South African-born comedian Trevor Noah has been announced as the new host of The Daily Show when Jon Stewart leaves later this year. I was surprised by this move since he is a newcomer to the show having just joined in November of last year. It is also interesting that Noah is, after John Oliver of Last Week Tonight, the second foreign-born host of a political show.
There is clearly a generational shift going on within TDS. Recently it was announced that Jason Jones and Samantha Bee were leaving to co-produce their own show. Meanwhile Aasif Mandvi and Al Madrigal’s appearances are exceedingly rare. All of them are in their 40s while Stewart is in his fifties. I suspect that Lewis Black’s periodic appearances will disappear along with Stewart. And with former Senior Black Correspondent Larry Wilmore getting his own show, that pretty much eliminates all the middle-aged contributors. The remaining correspondents like Jessica Williams, Jordan Klepper, Hasan Minhaj, and Noah are all much younger.
The channel is clearly wants to retain its appeal with the much coveted younger demographic, which it managed to do with the retiring crew. But while Stewart could successfully banter with his ‘correspondents’ who were a decade younger than him about being an old fogey, it gets a little strained when the gap stretches to two decades and he becomes more like their father, and I think he rightly saw that it was time to move on. It will be interesting if the new crew will be able to retain the interest of old-fogey viewers like me by continuing to focus on political satire.
I must say that I am sorry to see Bee and Jones (who happen to be married) leave. She is an outstanding comedian and could have continued but Jones had to make a transition. He was excellent playing the role of an ignorant boor while also reporting on important topics. But you can only employ the stereotypical frat-boy persona up to a certain age before becoming a self-parody and he is right to move on.