Brow Beat

The Daily Show’s Desi Lydic Goes Undercover to Find “Florida Man”

Thursday night on The Daily Show, Desi Lydic reminded us of some real-life headlines from the Sunshine State: Florida Man Has Sex With Tree and Calls Himself Thor. Florida Man Disguised in Bull Costume Tries to Burn Down House With Spaghetti Sauce. Florida Man Bites Dog to Establish Dominance. Florida Man Practices Karate on Swans … You get the idea. So many weird things happen in Florida that uttering the phrase “Florida Man” already feels suspect. So why do so many bizarre and violent things happen in the state and who is “Florida Man”? An Atlanta episode already answered this question with a pretty dark theory, but with The Daily Show already filming in Miami, Lydic took the opportunity to approach the mystery a different way. She sets out to interview some real “Florida men” from the headlines. “As a future Pulitzer-winning journalist it’s my responsibility to uncover the truth,” explained Lydic, “To reveal what lies beneath the swamp. To answer the question: what makes a man a Florida man?”

Hunting for a deeply ingrained conspiracy theory, Lydic has some trouble communicating with the three men she interviews, whose answers range from, “I can’t really tell you much about that night. There was too much alcohol involved that night” to “I do the wrong things in the right way.” But Lydic’s mastery of rude, leading questions and the way she uses her eyes to alternate between deadpan expressions of disgusted boredom and sarcastic fascination makes this bit one of her funniest yet.

Or maybe it’s just how truly odd her subjects are. They have lots of theories for what causes Florida men to do absurd things including alcohol, humidity and “women,” but Lydic’s epiphany comes later in an unexpected moment, when she talks to a Tampa Bay Times journalist who’s well informed about the issue. You’ll have to watch the clip to see how she pulls that off.