South African Trevor Noah To Replace Jon Stewart On ‘Daily Show’

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Written by Dana Sanchez

South African comedian Trevor Noah, 31, will be the new host of the hit U.S. satirical news show, “The Daily Show,” stepping in to fill Jon Stewart’s shoes after 16 years. Media analysts say it’s a gutsy move, according to NPR.

“The Daily Show” describes itself as a fake news show but it’s a more trusted news source than MSNBC, according to a 2014 HuffingtonPost report on a Brookings Institution survey.

Noah grew up in Soweto, the son of a black Xhosa mother and white Swiss father, NYTimes reports. The marriage was considered illegal during apartheid. Noah said he was taught to speak freely about anything — also illegal during apartheid. He speaks six languages.

Noah made his U.S. TV debut in 2012 on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno and has also appeared on “The Late Show” with David Letterman, becoming the first South African stand-up comedian to appear on either, according to Comedy Central. Noah hosted his own late night talk show in South Africa, “Tonight with Trevor Noah.”

Stewart, 52, said Feb. 10 he was leaving“The Daily Show” after a highly successful run that transformed the show into authoritative, satirical comedy on current events.

Noah frequently tackled race. His one-man show, “The Racist,” drew from his childhood growing up with a South African mom and a Swiss dad, USAToday reports.

How did Noah land the job? Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless told The Times, “We talked to women. We talked to men. We found in Trevor the best person for the job,” USAToday reports.

Noah confirming reports of his new job Monday morning, tweeting, “No-one can replace Jon Stewart. But together with the amazing team at The Daily Show, we will continue to make this the best damn news show!”

Comedy Central said the switch will happen later in 2015, NPR reports.

Noah has been an on-air contributor, filing reports on events such as the Islamist group Boko Haram’s violent attacks in Nigeria.

Comedy Central President Michele Ganeless said Noah “has a huge international following and is poised to explode here in America.”

In an interview, Noah said his family helped his sense of humor:

“My father’s Swiss, so humor doesn’t play too well on his side. Everything is matter-of-fact and there’s chocolate involved. But when it comes to my mother’s side of the family, that was really the one currency we had was laughter. … Your laughter takes you through everything.”

A newcomer to American TV, Noah promises to bring youthful vitality and international perspective to “The Daily Show,” NYTimes reports:

“It puts a black performer at the head of this flagship Comedy Central franchise, and one who comes with Mr. Stewart’s endorsement.

But the decision also invites questions about Mr. Noah’s experience and visibility (or lack thereof), and why the network did not choose a woman to crack the all-male club of late-night television hosts.

Michele Ganeless, the Comedy Central president, said in an interview: “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.”

Learn more about Noah here.