Trevor Noah, a South African comedian who joined “The Daily Show” in December, will assume one of the most important jobs on American television: Host of “The Daily Show” and the man who must replace the irreplaceable Jon Stewart, who leaves this fall.
Comedy Central just announced.
“Trevor Noah has been selected to become the next host of the Emmy® and Peabody® Award-winning “The Daily Show,” it was announced today by Michele Ganeless, president, Comedy Central. His show's premiere will be announced at a later date.”
Noah, 31, is a huge surprise, of course — a relative unknown who instantly trumps all the guesswork done over the past few weeks by professional seers who assumed a “star” from the firmament of U.S. TV would be anointed. But that is not to be. Noah offers one immediate promise: “The Daily Show” will change. Comedy Central clearly is not looking to replicate Stewart's brilliant run, but to begin anew. In fact, that was the only realistic option CC ever had.
Noah became shortlisted in recent days, and when Samantha Bee left for TBS — where she'll star in her own series — that short list became even shorter. There's certainly logic to this choice. By race alone he is unique in late night — indeed, no else will be like him, or ever has been on U.S. TV: African-born, with mixed race parentage — his mother black South African, his father Swiss-born — he has a tragic-comedic perspective on growing up in a mixed-race family in a country where apartheid was once law of the land. He famously joked: “I was born a crime ..." and “Born a Crime” was the title of his very first show in the United States — in 2013, when he starred Off-Broadway.
At the time, he was asked about his mother's struggles — she was jailed for having a mixed-race child — and he said this in an interview:
“I don’t know how [his mother] did it. I always asked her. I guess my mom really didn't care she would get thrown in jail. She didn't care, Did it regardless. She was rebellious in her nature, and did not agree with the system so she went against it. Not much risk to my dad. He was having a good time. My mom was the hero of this story. But many people in South Africa insisted on doing their thing, and so now we have democracy.”
He's also hosted a late night series in South Africa.
Meanwhile, let the questions begin! Will - for example -- U.S. audiences embrace the critique of American institutions by someone who is not American born? John Oliver, now with HBO, resoundingly answered that one. Yes, although Oliver does tend to level his critical swath internationally as well, so it's probably safe to assume Noah will also be more of an internationalist. Can he handle interviews? That's an important component of "The Daily Show," but again, let's say "yes:" It's a learned skill as much as a natural talent.
Will Noah's show be specifically a continuation of Stewart's media-centric one? The answer here must be wait-and-see. Media criticism was something that Stewart just happened to be interested in, and just happened to have an endless supply of material as fodder. Presumably Noah will have his own interests, and Fox News probably isn't among them.
Here's a bit more background from CC: "Noah (www.trevornoah.com) joined “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” in 2014 as a contributor. He made his U.S. television debut in 2012 on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and has also appeared on “Late Show with David Letterman,” becoming the first South African stand-up comedian to appear on either late night show."