Once Desi Lydic, the lead female correspondent on “The Daily Show,” came to learn that America is ranked 49th in the world for gender equality, doing nothing about it wasn’t much of an option.
“I did what any good full-time working mother would do and left my screaming toddler with my husband for three weeks and convinced Comedy Central to send me on an international work vacation,” she deadpans from The Line hotel in Austin between panels and working dinners.
The result of which is “Desi Lydic: Abroad,” an hour-long documentary that will debut on Comedy Central on May 13.
“It felt so confusing to me. Like, this is the nation that aspired to be the first to walk on the moon? Why is it that we are satisfied with mediocrity when it comes to gender equality? There’s something wrong with that,” Lydic says. “And I started noticing that when women speak out about it, whether it’s through marching or protesting or sharing your views on social media, people are like, ‘What are you talking about? Women have all the rights that they could possibly want. Like, if you don’t like it then leave America and go somewhere where they really hate women.’”
She traveled to Iceland, Namibia and Spain and learned about legislation, wage gap, parental leave and more.
“Being on ‘The Daily Show’ we get an opportunity to use our voices and to get to go explore subjects that interest us, but some subjects just feel a little too big for a four- to five-minute field piece, and this was one of them,” she says. “Why are we not progressing at a much faster rate? Women are 51 percent of the population in this country. So, why are we not moving faster? And so it was something that obviously I was very passionate about covering in a way that we wouldn’t be able to do in a four- to five-minute field piece. There’s something exciting about traveling the world and opening up your eyes to what the rest of the world is doing. I am not a well-traveled person. My husband laughs at me. I ate an entire wedge of ‘brie’ before I realized it was butter.”
The Kentucky native emerged from her experience with a desire to engage others in this conversation — and with some new body art as well.
“They even paid for me to get a tattoo,” she says of Comedy Central. “We met with a group of women in Iceland who are rap artists, and they all have matching tattoos. The triangle meaning female empowerment,” she says, pointing to her wrist. “And then the dots above, the one in the middle is a little bit bigger than the other dots, meaning that the individual is stronger with the support of others.”
More from the Eye: