Comedy Central Is Reportedly Close To Choosing A ‘Daily Show’ Replacement For Jon Stewart

Variety is reporting that Comedy Central is close to choosing a replacement for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show and a surprising name is near the top of the alleged list: Trevor Noah.

Noah is the South African comedian that made his debut back in December and apparently has made quite the impact on the show, enough to have his name thrown into the hosting mess. Given the exodus of other long-running correspondents from the show, it actually makes some sense from an internal point of view. Nothing is certain yet. From Variety:

Noah is gaining consideration as a potential successor to Jon Stewart, the Comedy Central mainstay’s longtime host, according to a person familiar with the matter, and if successful, could get a crack at becoming one of the more influential voices in late night.

There is no guarantee that Noah will inherit Stewart’s seat, and no final decision has been reached, this person cautioned. Comedy Central’s selection process has accelerated in recent days, this person said. And Noah, a South African comedian, has moved to a short list being put together by executives at the Viacom-owned cable outlet.

A Comedy Central spokesman declined to comment on whether Noah was under consideration, or on efforts to identify a new host for “The Daily Show.”

I don’t personally think it matters who gets to host The Daily Show because it will always be a “wait & see” type of deal. Tina Fey could swoop in with a dump truck full of buzz and the show could fail the same way it could with an unknown. Jon Stewart is leaving big shoes and anyone who steps in will have a hard time.

That said, calling Noah an unknown shows a small frame of reference according to Variety. It turns out that he has a track record in South Africa that would make him a perfect candidate:

Like Stewart, Noah is no stranger to tackling thorny issues. In South Africa, he was known for riffing on the topics of race and politics, even using his mixed-race parentage to get laughs. Noting that his mother is a black South African and his father a white Swiss, he once told an audience, “I was born a crime,” according to a 2013 report in the Wall Street Journal.

And he has experience with wee-hours programming, He hosted a latenight show in South Africa for two seasons, according to a biography located at his website, which bills him as the first standup comedian from South Africa to appear on either NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” or CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman.”

So this debate continues. If anything, it shows how much The Daily Show has become a cultural landmark. What do you think about Noah hosting? Is it too risky or is it the right direction?

(Via Variety / The AV Club)