Trevor Noah Debuts As New Host of “The Daily Show”

South African Comedian Fairly Successful in Continuing Jon Stewart’s Legacy

trevor noahOn Monday night, September 28, 2015, Trevor Noah premiered his first episode as host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Taking over from universally beloved Jon Stewart, who had held the position for over 15 years, Trevor Noah had gigantic shoes to fill. There has been much anticipation over whether Noah would succeed as Stewart’s successor, and this cannot be completely discerned from the first episode. Still, his debut was largely positive, and most reviewers have high hopes for what is to come. Since Stewart’s last show on August 6, 2015, the month and a half hiatus has allowed fans far and wide to speculate on the merits of the network’s choice of Noah as the following host. Stewart established a very specific tone for The Daily Show, which Trevor Noah is adept at continuing. Still, credit is not completely due to Noah alone, as the machine of The Daily Show writers has remained largely intact, which is very skilled at digesting the daily news from around the world and coming up with comedic commentary to distill into the show’s segments. As an example of the machine’s ability to function independent of the host in the seat, when Jon Stewart took off time to direct a feature film, Rosewater, John Oliver took over and was able to continue unscathed. It was only when Oliver debuted his own HBO show Last Week Tonight that his own voice became distinct and separate from The Daily Show tone.

Reverence, No Fear of Racial Comedy, and Bafflement with Americatrevor noah

Though Trevor Noah largely continued Jon Stewart’s format and political material, there were some distinct differences. First of all, Noah was reverent towards Stewart as his predecessor. In the opening, he paid tribute to his mentor with almost too much sincerity for a comedy show, but then lightened the move with a very funny joke: he said that it’s like Jon Stewart was the father of late night television, and now there’s a new stepfather. “And he’s black, which is not ideal.” This joke went over very well, and also shows that Trevor Noah, as a South African born man and one of only two non-white late night hosts (the other being Larry Wilmore, formerly of The Daily Show staff), he is not afraid to address the topic of race in a comedic way. This was often a criticism of Stewart’s tenure, that he shied away from addressing racial topics head-on. However, as a black man, Noah can do so with less controversy. Another unique aspect of Noah’s demographic is his international background; he was born in South Africa. This makes him one of only two late night hosts who was not born in the United States, the other being the previously mentioned John Oliver, now with his own show Last Week Tonight, who is also formerly of The Daily Show staff. This will allow Noah to bring a global awareness to the American television watching public that is not often seen. One joke he made was that when he was a little boy in South Africa, there were two things he never expected: one was to have an indoor toilet, and the other was to be a host of The Daily Show, and that he is now very comfortable with one of them. This also received a giant laugh.

His Legacy Remains to be Seen

With just one show under his belt, it remains to be seen exactly what type of Daily Show host Trevor Noah will turn out to be. In his interview with the actor Kevin Hart, Hart did most of the talking and Noah mostly laughed good naturedly. Still, he has plenty of time to come out of his shell. He made some jokes that might have caused Jon Stewart to cringe, such as a pun about AIDS and aides, and also a not very sensitive reference to Whitney Houston and drug use. Still, to be a successful host, he must not just give America what it wants, but also give us what we don’t know we need.

Jon Stewart Hosts Final Episode of “The Daily Show”

Last Week Countdown to Finale Episode on Thursday, August 6th

jon stewart the daily showOn January 11, 1999, Jon Stewart became the host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. At the time, he took over the position from Craig Kilborn, who had been the show’s inaugural host since it first aired on July 22, 1996. Jon Stewart’s tenure has far outlasted his predecessor’s, as he wraps up his 16-year stint as host this week. The show will continue on in his legacy, as Trevor Noah has been tapped to begin hosting the new era on September 28, 2015. The final episode ever of Jon Stewart hosting The Daily Show took place last night on Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 11:00pm. The show ran 52 minutes, which is 22 minutes longer than the usual half-hour format. Furthermore, Comedy Central played a Daily Show marathon all day on August 6th leading up to the final episode. The week leading up to the final show featured some of Stewart’s most favored comedians as guests, including Amy Schumer, Denis Leary, and Louis C.K. In the remarkable number of seasons that Stewart has held this position, he has interviewed guests ranging from Barack Obama to Philip Seymour Hoffman to Kurt Vonnegut to George Clooney. As for the final episode, the guests were not revealed ahead of time, but were instead a surprise for viewers tuning in.

A Slam Dunk Final Show Paying Tribute to Top Talentsjon stewart the daily show

The finale was indeed a huge surprise, with a slew of heavy hitting talents from comedy to politics stopping in to pay tribute to Jon Stewart. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band bid adieu with a musical performance, singing two songs: “Land of Hope and Dreams” and “Born to Run.” Many individuals who were formerly correspondents on The Daily Show made appearances, including Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Larry Wilmore, Rob Corddry, and Rob Riggle. Other comedians came through as well, such as Kristen Schaal, John Hodgman, Lewis Black, Mo Rocca, and Samantha Bee. In particular, Larry Wilmore made the joke that he stopped by because he had nothing else to do; his show, The Nightly Show, was moved to make way for Jon Stewart’s extended finale. A video was also made with the collaboration of many politicians including Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Chuck Schumer, Chris Christie, and John McCain, some of them more gracious than others (McCain called Stewart a “jackass,” all in good fun of course). Darth Vadar even popped in, proclaiming that he was compared to Dick Cheney in an unfair moment.

An Outpouring of Gratitude for Stewart’s Impact on Comedy

On Monday evening, kicking off the final week, Amy Schumer was the guest of honor. This 34 year-old comedian has recently shot to fame with her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer and more recently her feature film Trainwreck presently in theaters. In fact, Schumer reportedly turned down the opportunity to succeed Stewart in the hosting position of The Daily Show. Their interview began on a somber note, discussing a shooting that took place at a recent screening of Trainwreck. However, the conversation then became lighter, as Schumer discussed the havoc she and her friends (including Jennifer Lawrence) wreaked in a recent weekend in the Hamptons. On Wednesday evening, the penultimate episode and the last before the special finale, Louis C.K. was the guest of honor. He told Stewart that he was thrilled to be his “last dude,” and thanked him on behalf of comedy. Louis C.K. disclosed that watching Stewart perform standup long ago at the Comedy Cellar in New York was one of the reasons he decided to go into the comedy profession. Just last week, Stewart returned to that same venue to try his hand again at standup for the first time in many years. In a show of mutual love and respect, he told Louis that he was likewise inspired by him in deciding to return to the standup mic. Overall, it is clear the Jon Stewart will be sorely missed by the comedy community and far beyond. The next phase of his career is as yet unknown, but it will surely be interesting to watch.

Jon Stewart to Leave “The Daily Show”

Growing Restless, and Ready to Move On

Jon-StewartOn the Tuesday, February 10, 2015 episode of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Jon Stewart announced that he would be retiring from the position of host that he has held for the past 17 years. His contract with the network is up in September, but he explained that he may leave before that, as early as July, or after that, as late as December. In any case, he will not stick around for the notorious Daily Show election coverage in the 2016 election, entitled Indecision 2016. Not long after he took the mantle on January 11, 1999, Stewart made a huge name for himself through covering the 2000 election, when the concept of Indecision election coverage began. Since that time, he has defined himself as the go-to liberal correspondent, even if he is often considered a mock host, rather than a real host. In any event, he undeniably blurred the line between “real” news and “comedy” news in this era of increasing political cynicism and declining idealism. His decision to depart stemmed from a sense of growing “restless”; he said that America deserves better than even a somewhat restless host of The Daily Show. The only plans he specified was to spend more time with his family – specifically, to eat dinner with them on a school night, which is something he has not been able to do throughout his career.

What the Future Holds – for Stewart, and for the Daily Showjon stewart

Stewart did not make clear what his specific future plans are, although they could range from Hollywood directing to entering the realm of actual politics in Washington. He made his foray into film writing and directing last year with the only semi-successful Rosewater, for which he took a hiatus from hosting The Daily Show for three months. The film is not his usual comedic style; it is based on a memoir written by Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari involving his imprisonment in 2009. Whether or not this indicates that Stewart intends to pursue more directing opportunities, it does hark to a new effort to express his interest in current affairs through a lens other than his particular brand of comedy. All along, he has clearly cared about the issues he covered. His popularity stemmed from the fact that he was not mocking for the sake of mocking, but rather because he was not afraid to take a stance on issues of clearly marked importance for him and his staff. Certain online outlets have even been tossing around the idea of Stewart running alongside Hillary Clinton as Vice Presidential candidate in 2016, although he has not mentioned anything himself to this end. As for The Daily Show, it will continue on with a new host. Stewart has managed not only to position himself as a force to be reckoned with among the late-night competition, on a basic cable station no less, but he has also been able to build a legacy that will continue on without him, however difficult that is to imagine at the present moment.

Who Might Succeed the Legendary Jon Stewart?

It is too early to know for sure what direction Comedy Central intends to take The Daily Show in the absence of Jon Stewart, but a few likely contenders stand out from the rest. The main question is whether the producers will hope to keep The Daily Show in a similar tone and style to the past 17 years, or whether they will try to reinvent it with a completely different personality. In any event, one obvious choice would be John Oliver, who presently hosts his own HBO show Last Week Tonight that is very similar in tone to The Daily Show. However, he may be lured back to Comedy Central, as indicated by the fact that Oliver took over from Stewart for two months while he filmed Rosewater. Another idea is Aasif Mandvi, a Daily Show insider who would continue the show in a similar vein. Another in-house idea is Jessica Williams, who the film Hot Tub Time Machine 2 predicts will host in the year 2025, and who would set a precedent for a female, African American host. Another female candidate is Amy Poehler, who recently completed her run on Parks and Recreation, or perhaps Amy Schumer or Sarah Silverman. An outside-the-box individual would be Joel McHale, who might not be as inherently political. Two other comedians who might be considered are Patton Oswalt and Ricky Gervais.


Stephen Colbert Gets Letterman Slot, Jon Stewart Ponders Future

Jon Stewart’s Contract is Up at the End of the Year

jon stewartJon Stewart has hosted The Daily Show on Comedy Central since 1999. This half-hour long late night satirical television show premiered in 1996 under the helm of Craig Kilborn, but it quickly became Stewart’s domain, and he has steered the ship ever since. It is a self-described fake news program, covering politics and the national media. The second longest running show on the network, The Daily Show has won 18 Primetime Emmy Awards. In a recent interview in The Hollywood Reporter, Stewart remarked that, like with anything if you do it long enough, there are aspects that come to feel like a grind. With Stephen Colbert recently promoted to the slot held by David Letterman in the CBS program The Late Show, it is clear that the talk show royalty is undergoing a transition. With Stewart’s contract up at the end of the year, he is pondering a transition as well. After all, Stewart was one of the major contenders to host The Late Show, and with Colbert securely in that role for years to come, he is looking to other avenues for his creative and professional outlets.

Jon Stewart’s Film Directorial Career

In June 2013, Stewart took a twelve week hiatus from hosting The Daily Show in order to direct a feature film called Rosewater. The film,rosewater which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and was shopped around to distributors at the Toronto Film Festival this past September, is a drama about a journalist who ended up imprisoned in Iran for four months. The shoot took place in Amman, Jordan, and difficulties were encountered such as an overlap with the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, as well as the given long days and rigorous work schedule facing any feature film, as opposed to cable television. Stewart has inevitably faced a great deal of criticism for taking on such a controversial topic, and yet he has also encountered a lot of appreciation from his fans, who are happy to see him branch out into other realms of entertainment. In this light, it will be interesting to watch how Stewart’s career unfolds in upcoming years. Will he allow his contract to expire without renewing? Will he continue on this new track of directing feature films?

Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”

Whether it happens at the end of this year or not, it is unclear who will eventually take over Stewart’s throne on The Daily Show. Still, other changes are happening at the network. They just added two new writers: Hasan Minhaj and Trevor Noah. Minjah will replace the seat recently vacated by Michael Che as correspondent, and Noah will be a contributing writer starting this December. Like always, the show is staying fresh with new comedic voices, while Stewart sits comfortably in the pilot’s seat. Interestingly, the captivated audience of Daily Show fans often considers the show their primary news source, despite the fact that Stewart goes out of his way to make the show satirical. In spite of this, Stewart does have real news underneath the layers of satire. He co-authored several books including the 2004 bestselling America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction, which also dug its teeth into real issues underneath the jokes. In any case, Stewart is undeniably a pop culture icon in and of himself, independent of his role on The Daily Show, as proven when he hosted the Academy Awards in 2006 and 2008.

Lewis Black Running On Empty Ends Today

Lewis Black concludes his very limited engagement Broadway show, Running on Empty, today.  The comedian, well known for his biting humor and furiously funny rants, only did a handful of performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre during a two-week period.  Given his popularity and the limited number of performance, Lewis Black’s Running on Empty was a great Broadway success, selling out its seats.

Lewis Black actually began as a playwright in New York, before embarking on a career as a stand-up comedian.  He is perhaps best known for his long-running and well-loved “Back in Black” segment on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.  He has also done some acting, voiceover, and commercial work, and regularly performs at venues around the country.

Although Lewis Black’s run on Broadway has come to an end, he is scheduled to perform Running on Empty at several other venues around the country.  See for more information on upcoming dates and locations.