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Ebola panic, food trailers mocked in first Austin ‘Daily Show’

Gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis was the first guest for four episodes taped here.

The Ebola hysteria that’s infected Texas and New York City, food truck culture and state politics were the headlines on the first “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” taping Monday evening in Austin.

Stewart, his crew and comic correspondents from the Comedy Central mock news show occupied Zach Theatre in front of an adoring crowd for the first of four episodes dubbed “Democalypse 2014: South by South Mess.” The interview guest was Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, who appeared relaxed in front of a supportive audience.

The show began with a well-received takeoff of the “Dallas” opening credits, with correspondents from the show and Stewart mixed in with locals including actor Elijah Wood, the Old 97’s, Robert Rodriguez, Shooter Jennings and Aaron Franklin. It ended with Stewart downing a large can of chili in a city so liberal “a guitar can marry a boot.”

It moved on to two segments about Ebola panic in Texas and New York City, with “Daily Show” correspondents Samantha Bee, Jessica Williams, Aasif Mandvi and Jordan Klepper green-screened into locations such as Dallas, Times Square and the front of an Austin Java location before all four joined together to eat meat off a “traditional barbecue lei.”

Dallas proved an easy target when Williams joked that Austin won’t get Ebola because everything in Dallas happens five years after Austin finds out about it. Instead, Austinites would distill Ebola as an artisan brew and sell knitted Ebola safety gear on the crafty website Etsy.

In her interview segment, Davis raised several campaign issues including school financing, women’s health centers, the voter ID law and Republican-led redistricting in Texas, but Stewart still had to address her standing in the polls, asking if she’ll go back to the Texas state Senate if she loses on Nov. 4.

“I’m going to be governor,” she said, earning her biggest audience reaction, but it was in a bonus interview segment meant only for the web.

Before the show, Stewart answered a few questions from the audience and took food suggestions, with Torchy’s Tacos winning out over other suggestions. Asked what he’d eaten so far, Stewart joked, “I killed and ate an armadillo.”

He took easy bait from the audience when asked about Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. “You have elected some crazy (expletives),” Stewart said, to laughs and wild applause.

Mandvi, who was making his first appearance on the show after about a six month leave to work on an upcoming HBO show, said after the taping that Austin provided a great audience that infused the show with energy. “We’re jaded New Yorkers,” he deadpanned.

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