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New ‘Daily Show’ host can take show in new direction

“The Daily Show” has found a replacement for the legendary Jon Stewart. Late last month, the New York Times confirmed that Trevor Noah, a relatively unknown South African comic, and recent on air contributor to “The Daily Show” is poised to take the reins of the show upon Stewart’s exit.

The timing couldn’t come any better for the show. As reported earlier, Jon Stewart is bidding farewell to “The Daily Show” after nearly 16 years of political jabs, call-outs and argumentative boxing with any and all political pundits. It’s a storied career spanning most of our memories of the show.

Opinion.trevor-noahNoah has been somewhat of an unknown comedian for a majority of his career, originally hosting a radio show in South Africa aimed at youth culture and entertainment at the age of 18.

Leveraging his natural charisma and sense of comedy, Noah hosted several kinds of television shows and variety programs which were popular with UK Audiences: Shows like “Run The Adventure” from 2004-2006, “The Real Goboza” in 2008 and many other shows which never actually made it across the ocean to the United States.

Regardless, many people in Europe became familiar with Noah’s comedic talent and delivery. In 2007, Noah relinquished his personal radio program to focus more on his comedic delivery and style, working almost exclusively out of South Africa, his humor trended toward joking about aspects of his surroundings and heritage.

It’s Noah’s heritage that would help him push the envelope considerably in his career. The progeny of a Black South African mother and a White South African Father of Swiss and German Descent during the Apartheid-era rule in the region, his background shaped many of his political and comedic views.

His observations on race relations and global ethnicity are the general focus of his comedy. His personal interest in global culture eventually led Noah to becoming a polyglot, well versed in many languages including English, German, Xhosa, isiZulu, Sotho, and Afrikaans.

The decision to include Noah into “The Daily Show” stemmed from being part of several comedy sketches back in December 2014. Stewart took notice of Noah’s comedy routines and Comedy Central extended a job offer as a contributor to the show. When it was announced Stewart would vacate the position after the current year ended, the search began for a replacement.

Michele Ganeless, the current President of Comedy Central made a public statement in regards to Noah’s rapid promotion, “We talked to women. We talked to men. We found in Trevor the best person for the job.”

The speed of the selection shocked long-time fans who were looking for a more methodical approach to the replacement.

Ganeless also commented on the decision: “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.”

Noah expects a torrent of criticism with many fans still questioning the quick nomination of the young comedian. With the internet gossip bubbling and reaching a fevered pitch, several Tweets Mr. Noah made some time ago targeting women and Jewish people have surfaced and caused a substantial amount of turmoil. So much so that Stewart had to intervene in the drama and issue a call for sanity in regards to some of Noah’s off-color commentary.

Stewart joked that Noah “will earn your trust and respect … or not. Just as I earned your trust and respect … or did not. Or sometimes earned it and then lost it and then kind of got it back and then it was like, ‘F*** that guy!’”

Noah also defended himself on Twitter regarding the jokes, “To reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn’t land is not a true reflection of my character, nor my evolution as a comedian.”

Comedy Central is also currently echoing Stewart’s support for the young comic, and that they must if they hope for Noah to have any shot of reaching the same kind of heights that Stewart did in his tenure with “The Daily Show.”

Truly, it would be a difficult chore to replace someone who has been sitting on “The Daily Show” bench for as long as Stewart. Noah has his work cut out for him too. An audience that seeks the same kind of adherence to the same show structure that Stewart so deftly applied to his show will not be so quick to budge if Noah should falter.

The wound is still fresh for those liberal leaning fans, but maybe this change will spark a little more controversy and a little more discussion among long time fans. It aims to be an interesting change when Stewart steps down at a yet undisclosed time later this year.

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New ‘Daily Show’ host can take show in new direction