, and so it was happening in real time and it still blew my mind.”
In footage near the Capitol from Klepper’s Jan. 6 episode, a loud boom is heard before he wraps up the segment: “Thunder? A cannon? Tear gas? Let’s not wait to find out.”