When Comedy Central welcomed its new South African host Trevor Noah, many were made to question the cable network’s decision.
On February 10, the show’s host Jon Stewart announced that he was leaving The Daily Show after a successful 16-year stint. This led the cable network on a search for the next host of America’s most highly esteemed late night comedy show. Many veteran comedians were considered for the job such as Amy Poehler, Louis C.K. and Amy Schumer. Comedy Central’s choice, however, came as a big surprise yesterday when they singled out 31-year-old Noah.
Over the years, The Daily Show has made name for itself in the television industry for being an influential political satire. Despite being a humorous show, politicians have turned to the program to appeal to younger people. As a host, Stewart took the program to great heights earning him a paycheck of $25 to $30 million a year.
However, the main concern of many is whether American viewers will be receptive of a biracial host to captain a television program that has been considered as a moving force in the field of American politics. Comedy Central President Michele Ganeless addressed this concern.
“When you think about the qualifications that are needed in that host seat, the list becomes very short. The more time we spent with Noah, the more we saw how special he is and how extraordinary his mind is and how layered his approach to comedy is, because he’s a student of the world.”
Noah started as a standup comedian during his 20s. Later, he hosted his own show Tonight with Trevor Noah which was aired in South Africa. He has been on tours around the world and was able to do numerous acts in the United States between 2010 and 2012. As for his kind of humor, Noah is known for his social and racial commentaries. Being born of a Swiss father and a Xhosa mother, he can freely talk about the issue of racism and make a joke about it without sounding offensive.
Despite the hesitations expressed by observers, the comedian remained optimistic. Noah shared what he was told by Stewart upon taking the job of host.
“He told me ‘I was where you were when I took over the show. Nobody knew me. I was just starting out, finding my voice, and that’s when I was handed this seat.'”
[Image via Getty Images]