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Trevor Noah is the guy who's going to replace Jon Stewart on The Daily Show

Trevor Noah Daily Show Business Insider

Trevor Noah, a South African comedian, will replace Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show."


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Right. Who's Trevor Noah?

Not well known in America.  

In his standup routines, Mr. Noah comes across as a self-assured polyglot with an international perspective.

As he joked in a 2013 comedy set on “Late Show With David Letterman,” Mr. Noah said that he did not like being introduced as a comedian from Africa, as if he represented the entire continent. “They make it sound like a guy in leopard skin’s going to come running on the stage,” he said.

Mr. Noah said in his phone interview, “I didn’t live a normal life — I grew up in a country that wasn’t normal.”

He grew up in Soweto, the son of a black Xhosa mother and a white Swiss father, whose union was illegal during the apartheid era. “My mother had to be very clandestine about who my father was,” Mr. Noah said. “He couldn’t be on my birth certificate.”

By the time he started performing stand-up in his 20s, Mr. Noah said he had long been taught that “speaking freely about anything, as a person of color, was considered treason.”

His globe-trotting spirit (and ability to speak six languages) set him apart in comedy, and he performed widely in the United States between 2010 and 2012, eventually coming to Mr. Stewart’s attention about two years ago.

It's a bold move to go with someone relatively unknown in the United States.

I hope he's awesome.

Me too.  Going with an international comic is extremely bold but it's working elsewhere: "We already have a replacement for the Daily Show, its called Last Week Tonight."

Too bad they didn't get John Oliver to stay.

But now I have high hopes that Trevor Noah will be original and interesting too.

One thing is for sure: They won't try to continue the Jon Stewart way.

Grantland on Trevor Noah:


As the clip shows, Noah is an excellent mimic—a skill that sets him notably apart from Stewart. That's likely one of many changes to expect from the new Daily Show. The mixed results in Noah's segments suggest that he's very funny but perhaps not ideally suited to the current format. Revisiting news articles on Stewart's takeover from Craig Kilborn, one gets a similar sense: Stewart's show was eagerly anticipated, but no one knew what quite to make of the switch from the tall, bro-y, sometimes mean-spirited Kilborn to the short, nebbishy, affable Stewart.

But Noah's appointment fits with a franchise that has tended ever more serious under Stewart's direction. Stewart took time off from the show to directRosewater, a drama about the imprisonment in Iran of Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari. As my colleague David Sims notes, Larry Wilmore's Nightly Show has made a point of attacking weighty topics with a light but erudite touch. And John Oliver's Last Week Tonight has quickly moved from an echo of Stewart's Daily Show into a fairly aggressive news operation, light on gags (though not laughs) and heavy on longer-form journalism. Oliver has evenbegun hiring journalists and focusing on original investigative work.

Opting for a more global look may be risky—after all, the point of Noah's segments so far has been that Americans neither understand nor care about the world beyond their borders. But Noah's ability to make connections between domestic and foreign phenomena should suit him well, and there was evidence that Stewart's shtick was reaching its limits. Built for skewering the follies of the Bush administration and the media, he outlasted Dubya and helped change the media, and he seemed mostly baffled and sad before more recent bleak news around the globe. Trevor Noah may be just the man to lead The Daily Show into international waters.

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