Since 1999, Jon Stewart and the team at “The Daily Show” have been providing viewers around the world with satirical news. By providing viewers with exaggerated takes on current events, such as calling out politicians on their snafus, coining terms such as “BS Mountain” and dubbing Senator Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House John Boehner a turtle and a carrot respectively, “The Daily Show” has certainly made its mark on pop culture.
However, it is time to pass the torch
On Feb. 10, Stewart announced that he would be stepping away from the anchor desk to pursue other projects. In the wake of the announcement, there was a lot of speculation as to who his replacement would be. If John Oliver had not been offered his own show, he would be the ideal candidate. His stint on the show while Stewart filmed Rosewater proved he could fill Stewart’s shoes and even add his own spin on things. However, he currently runs his own show, “Last Week Tonight”, taking him out of the running for Stewart’s replacement.
A fan favorite to replace Stewart was Jessica Williams, a 25-year-old who had amassed a following from her powerful segment on cat calling. In addition to in-house candidates, fans were hoping for comedians such as Tina Fey or Amy Poehler to take over for Stewart, but both had done the fake-news stint during their SNL days and were not interested.
After rumors and speculation, Comedy Central announced that Trevor Noah would be taking over the show. Trevor Noah grew up in South Africa, the son of a black South African mother and a white Swiss-German father. Since he was born during the apartheid, his mother was jailed and fined by the South African government from her relationship with his father. Noah started out working on South African soap operas, hosting various shows and conducting a radio show before turning toward comedy.
Noah first started appearing on “The Daily Show” as a contributor in December 2014. Commenting on the tensions between police and the country, he said, “I never thought I’d be more afraid of police in America than in South Africa. It kind of makes me a little nostalgic for the old days, back home.” After a few more appearances, Noah’s promotion to replace Stewart was announced.
Immediately following the announcement, the public swarmed his Twitter account and excavated tweets that were deemed offensive. These tweets contained content that was anti-Semitic, denigrating to women and simply in poor taste.
In an interview, Michele Ganeless, president of Comedy Central, stated:,“So our goal was to find someone who brings something really exciting and new and different.”
To say the least, Trevor Noah brings something new if his tweets are any indication of what he will bring to The Daily Show.
But would viewers really be happy with anyone attempting to replace Jon Stewart?
In his 16 years at the anchor desk, Stewart has transformed “The Daily Show” into a symbol of moral authority and a pop culture icon. “The Daily Show” has been an incubator for comedians such as Steve Carell, John Oliver and Stephen Colbert; the latter two became hosts of their own shows.
While Noah’s appointment has been controversial, Comedy Central has backed Noah, saying, “Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included…To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.” In addition, Jon Stewart has vocalized his support for Noah and told him that he was where Noah was when he first took over “The Daily Show.”
As Ganeless, president of Comedy Central said, “There is only one Jon Stewart. So, we did not look for the next Jon Stewart. We were looking for someone who brings a really unique and distinct point of view that’s really appropriate for 2015 and the coming years, who could evolve “The Daily Show” for the next generation. Trevor is so smart and so funny and such a citizen of the world that it just became very clear that he could do this job better than anyone else.”
Photo Courtesy of Newsweek