The Daily Show 2.0: Trevor Noah Takes Over

Daily ShowComedian Trevor Noah took over the infamous seat of Jon Stewart, as the host of The Daily Show on Sept. 28.  The anticipation of his arrival as host started shortly after Stewart decided it was time to give up his position after hosting for 14 years. 

Noah opened his first episode by talking about the other people who were asked to host the show by saying, “Comedy Central tried and those people declined. And so once more, a job Americans rejected is now being done by an immigrant.” 

Noah has been a comic for about a decade now, but did not make his political vocal on screen debut until he became a political correspondent on The Daily Show in 2014. With this, Comedy Central had many reasons on why to choose him as the new host. 

Michele Ganeless, President of Comedy Central said, “He is a student of our culture. But he looks at it from a very different perspective. [Noah] really understands our audience, because he is one of them.” 

Noah comes from a different background than the audience is use to, which could really impact the show greatly, but he does not lack experience.  Growing up in South Africa, Noah was able to host different events such as the South African Film and Television Awards, and had his own stand- up special. 

GQ describes Noah as a “quick-minded South African guy marveling at American culture and being astounded by what he finds.” 

Many have questioned Noah’s ability to succeed Stewart, since Stewart was able to bring a refreshing new insight to the world of politics. 

The New York Times wrote an article on Jon Stewart being the most trusted man on television in 2008. He was able to tell the news by “speaking truth to power in blunt, sometimes profane language, while using satire and playful looniness to ensure that their political analysis never becomes solemn or pretentious.”

Dr. Stephen Chapman, assistant professor of political science, explains why Stewart resonated to many.  “I’ve watched The Daily Show since about 2005 when I was an undergraduate student. Given that Stewart has held the position for about 15 years, I think it would be difficult for anyone to step into Jon Stewart’s place.” 

He continued, “For myself and many around the country, Stewart represented a voice for the rational, level-headed portion of society (a population that is shrinking more and more). Stewart’s satire, and at times seriousness, touched a nerve throughout the media landscape of the country.” 

Stewart explained his reasoning on leaving with Time Magazine. “Honestly, it was a combination of the limitations of my brain and a format that is geared towards following an increasingly redundant process, which is our political process. Watching these channels all day is incredibly depressing.”

Clips from The Daily Show have even been used in classrooms to explain certain lessons. Dr. Moyi Jia, lecturer of communication and who used a clip from 2011 concerning tax policy in her classroom, said “I liked him so much… He was sharp, ironic and humorous on these serious issues.”

Trevor Noah does still have time to make his own mark on The Daily Show. Jon Stewart also took over the show from a different host in 1999. Dr. Michael Phillips-Anderson, associate professor of communication, explains, “I think that Noah has a very difficult task because the expectations are so high. I think he is doing a good job so far and bringing in some new voices. It’s worth remembering that Jon Stewart was not the first host of The Daily Show. It took him a couple of seasons to really come into his own and make the show what it became. We should give Noah the same opportunity.”

Chapman also adds, “Noah represents a younger and more diverse generation relative to Stewart that may connect on a higher level with younger portions of the population just coming into the political process. At the end of the day, the spirit and purpose of the show is the same. As Noah commented on his premiere episode, ‘Thank you for joining us as we continue the war on bullshit.’ I think he’ll do just fine.”

Students have also been very excited about the new changes for the show, especially since the show has such an appeal to the younger generations. Jessica Pinto, a junior business management student, said “I believe Trevor Noah has a lot to bring to the show and I think he will be able to bring a different perspective to some of the issues that will be covered in the episodes to come.“

Emily Krakowski, a junior social work student has her own concerns about the show but is intrigued to see where Noah takes it. “I think the show is a good form of entertainment, but can get a bit racey at some points. Some of the topics discussed on the show can be very one sided but it will be interesting to see how the show further develops throughout the next couple of months.”

When speaking about Stewart’s impact on the political world, Noah said in the first episode, “I can only assume that this is as strange for you as it is for me. Jon Stewart was more than just a late-night host, he was often our voice, our refuge, and in many ways our political dad, and it’s weird because dad has left ... now it feels like the family has a new stepdad, and he’s black.”

IMAGE TAKEN from The Daily Beat