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Alabama comedian is officially the breakout star of the new ‘Daily Show’

Roy Wood, Jr. on The Daily Show
Roy Wood, Jr. on The Daily Show

On last night’s episode of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” on Comedy Central, correspondent Roy Wood, Jr. made a rap video made up entirely of Donald Trump quotes. With lines like “fingers long and beautiful, look at these hands” and “I never liked Bette Midler’s persona,” the video is a testament not only to Trump’s lack of a filter, but also to Wood’s comedic genius.

Roy Wood, Jr., who happens to be a native of Birmingham, Alabama, is part of the team of correspondents on the new edition of “The Daily Show,” hosted by South African comedian Trevor Noah. Although this new team just launched in September of last year, Wood has quickly distanced himself from the rest of the group with his comedic timing and “exasperated everyman” personality. Wood’s success comes from his ability to look at a joke in a completely different way than everyone else.

“If everybody’s thinking apples, I’m going to talk about broccoli,” he told Rolling Stone. “I’m not even going to write about oranges, because there’s at least three people who wrote about oranges.”

After graduating from Ramsay High School in Birmingham, Wood attended Florida A&M University to study Journalism. He was initially frustrated when he realized his classmates laughed at him so easily, but he soon took his talents to open mic nights and small comedy clubs, using Birmingham has his home base.

Some Birmingham residents may remember Wood from his time as head writer and producer of the Buckwild Morning show on 95.7 JAMZ. Wood ran Buckwild from 2001-2007 and then hosted the Roy Wood Jr. Show from 2010-2012, which won two awards from the Alabama Broadcasters Association for “Best Large Market Morning Show.”

Wood became famous on JAMZ for his prank calls, where he would taunt Birmingham residents about anything from smoking in church to Social Security checks. His prank calls were posted on YouTube and started to get attention nationwide.

His success on 95.7 JAMZ and doing stand up led to a number of television appearances, including the Late Show with David Letterman, Conan, the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and HBO’s Def Comedy Jam. He finished third on the 2010 season of Last Comic Standing, and appeared as a regular on TBS’s “Sullivan and Son” for three seasons.

But it has been his time on The Daily Show that has made Roy Wood, Jr. a star. He has created a persona of “charismatic crankiness” that allows him to find humor in topics like police bias, the Oscars, race, Donald Trump, and more.

“Roy has a great way of seeing the other side of any conversation, which is always a great mindset for a comedic take,” said “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah. “And script or no script, I know we can find funny. Even in his most serious moments, there’s a joke in his eyes.”

For Wood, The Daily Show feels like the culmination of everything he’s done so far in his career. The skills he learned from 95.7 JAMZ, stand-up, previous television work, and his journalism degree have helped him quickly find success on the show.

Wood also credits his success on The Daily Show partly to the way he’s learned to watch news stories develop.

“I still watch news, but my focus isn’t on what was said, it’s what people are saying about what was said,” he said. “It helps me figure out the psyche of America.”

(Video below: Roy Wood, Jr. performs “They Love Me” as Donald Trump)