In less than two months, South African comedian Trevor Noah will assume his role as the new host of The Daily Show, and now the tone and style he intends to bring the Comedy Central program has come a bit more into focus. Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Noah alluded to a Daily Show reboot that puts comedy above criticism. “I’m not in the news business. I’m in the comedy business,” he said.
Noah stressed that he is not a clone of current host Jon Stewart, and doesn’t expect to pick up exactly where Stewart leaves off when he walks away after over 15 years behind the desk. His predecessor became “bigger and bigger in the media landscape because of what he was saying,” Noah told reporters yesterday. “I hope in time to have that same impact…I don’t think I’ve earned that. I have to work very hard to achieve that.” The 31 year-old comedian stressed that his first job is to be funny.
But not everything is changing, and concerns that The Daily Show will be drastically different under Noah might be premature. Deadline reports that the entire senior Comedy Central team of producers will be staying on, including executives.
At the same press conference, Noah also spoke directly to the outrageous and tragic stories of police brutality and injustice toward black citizens, but used comedy as a means of getting his critique across. “I just don’t want to die and I don’t know how not to die,” Noah told reporters, according to another report by Deadline.
“Every time I turn on the news, another black person has been killed for seemingly fewer and fewer reasonable reasons,” Noah said, drawing from a comedic routine of withering barbs that he’s already performed for audiences recently. Referencing the media’s character assassination of Travyon Marin, Noah continued: “Who was this young boy…why was he wearing a hoodie? What was he doing in this neighborhood wearing a hoodie?”
Noah’s comments are in keeping with his past insistence that comedy often offends some listeners, but should be taken for what it’s worth and with a grain of salt. Stewart, for his part, has praised Noah’s comedic style. How it all shakes out on the Comedy Central stage will be revealed by late September.