In 2013, after leaving The Daily Show and returning home from North Korea, I opened an email from a man who had spent two years living in a shipping container in Sudan.
None of those things are particularly related, they’re just colorful details. The Daily Show taped in Manhattan, not Pyongyang. North Korea didn’t have anything to do with Jon Stewart. And the shipping containers were simply because the international development work the man had done in Sudan didn’t benefit from the finest of accommodations. He made do.
His email asked if I’d be willing to fly to a place I'd never been to do something I was pretty good at in a language I don’t speak: produce news satire. Sign me up. Soon I was on a plane to Bishkek.
That shipping container guy? He’s now my partner. Dillon Case and I are the co-founders of Pilot Media Initiatives.
We make do, and we make television, helping launch innovative programs in some of the most democratically-challenged countries on earth. We began with a weekly political satire program in Kyrgyzstan, the first in all of Central Asia. Then another in Macedonia, the first ever with a female host. Then yet another in Macedonia, and then a fourth in Nigeria — you can read about that one in The New Yorker. (I think they even mention the shipping containers.)
Or you can read about all of our programs, and I hope that you will. It’s pretty cool stuff.