So last night finally the came. The night where Trevor Noah took the Daily Show reigns from Jon Stewart after Stewart stepped down in August. New set and new host. I didn’t know what the hell was gonna happen. I’m already on record saying the Daily Show is the one show I watch every single night. That was in no small part because Jon Stewart was incredible as the host. I wasn’t sold on Trevor Noah because I knew nothing about Trevor Noah. The Daily Show gig is a big one in the world of TV and I just assumed it would go to a bigger name than Noah who we barely knew as a correspondent on the show. Even once Noah was named as Stewart’s successor I did zero homework on him. I knew he was a stand up, I knew he was from South Africa and that was it. I didn’t watch any of his stand up because I wanted to go in fresh.
Then you know what happened last night? It went really really well. Like, way better than I expected. He opened with a touching (“Continue the war on bullshit”) yet funny (“And now it feels like the family has a new step dad. And he’s black”) tribute to Stewart. It still felt like the Daily Show. That’s due in part to the fact that lots of the writers from Stewart’s Daily Show stayed on after he left. But also because Trevor Noah is so damn charming, confident and comfortable already which seems impossible. Even the segments with the correspondents went shockingly smooth. Stewart-holdover Jordan Klepper comparing the John Boehner situation with Jon Stewart leaving was well done. Then new guy Roy Wood Jr. doing a funny bit on black people going to Mars. The first two segments were borderline flawless. Some people were annoyed that Noah laughed at his own jokes too much but that feels like nit picking. Someone once made the analogy that stand up is like being an airplane pilot. If you’re confident in your abilities then the passengers can relax and enjoy the flight. Same goes with stand up crowds and late night show crowds. Trevor is REALLY confident.
It’s also clear what they’re trying to do with his version of the show and that’s make it more appealing to a younger generation. There were emoji/texting jokes that Stewart would’ve never done except maybe act like he didn’t know what the emojis meant. There were mentions of Fetty Wap and hashtags. More stuff that Stewart likely knows little about. Noah’s first guest being Kevin Hart speaks to the youth movement on the show as well. I assume they could’ve gotten just about anybody and they picked Kevin Hart. Not an accident. I’m not the biggest Hart fan but I understand the choice. The one part of the show that was kinda weak was Noah’s interview with Kevin Hart. That’s usually one of the last things that comes with a new host. Trevor just needs reps to get comfortable talking to guests. It also doesn’t help Noah that Stewart was a master interviewer so he has that to go up against. Overall though I’d give the first show a solid B+. I’m mostly just happy that the Daily Show is back and I’m not as worried as I was when I heard Jon Stewart was leaving. Trevor is gonna do just fine.
PS- The joke about how the Pope has a big dick and it’s being wasted was the joke of the night for me. Laugh out loud funny.