Aaron Schachter: Political unrest has rocked Thailand for the last few months. Opposition protesters have been pressing for the resignation of Thailand's Prime Minister and there's been violence too, with more than 20 people killed since November. With their politics in chaos, many Thais may feel despair but not the staff of a Bangkok-based parody news program called "Shallow News in Depth." The show, with its sarcastic take on events, has seen its online viewership grow into the hundreds of thousands during the crisis. Rosie Wongsurawat is the show's lead writer and producer.
Rosie Wongsurawat: Sarcasm is our thing. We like to be sarcastic because there's not much sarcasm in the Thai media or Thai comedy. Sometimes people don't even get that we're being sarcastic.
Schachter: Are you intending to be the "Daily Show" of Thailand.
Wongsurawat: It's a great honor to be compared Jon Stewart but I don't think we're anything close to him.
Schachter: How does your show work? I pulled up a little bit of it on Youtube and it's a lot more farcical, right? There are little skits and things like that.
Wongsurawat: Yes and we're more like cartoon characters.
Schachter: Do you feel like you're changing the political debate there at all?
Wongsurawat: I'd love to say "yes," but I don't think so. People seem to have their minds made up and society is so polarized that people just don't want to hear what we have to say. Each side has their own media and they only watch their own cable networks and listen to their own radio shows. People like us watch our show and enjoy it but I don't think we're an agent of change or anything like that.
Schachter: Would you like to be an agent of change? Are you trying to get people to think "hey, whatever your politics, watch this show that kind of goes down the middle?"
Wongsurawat: Yes, absolutely. We're trying to get people to be less emotional about the issues and actually talk about it in a civilized manner. That's kind of funny coming from us.
Schachter: This is on the internet. Why not do a show like this on television? Are you not allowed?
Wongsurawat: This kind of thing is too controversial for Thailand, for the free TV.
Schachter: This is a country where when people don't like the politics, they come out in the streets and things can get violent and still no one has gotten angry about you guys?
Wongsurawat: The thing is that if you are kind of like a cartoon character and you smile while you're speaking and you just act silly, people cut you a lot of slack. We don't actually come out and say "you're bad." That's why the sarcasm is there. You're sarcastic so technically you don't say anything bad about anybody.
Schachter: Brilliant. Rosie, thank you so much for joining us.
Wongsurawat: Thank you. And could I say something else?
Schachter: Yes, please.
Wongsurawat: We love Jon Stewart so much.
Schachter: Rosie Wongsurawat is the lead writer and producer of "Shallow News in Depth in Bangkok" and yes, a huge "Daily Show" fan. You hear that, Jon?