Four days into his tenure as host of “The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah faced the challenge of responding to a national tragedy: the shootings on an Oregon community college campus that left at least 10 dead on Thursday.
The bar for Noah was high. His predecessor, Jon Stewart, was admired for bringing gravitas and perspective to acts of violence and devastation — never more so than when he spoke from the heart following the slayings in June of nine parishioners at an African-American church in South Carolina by an avowed white supremacist.
In a remarkable act of self-awareness, Noah told viewers he wasn’t ready to make a profound statement about the mass shootings at Umpqua Community College in rural Roseburg, Ore.
“Normally I just speak from the heart,” Noah told viewers at the top of the show. “This isn’t a normal situation for me. I haven’t had the time to feel, let alone think, about everything that is happening. We can only express our grief for the people who were lost. All I can do is what I do best, which is try to make people laugh. So let’s do our show.”
From there, Noah segued into a segment about the presidential campaign, which of course involved Donald Trump. The bit underscored Noah’s perspective as a native of South Africa. He observed that Trump was in fact the “perfect” president for an African nation given his cult of personality and ability to dismiss hard facts.