This September, “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central will begin to look very different, as comedian Trevor Noah is taking over the chair that has long been inhabited by the highly-regarded comedic wit of host Jon Stewart. While it will be an uphill climb for Noah to both maintain and grow the show’s audience in the early days of his tenure on the show, the South African comedian makes no bones about the fact that it will be a pretty different beast with him in the lead.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in a Q&A panel (via IGN), Noah talked about the inherent difference in perception of a story that automatically comes from the differences in background between he and his predecessor.
The way you approach a story, the way you look at a story depends on your points of view. The way you look at comedy depends on your points of view. So Jon [Stewart] is a white 52-year-old Jewish guy that grew up in Jersey. I am a 31 year old half-black, half-white South African who has lived in America for a few years on and off. So the way we would look at the same story would be completely different. The way we would tackle an issue would be completely different because we’d have different access to certain jokes, to certain sides of a story that you wouldn’t have necessarily. Certain sensitivities, all things that you feel are close to you that you may be able to access that you wouldn’t have were you not that.
Noah was asked about what stylistic changes would be made to the look and structure of the show with him in the big chair, and he had a clear and concise answer for that question, as well.
In terms of the show, physically, we are obviously changing the set a tiny bit. We still want the show to be recognized as “The Daily Show” because that’s what it still is. In terms of content on the show, I guess we’re still dealing with the same issues. The issues are not really changing in America and in the world, so really it’s just a different angle that we are looking at things from, and it’s my angle, really, but the show still has its voice. It’s just that I’m at the helm taking things in a slightly different direction but still trying to get to the same end place.
In terms of content, Noah was asked about whether or not some topics that Stewart would often use as material for his humor — like his constant skewering of Fox News, as an example — will continue under his perspective. Again, Noah delivers a thoughtful answer that comes from the history of the show, and when it first came to prominence and popularity while under Stewart’s leadership.
“The Daily Show” was based on an emerging 24-hour news cycle. That’s everything that it was. It was this big thing that came out, and that’s what inspired The Daily Show. Now you look at news and it’s changing. It’s no longer predicated around 24-hour news. There are so many different sources. Half of it is online now. Now you’ve got the Gawkers and the BuzzFeeds, and the way people are absorbing their news in sound bites and headlines and little click links has changed everything. So the biggest challenge – and it’s going to be an exciting one on the show – is how do we bring all of that together. Looking at it from through a bigger lens as opposed to just going after one source, which was historically Fox News.
Noah’s tenure as host of “The Daily Show” will begin on September 28th. Jon Stewart’ final show as host is coming up fast, and will air on Comedy Central on Thursday, August 6th.
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