Comedy Central's Klepper gathers with gun activists

FILE - In this July 25, 2017 file photo, Jordan Klepper, host of the new Comedy Central talk show "The Opposition with Jordan Klepper," answers a question during the 2017 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. Klepper is planning a slumber party for young activists pushing for action on gun control. Klepper plans to host Thursday's episode on March 22, 2018, of his show, "The Opposition," from a bedroom of a private home in Bethesda, Maryland. That's where young people are gathering in preparation for Saturday's march on Washington to oppose gun violence. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK — Comedy Central's Jordan Klepper is planning a slumber party for young activists pushing for action on gun control.

Klepper is taking Thursday's episode of his show, "The Opposition," out of a New York studio and into the living room of a private home in the Bethesda, Maryland area. That's where many young people plan to gather in preparation for Saturday's March For Our Lives on Washington to oppose gun violence.

"It's so nice to be inspired by people who aren't cynical about the political process, who are actually doing something," Klepper said on Monday.

Klepper took a special interest in the issue even before he began hosting the weekday show, which airs at 11:30 p.m. EDT, last year. He did reporting on gun control for "The Daily Show" and hosted a one-hour "investigative comedy" special last June titled "Jordan Klepper Solves Guns."

He didn't solve much, of course. But in the process of talking to people on all sides of the issue, Klepper said he was surprised by how much common ground he saw on issues like background checks and scientific research. To him, it has made the lack of political action on the issue despite several mass shootings particularly frustrating.

Klepper got some attention last month for having two student survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting on for interviews.

"The students are doing an amazing job of keeping this conversation going and elevating this, both in the news and in people's minds, so it doesn't just go away and people in positions of power can forget about it as well," he said.

Show researchers found an organization called DC Teens Action, which is matching people coming in for the march with host families in the area. Comedy Central made arrangements with one such group to highlight for the show.

In addition to the young participants, U.S. Sen Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, will stop by.

Klepper won't be breaking character to conduct his interviews. He plays a conservative conspiracy theorist on the show, much like Stephen Colbert played a conservative talk show host when he was at Comedy Central.

He found that when he interviewed the Parkland students, they later appreciated Klepper going after them in this fashion, because it gave the students the chance to refute claims made against them.

"The best thing that we can do is filter it through the resistance that they are seeing," he said. "It's always a balance to play a character who's coming at things that are perhaps the direct opposite of the way that I would feel about them. But what's also refreshing about the situation is that they do get to push back against the trolls."

His show also will be filming at Saturday's rally for future segments.

"Whenever you see an opportunity where maybe the conversation can change things, you have at it," he said.

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