S. African Noah to re­place Jon Ste­wart

The China Post - - ARTS - BY DAVID BAUDER

The choice of South African comic Trevor Noah as Jon Ste­wart’s re­place­ment on “The Daily Show” ad­vances an in­trigu­ing new trend of late-night comic hosts with a more worldly per­spec­tive while con­tin­u­ing the longer-run­ning pat­tern of keep­ing those jobs filled with men.

Com­edy Cen­tral an­nounced Mon­day that the 31-year-old Noah will take over from Ste­wart, who said last month that he will exit the show that has made him a key part of the news and cul­tural land­scape since 1999.

Noah fol­lows James Cor­den — also lit­tle-known, also from over­seas — who re­cently be­gan as host of CBS’ “Late Late Show” host. Cor­den is Bri­tish, as is John Oliver, a vet­eran of “The Daily Show” who be­gan a well-re­garded late-night show on HBO last year.

Although he’s not from the United States, Noah said in an in­ter­view Mon­day that he’s lived in the coun­try “and I’ve learned to love the place. I’ll bring some­thing dif­fer­ent be­cause I am dif­fer­ent.”

He’s made a hand­ful of ap­pear­ances on “The Daily Show” al­ready. His first, last De­cem­ber, had him jok­ing with Ste­wart about wide­spread Amer­i­can mis­con­cep­tions about Africa. He joked that his friends in South Africa wor­ried that he could catch Ebola trav­el­ing in the United States — South Africa hasn’t had a case of the dis­ease in 18 years — but that it would be small-minded not to travel in the U.S. be­cause of the dan­ger.

He re­ferred to the “hands up” ges­ture that was a sym­bol of pro­test­ers in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri, say­ing, “I never thought I’d be more afraid of po­lice here than in South Africa. It kind of made me nos­tal­gic for the old days back home.”

Noah wasn’t say­ing what kind of changes he’d make to the show, known for its bit­ingly satir­i­cal look at the news and how it is cov­ered. But he sig­naled that he is com­ing in as part of a strong team. Ste­wart, sim­i­larly, joined a show with an ex­ist­ing for­mat in 1999 and put his own stamp on it.

He re­ceived that en­dorse­ment. Still to be determined is what, if any, be­hind-the-scenes role Ste­wart will have in the show af­ter he leaves, Gane­less said.

In a mat­ter of months, Com­edy Cen­tral will be com­pletely re­mak­ing its sig­na­ture block of pro­gram­ming and giv­ing the lead roles to a young comic born of a white, Swiss fa­ther and black woman from South Africa, and vet­eran AfricanAmer­i­can comic Larry Wil­more. Wil­more be­gan in Jan­uary as Stephen Col­bert’s re­place­ment.

Ste­wart has said he will be leav­ing “The Daily Show” later this year although he hasn’t set a firm sign-off date.

While Noah’s ap­point­ment in­trigued many fans on so­cial me­dia on Mon­day, there was some dis­ap­point­ment ex­pressed in the con­tin­u­ing dif­fi­culty women have had break­ing into the club. Noah will join a crowded male-dom­i­nated scene with Jimmy Fal­lon, Jimmy Kim­mel, David Let­ter­man (soon to be re­placed by Col­bert), Cor­den, Seth Mey­ers, Wil­more, Co­nan O’Brien and Andy Co­hen. TBS’ can­cel­la­tion of Ge­orge Lopez’ latenight show left the land­scape with­out a Latino host, ei­ther.

A Quin­nip­iac Uni­ver­sity poll ear­lier this month found that Tina Fey was the choice of more Amer­i­cans than any other as Ste­wart’s re­place­ment. There was no in­di­ca­tion that Fey, who is mak­ing a com­edy se­ries for Net­flix, was in­ter­ested or even con­sid­ered.

Sa­man­tha Bee of “The Daily Show” re­cently signed a deal with TBS to de­velop a late-night show, but it has no set pre­miere date. Chelsea Han­dler, who left her “Chelsea Lately” show on E! En­ter­tain­ment last sum­mer, is de­vel­op­ing a new talk show for Net­flix.

In South Africa, the an­nounce­ment made break­ing news on a na­tional tele­vi­sion news sta­tion. On so­cial me­dia, Noah’s name be­came a trend­ing topic within min­utes, with some Twit­ter users say­ing he not only rep­re­sented South Africa, but also the African con­ti­nent.

South Africa’s main op­po­si­tion party, the Demo­cratic Al­liance, con­grat­u­lated Noah on his ap­point­ment.

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