NEW YORK: The choice of South African comic Trevor Noah as Jon Stewart’s replacement on “The Daily Show” advances a new trend of late-night comic hosts with a more worldly perspective. It also continues the longer-running pattern of keeping those jobs filled with men.Comedy Central announced Monday that the 31-year-old Noah will take over from Stewart, who said last month that he would exit the show that has made him a key part of the news and cultural landscape since 1999.
Noah follows James Corden, who recently began as host of CBS’ “Late Late Show” host. Corden is British, as is “The Daily Show” veteran John Oliver, who began a well-regarded late-night show on HBO last year. “It says the world is a much smaller place than it used to be,” Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless said.
Noah said in an interview Monday that he’s lived in the U.S. and “learned to love the place. I’ll bring something different because I am different.”
He’s made a handful of appearances on “The Daily Show” already. His first, last December, had him joking with Stewart about how his South African friends worried that he could catch Ebola traveling in the U.S. (South Africa hasn’t had a case of the disease in 18 years) but that it would be small-minded not to travel in the U.S. because of the danger.
“I never thought I’d be more afraid of police here than in South Africa. Noah said, referring to the “hands up” gesture that was a symbol of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. “It kind of made me nostalgic for the old days back home.”
Noah wasn’t saying what kind of changes he’d make to the show, known for its bitingly satirical look at the news and how it is covered. He did signal that he is coming in as part of a strong team. Stewart, similarly, put his own stamp on a show with an existing format in 1999.
Still to be determined is what, if any, behind-the-scenes role Stewart will have in the show after he leaves, Ganeless said.
In a matter of months, Comedy Central will be completely remaking its signature block of programming and giving the lead roles to a young comic born of a Swiss father and black South African and veteran African-American comic Larry Wilmore – who replaced Stephen Colbert in January.
Noah’s appointment intrigued many fans on social media Monday but there was some disappointment expressed in the difficulty women have had breaking into the club.
A Quinnipiac University poll earlier this month found that Tina Fey was the choice of more Americans than any other as Stewart’s replacement. There was no indication that Fey was interested or even considered.
Samantha Bee of “The Daily Show” recently signed a deal with TBS to develop a late-night show. Chelsea Handler, who left her “Chelsea Lately” show on E! entertainment last summer, is developing a new talk show for Netflix.