Trevor’s still tops
Two years in and Daily Show host Trevor Noah seems to have won over his critics. And his formula? Not so top-secret…
The Daily Show With Trevor Noah Tue-Fri Comedy Central (*122) 21:55
Critics savaged SA funnyman Trevor Noah when he took over from Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show (1996- current) in 2015. But guess who’s having the last laugh now? “I wasn’t scared. I was nervous,” Trevor told The Financial Times. “I was plucked from obscurity, in terms of a US audience. The worst thing? I don’t live up to Jon’s legacy, don’t live up to anyone’s expectations, I lose the show. What’s happened? Nothing! I knew what I was investing in and I’ve limited my liabilities. But if I succeed, the upside of my investment is way beyond what I would have lost.”
If you look at Trevor’s stats when he took over, they weren’t amazing. “But that’s to be expected,” says a TV critic. “When you replace someone established, like Jon, with someone unknown, you won’t keep that same audience.” While the show lost almost half of its 1.6 million viewers in the first year of Trevor’s reign, 2017’s been better as the US market got used to the 33-year-old. He’s upped viewership to 1.5 million in early Feb this year (also improving his approval rating with the all-important 18- 49-year- old group), but it’s online where the figures tell the real story. According to Comedy Central, “The Daily Show generated the highest latenight show engagement: over 6 million actions (likes, shares, retweets, etc on social networks). That is a 42% increase since Feb 2016.”
LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
The Daily Show’s core principle is latenight satire and it pokes fun at anything and everything… especially politics. And that’s no problem for Trevor, who joked that “South African politicians write their own jokes. I’ll be out of a job soon”. And now that he’s learnt more about US politics, Trevor is on fire. “Donald Trump isn’t bad for comedy. If you’ve got a clown and that clown runs in a field, it’s not funny. But if you put a clown in a small room and the clown runs into walls, now that’s funny!” And he’s laughing all the way to the bank too – Trev recently bought a $9.5 million (R130 million) penthouse in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan.
It’s all smiles for Daily Show host Trevor Noah, who’s turned things around.