For the past three years I watched almost every episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. When I found out that Stewart was leaving his beloved news desk I felt like I had lost a close friend that I hung out with four nights a week. I trust Stewart’s judgement, so when he announced his replacement was Trevor Noah, a relatively unknown South African comedian, I had high expectations. I watched the first episode of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah with an open mind and a hope that he could keep the show great.
In the first episode of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, which aired on Monday September 29th, Noah addressed viewers like myself who still feel weird about Stewart’s departure. Noah said in his first bit that, “Dad [Jon] has left. The family has a new step dad… and he’s black”. I had assumed that Noah would dramatically change The Daily Show, but as I watched the first episode I was surprised to find that The Daily Show with Trevor Noah seemed pretty similar to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Many of the jokes that Noah told were written by continuing writers from the Stewart era. The structure of the show is similar to Stewart’s program and it appears that the show’s formula will remain mostly the same. It makes sense, Stewart’s show was wildly successful and as the saying goes, if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Despite the similarities among the shows, I think Noah is going to breath new life into The Daily Show. He is young, fresh, motivated, and has had a variety of fascinating life experiences to draw from. Noah recently immigrated to the United States (in 2010), and he grew up in a South African township during apartheid with a white father and a black mother, a marriage that was illegal at the time. His background is so drastically different than Stewarts (who is in his 50s and grew up in New Jersey), that the perspective in which he looks at jokes will certainly be different. Noah has said that he has, “lived many places all over the world, so I’ve always seen myself as a citizen of the world,” and he plans give a more international perspective to The Daily Show. Noah has got my attention, and I am excited to see him progress in his new role.