Friday night we told you about a rumor reported in Variety that freshman Daily Show correspondent Trevor Noah might be replacing Jon Stewart as host of the show. Now that rumor has been substantiated as Comedy Central has leaked to The New York Times that yes, Noah will be sitting in the big chair when Stewart retires sometime next year. The news has also been confirmed on The Daily Show’s website.
Noah joined the show as a correspondent last October; before The Daily Show, he had already achieved great success as a stand-up comedian in his native South Africa, where he hosted his own talk show and performed in four solo specials. He was also making inroads in America, where he became the first South African comedian to appear on The Tonight Show and The Late Show With David Letterman. Appointing a South African as Daily Show host signals a shift towards a broader international perspective for the show, as well as a more youthful vibe. (It’s also worth noting that both of the network’s flagship talk shows—The Daily Show and The Nightly Show—will now be hosted by people of color.)
The New York Times spoke to Noah about his new gig on the phone from Dubai, where he is currently performing stand-up. “You don’t believe it for the first few hours,” Noah said. “You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you’re in a place where you can’t really get alcohol.” Jon Stewart must have had access to alcohol, though, or is just really excited to see Noah take over, as he issued this exclamation-point laden statement: “I’m thrilled for the show and for Trevor. He’s a tremendous comic and talent that we’ve loved working with,” Stewart said, adding that he “may rejoin as a correspondent just to be a part of it!!!”
Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless says that Noah emerged as the frontrunner for the gig after an extensive search, saying, “We talked to women. We talked to men. We found in Trevor the best person for the job,” adding, “You don’t hope to find the next Jon Stewart – there is no next Jon Stewart. So, our goal was to find someone who brings something really exciting and new and different.”