Where comedy, politics, and education meet

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“I’m really sorry I’m late,” Jeremy Nordeen, a Bismarck, North Dakota native, said this morning as he showed up for our interview, originally scheduled for 7 a.m., “I was out with Rob Riggle and the guys shooting some pieces.”

Oh, right, the old “I-was-out-with-Rob-Riggle-and-the-guys” excuse. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that.

If Nordeen’s and fellow Brown College student Ann Avoles’ dream of working in film or television doesn’t pan out, there’s always comedy. Both have a sharp flair for timing – comedic and otherwise.

They parlayed that into a two-week gig during the Republican National Convention as production assistants with The Daily Show, which is broadcasting this week from the History Theater at McNally Smith College of Music.

“The one question that I was asked (in the job interview), ‘If you were able to meet any famous person — dead or alive — who would it be? And I said ‘Tom Selleck,'” Ann said. Score one gig with the Daily Show.

“If I’d been asked that question, I would have said ‘Teddy Roosevelt’ because I’m a much more staunch, political person,” Jeremy deadpanned. The question posed to him was little less philosophical. “They asked me if I could drive a 15-person van.”

Both are reluctant to disclose what they’re doing at The Daily Show this week; they’ve signed confidentiality agreements. But Avoles says one of her jobs has been rescuing staff members from protests. “It got to the point where even the Minneapolis police knew me by my first name,” she says. The show was locked down Monday night as protests swirled outside the downtown theater.

Norden says the production assistants have worked hard to play it cool around the show’s stars. “You have to be professional when you’re in there and recognize these people have a job to do… All the interns talk to each other and say, ‘don’t be that guy.'”

“This is just great! Some of our classmates are working down at FoxNews. That’s a little too serious for me,” Avoles said, who wants to meld what she’s learned in television production with a degree she’s already earned in applied technology and graphic design. “I want to do commercials.”

“I hopefully stay in the business the rest of my life; I hope I never become disinterested. I’ve found my calling,” Jeremy says.

No joke.

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