After months of pandemic broadcasting, late-night hosts like Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon have moved back to their regular studios. For Trevor Noah, the task of finding a post-coronavirus norm will take a little more time.
Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” will go on hiatus, with host Noah doing his last “socially distanced” production on Thursday. The ViacomCBS network said it intends to unveil a “brand new look and feel” for the program on Sept. 13. The show will maintain a presence via social media during the summer, with work from its team of producers and faux correspondents. Noah on Monday announced he would mount a stand-up comedy tour that launches in September and takes him around the U.S. and countries including Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Noah has led a very different version of the program during the pandemic. He has held forth from an apartment, rather than the show’s New York City studio, and tried to address political and cultural matters. And he has provided a roost for newsmakers to talk to a younger audience than they might get from the program’s broadcast-network rivals. Among Noah’s guests in recent months have been Dr. Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates and Eddie Murphy.
“I haven’t been so stressed in terms of thinking about content during this moment, because I live in the world of the news. I try to provide context; I try to distill it. If I think people are looking for anything from my show, they are looking for a clarification — what everything means. That’s what people want because that’s what I want,” Noah told Variety last July. “We are living in a world where nobody agrees on a fact. People are allowed to live in completely different realities, and what that creates is uncertainty that I think it’s already uncomfortable for human beings, because you do’t get to establish what your base level really is.” The effect of holding forth without a live audience, he suggested, has changed the format. “Now we’ve all become more YouTube.”
Comedy Central declined to offer details on why Noah and “Daily Show” would take an extended break.
Other late-night hosts have taken some time off amid pandemic protocols. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel last summer took off part of June, as well as July and August, returning to host “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in mid-September. The host cited a desire to spend time with his family and fill-ins included Amy Schumer, Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson, Sarah Cooper and Billy Porter.
Noah is one of the few late-night hosts to remain in socially distanced production, performing the program without the feedback of a live audience. Conan O’Brien, who is set to end his run on WarnerMedia’s TBS later this month, welcomed a live crowd back to his program last night, and Stephen Colbert returned to live-audience production on CBS on Monday for the first time in 15 months. Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” on NBC has also returned to production with a full live crowd.
Comedy Central vowed to release “new and original content” during Noah’s absence from the cable box, including “field packages, sketches and explainers.”