TREVOR NOAH world TAKES ON THE

EXCLUSIVE The pop­u­lar TV host is sig­nif­i­cantly in­creas­ing his mil­len­nial au­di­ence and giv­ing his US show a more global fo­cus

CityPress - - Front Page - CHARL BLIGNAUT charl.blignaut@city­press.co.za

In an exclusive interview with City Press, su­per­star co­me­dian Trevor Noah has spo­ken about work­ing on The Daily Show in a time of Don­ald Trump – and how the US pres­i­dent is help­ing him shift his show’s fo­cus to in­ter­na­tional is­sues and not just US ones. This week, Noah again broke his own view­er­ship records, prov­ing naysay­ers wrong that he would not be able to match his pre­de­ces­sor Jon Ste­wart’s pop­u­lar­ity.

TV an­a­lysts at­tribute Noah’s suc­cess to his ap­peal to a new, mil­len­nial au­di­ence, to his pen­e­tra­tion on so­cial me­dia and YouTube – and to Trump.

In May, Noah ded­i­cated his MTV award for Best Host to the head­line-grab­bing pres­i­dent, say­ing: “Thank you to Don­ald J Trump for the com­edy. The J stands for Jesus; a lot of peo­ple don’t know that.”

On a more se­ri­ous note, City Press asked Noah if he felt it was his duty to take Trump on.

“As a per­son on the planet, I would like to think that my duty is to try to make my world bet­ter,” Noah wrote back.

“Ev­ery­one has an abil­ity to do that. It is im­pos­si­ble to change the en­tire world by your­self, but you can just make the world you are in a lit­tle bit bet­ter. So, es­sen­tially, that’s what I try to do.”

Noah shared plans to broaden his au­di­ence even fur­ther: “What’s funny is that I ac­tu­ally thought that Hil­lary Clin­ton, had she be­come pres­i­dent, was go­ing to give us the op­por­tu­nity to talk more about in­ter­na­tional is­sues. But I guess Don­ald Trump ended up be­ing the per­son who did that any­way.”

Noah says it was al­ways his in­ten­tion to in­cor­po­rate more non-US news on his show, and in this re­gard Trump has been a dou­ble bless­ing.

“Since [Trump] has more of an ad­ver­sar­ial re­la­tion­ship with the rest of the world, it has be­come an op­por­tu­nity to talk about Saudi Ara­bia, to talk about Is­rael, to talk about the Vatican, to talk about Bel­gium and wher­ever Don­ald Trump gets him­self into trou­ble.” So, how does he keep up with world news? “I spend about an hour and a half just read­ing the news. You can’t know ev­ery­thing, ob­vi­ously, but I try to learn as much as pos­si­ble.

“So, ev­ery morn­ing I just try to read as much as I can ... I try to make sure I only com­ment on things that I know, be­cause when you don’t live in a place, you have to be care­ful when you com­ment on their news or an­a­lyse what is hap­pen­ing. You may not know the nu­ance. When I trav­elled re­cently, I found that in cer­tain coun­tries they didn’t think that Don­ald Trump was as crazy as we in Amer­ica think he is. Be­cause when you trans­late him into an­other lan­guage, ap­par­ently it doesn’t sound so stupid.”

Does he think he will be able to get Trump sup­port­ers to change their minds through his jokes?

“Oh no. Or maybe very few of them. Be­cause if you’re a Trump voter, you are in heaven right now. Don­ald Trump is do­ing ev­ery­thing that he said he was go­ing to do for you. He’s not the best pres­i­dent for Amer­i­cans, but, if any­thing, Trump is the best pres­i­dent for Trump vot­ers.”

On Wed­nes­day, it was re­ported that The Daily Show with Trevor Noah se­cured its most-watched pe­riod for the se­cond quar­ter of this year, and its most-watched month in June. It is now the top late-night talk show for mil­len­ni­als aged be­tween 18 and 34, and bags an av­er­age 1.5 mil­lion view­ers a night.

The Daily Show is also rack­ing up record video streams on Com­edy Cen­tral’s web­site – up 118% since he first sat in the host’s chair. In the se­cond quar­ter of this year, the show at­tracted 203 mil­lion video views on Face­book (up 184% in a year) and 143 mil­lion streams on YouTube (up 305% in a year).

Catch The Daily Show with Trevor Noah from Tues­days

to Fri­days on Com­edy Cen­tral (chan­nel 122 on DStv) at 9.30pm

PHOTO: REUTERS / CAR­LOS BARRIA

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