Funny Business: No Pressure, But You’re Up, Trevor Noah

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Written by Dana Sanchez

South African comedian Trevor Noah is scheduled to take over as host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” on Sept. 28, and U.S. viewers will say goodbye Aug. 6 to host Jon Stewart.

Stewart has been hosting the show for 16 years and chose Noah as his replacement.

Viewers who expect “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” to continue celebrating the lunacy of the 2016 White House race may be disappointed, according to Deadline.com.

Noah made his official debut for U.S. TV critics and writers at a recent Television Critics Association summer press tour show in Los Angeles.

In the audience were some of same reporters who caused Comedy Central a headache in March with the discovery of Noah’s tweets between 2009 and 2014 that some interpreted as sexist, anti-Semitic, and racist.

There were no Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders jokes. Instead, Noah went with withering social satire during his performance, Deadline.com reports. He especially joked about the danger black Americans have faced at the hands of some police. It went over big in the hall, in which the press seemed to be outnumbered by Noah fans.

“I just don’t want to die and I don’t know how not to die,” Noah told reporters and fans of his new status as a black man living in the U.S.

So will U.S. audiences be able to relate to Noah? How will the show do with a funny South African at the helm?

The stakes are massive for Noah and Comedy Central, and all the really hard work will come soon enough, according to HollywoodReporter. There are shifting demographics and viewing patterns that nobody can control.

Noah did fine at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. He successfully established that he’s funny and smart and charming — excellent traits if you’re a TV host, says HollywoodReporter.

But it doesn’t really help “The Daily Show” or Comedy Central. They are facing much bigger challenges than replacing a host.

“Here’s the difficult aspect of change — sometimes it doesn’t matter how good the new thing is. Sometimes the simple fact that it’s new at all is enough for people to look elsewhere — because they don’t want new, they want familiar,” Tim Goodman writes in HollywoodReporter.

Here’s what Goodman predicts is likely to happen fast at Comedy Central: People who spent years watching Stewart will move on, regardless of who replaces him.

Of course, he could be wrong. Time will tell.


About Dana Sanchez

Dana Sanchez was born in South Africa and is a U.S. citizen. After working in advertising, she went back to school and earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. As a business writer, she won regional and national writing awards. As editor of a daily newspaper, she coordinated staff writers, freelancers and photographers in the fast-paced environment of daily news. Dana was an editor at Moguldom Media Group for four years, helping to build and manage a team of staff and freelance writers. She works now on Moguldom.com for Nubai Ventures. A long-distance hiker and cyclist, she writes about the business of technology.