Three Great Things: Desi Lydic

The Emmy-nominated Daily Show correspondent waxes lyrical on running in Central Park, hanging out with friends and family card games.

Three Great Things is Talkhouse’s series in which artists tell us about three things they absolutely love. Below, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah correspondent Desi Lydic who’s currently nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Seriesshared some of the things that make her life better. — N.D.

Running in Central Park
I have lived in New York City for seven years and have just discovered how wonderful it is to jog in Central Park. I don’t know how it took me this long to discover the thing that literally every New Yorker knows, but it brings me so much joy. And I say this as a person who doesn’t have an athletic bone in my body. I’m a pretty horrible runner, who runs about the speed of someone walking at a good New York pace. I also don’t have a lot of endurance, I’m not all that coordinated, I have to think really hard, “left, right, left, right,” to keep my pace regular, but it brings me so much joy just being out around other New Yorkers in the sunlight. And Central Park is so beautiful!

I’m determined to keep running in Central Park and maybe, little by little, I’ll slowly start increasing my pace. I’m starting to be able to handle longer and longer distances every time I do it. It’s definitely a slow progression, but I have a little hope that I will continue to get better. I mean, I was the kid in P.E. class who always wanted to sit out dodgeball and kickball because I didn’t bring the right shoes or I was wearing a dress or I was intimidated by my classmates who were actually very athletic and loved outdoor activities. So, this represents me diving into something I know I’m not very good at, but being willing to work through the discomfort of it. And as a perfectionist, it’s a great exercise for me to challenge myself like that.

Hanging Out with My Girlfriends
One thing I’ve missed so much over the past couple of years – and have been craving and reminded of how much I miss it – is time with my girlfriends. Most of my closest friends don’t live in New York, so hanging out typically just means a long catch-up chat on the phone. Being a woman, I definitely need my time with my female friends. There’s nothing like it. It feeds my soul. There’s the stuff we understand that each other goes through, the support, the way we laugh. I miss seeing them in person, but epic conversations on FaceTime are food for the soul.

I have a couple of close friends who are actors, but most of them aren’t in entertainment, which is a good thing. Any time I’m starting to feel like this motherhood thing is getting really challenging, I call on my friend Brittany – who I’ve been friends with since we were 11 years old – because she has five children and can always make me feel better. She’s quick to set me straight. I think, “Oh, my God, if she can do what she’s doing with five kids, I can probably handle juggling family life and work with my one kid.”

A silver lining of the pandemic for me was that I did talk a lot on the phone with my friends, because seeing each other face to face wasn’t an option. It made me realize that I can catch up with people even if I have a small amount of time, and just a little FaceTime is all I need every now and again to get caught up. So, I think we’ve actually talked a lot more frequently over the last couple of years than we did before.

The last time I was on a trip with all my friends together was right before I got married, about 10 years ago. So, it’s been way too long. Recently I’ve been inspired to hurry up and make a commitment to go see all my girlfriends, so hopefully I can make that happen soon.

Golf (The Card Game)
When we were going through lockdown, I spent a lot of time back home in Kentucky. My husband, my son and I would go down and stay with my parents for maybe six to eight weeks straight. Almost every night, we played a card game called Golf, where the goal is to end up with the fewest number of cards.

In Golf, there’s teams of two, so you partner up and really have to check in with your partner before you make any bold moves. It’s such an addictive game. Not long after we started, we were staying up until 3:30 a.m. every night playing this game. It was so much fun. I have family members who I’m not aligned with politically, so it was nice to have an activity where we could bond and not get into those subjects. The game was something that kept us off our phones, kept us from solitary activities and brought us all together around the table every night. We had really great conversations during that time and it was even something my son could sit down and play. It was a little complicated for him, but he’d take part anyway. It was fun, too, when my aunt or uncle would come over, as they’d sit down and then be playing for the first time.

We had some good conversations playing the game, and when we did talk about politics, it was in a very calm, respectful, gracious manner, because we also had to multitask and focus on the game. And the person whose politics you disagreed with was sometimes your partner in Golf. We actually had some very productive conversations, in terms of kind of getting on the same page about a few things. My family is very close, no matter what, and very supportive, so I’m sure we eventually would have gotten there eventually with certain conversations, but the game was a nice way to help things along.

Desi Lydic, currently nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series, joined The Daily Show with Trevor Noah as a Correspondent in September 2015 when Noah started his tenure as host. She is a professionally trained improvisational and comedic actress who studied and performed at The Groundlings and Improv Olympic. In 2020’s half-hour special, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Presents: Remembering RBG – A Nation Ugly Cries with Desi Lydic, Desi explored the remarkable life and legacy of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her first one-hour Comedy Central special, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Presents Desi Lydic: Abroad, premiered in May 2019 and received a Writers Guild Award Nomination. Desi also had a starring role on MTV’s hit comedy series Awkward and her other credits include FXX’s The League and Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo.