On Monday, Comedy Central confirmed that Trevor Noah will be taking over Jon Stewart’s post as host of “The Daily Show.” While relatively unknown to American audiences, Noah might be the best fit to head the show that has long held the ear of America’s liberal youth. Here’s why.
31! Can you believe it? This is Noah’s chance, to use a tired phrase, to be the voice of a generation and show that millennials do know what’s going on in the world.
He’s South African.
This has been well documented, but it’s worth mentioning again. Brit John Oliver often takes an international focus on his HBO show, which he left “The Daily Show” to create. Will Noah also broaden what the show covers?
Chris Rock summed this up nicely by Tweeting a screengrab of the Noah news with the caption “Thank you president Obama.” As the percentage of Americans who are mixed-race continues to grow, Noah — who is half-Caucasian and half-black — might be more relatable to an audience than the self-dubbed “Old Man Stewart.”
He’s also multilingual.
Noah speaks six of the 11 official languages of South Africa and he’s learning German (He told journalist Leonard Lopate that he hoped to be able to one day do his standup in German). It’s a longshot, but it could offer some interesting opportunities for international “Daily Show” guests, if American audiences would put up with subtitles.
He’s not afraid of controversy.
Not surprisingly, the child of mixed-race parents who came of age in post-apartheid South Africa has plenty to say about racial and social issues both here and abroad, as evident by his much-publicized first “Daily Show” appearance that discussed stereotypes and the problems minorities face here and in his home country. He also does a decent Nelson Mandela impression.
Noah also came under fire the day after his announcement in regards to Tweets he made in recent years that were deemed insensitive to women and Jews. One read “Behind every successful Rap Billionaire is a double as a rich Jewish man #BeatsbyDreidel.” He also responded to a Tweet that read “When a woman is loved correctly, she becomes 10 times the woman she was before” with “So she gets fat?” Stewart, who is Jewish, was not immune to controversy. In 2010, the female-focused blog Jezebel called out “The Daily Show” and Stewart himself for rumored sexism. (Stewart responded on air, while his staff penned a letter that ran on the show’s website).