Dispatches from the Daily Show's Convention Sideshow

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CECILIA ELLIS
  • CECILIA ELLIS
The Daily Show Convention Sideshow was certainly host to an array of games and attractions fit for any political carnival. Each guest was greeted at the entrance yesterday with a ticket and an immediate stop at the “Orange Cone Over” cotton candy stand for a cone of sugar whipped in the same unfortunate hue as our Republican nominee’s hair. Next up was the whack-a-mole style game, arming each player with a hammer to whack away at each “Hot Button Issue” that pops up, from immigration to LGBT rights.

CECILIA ELLIS
  • CECILIA ELLIS
An enthusiastic, cartoonish announcer’s voice shook the room as he narrated each round of “Grab A Delegate” as if it were a taping of some grimy reality show in which the contestants get locked in a telephone booth while money swirls around them — except, really, it was just people donning goggles and going fishing for “delegates” in a whirlwind of “redacted emails, dirty money, and phony diplomas.” Each station attendant hole-punched your ticket as you passed and the final game on the list was the arcade-style racing game modeled around our tense anti-immigration atmosphere entitled “Run for the Border.” For that game, each contestant toggled to choose a character and then aggressively smashes the buttons to race...for the border. You get the idea. (This reporter accidentally beat some strangers admittedly a tad too aggressively.)

Conveniently located across from the racing was an erected demonstration of an idea that Trump’s been running his campaign on: an enormous wall, topped with barbed wire. A visual installation of what our future could hold! What set this wall apart, however, was the art emblazoned across every surface: names and humorous renderings of each presidential nominee alongside hopeful messages of peace and love.

Beyond the wall was a “Hall of Hot Presidents,” a hallway of mirrors placing the viewer directly into the shoes (and quotes, and hairstyles) of several of the candidates we’ve seen in the race for 2016. Of course, the most important spot in the place was the seat behind the desk and in front of the camera for a photo op: putting you in the perspective of those who report on the candidates. Or, in the case of Trevor Noah, make fun of them mercilessly.

If you’re in town, unfortunately the sideshow is over — but the real show is just beginning. 

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