Snyder: New ‘Daily Show’ host has potential


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Columnist Snyder believes that Trevor Noah is the right man to replace Jon Stewart, despite growing social media outrage directed at the South African comedian.

When Jon Stewart revealed that he was leaving the Daily Show on Feb. 10., the young liberal world went into a panicked frenzy, or maybe that was just me, but it seemed like a pretty huge deal. There were some big questions to answer as well as some (metaphorically) big shoes to fill. In 2012, nearly 40 percent of the Daily Show audience was between the ages of 18 and 29. The Colbert Report (another great, recent loss and one that I’m still not ready to talk about) was the only show that tested higher with that age group.

With that large percentage of young viewers tuning in every night, the burden of educating the American youth on the political happenings of Washington, D.C. and other general nonsense of the world fell largely on the Daily Show and Stewart. So the questions on my mind and the mind of millions of other viewers were simple: Who will we watch now? Who’s up next?

The answer was never the likes of Colbert, who is on to bigger and better things, or Larry Wilmore, who spent time as a correspondent and recently earned his own late night spot. John Oliver may have been a viable replacement following the more than admirable job he did filling in as the Daily Show host this summer while Stewart was away making a movie, but he used that experience as a launchpad to land his own HBO show, which he is now contractually attached to for some time.

There were certainly suitable replacements already working as correspondents for the Daily Show, most notably Samantha Bee and Jessica Williams, both of whom received an outpouring of fan support with the interest of finally getting a woman back into the late night television rotation. Bee, however, is reportedly off to TBS to create the station’s own version of a comedy news program and Williams took to Twitter to address her supporters saying, “thank you but I am extremely under-qualified for the job!” so she didn’t seem to be the choice either.

So after nearly two months of waiting, Comedy Central executives made the decision and ended our miserable suspense and announced the new host of the Daily Show on Mar. 30. The choice that was made certainly turned a few heads.

The new host of the Daily Show will be Trevor Noah.

I can almost hear the question “who?” coming from many of you even as I write this sentence because it seems to be the most common reaction and honestly the most logical one as well.

Noah is a South African comedian who has made appearances on the Daily Show, but is by no means a veteran as he was only featured as part of three segments and none of those three came before Dec. 5, 2014. However, it seems that Noah impressed in his brief time working on the Daily Show and gained the confidence of Daily Show, Comedy Central and Viacom executives alike.

“He brings such a unique worldview and a deep understanding of human nature, which makes his comedy so insightful … He’s truly a student of the world,” said Michele Ganeless, Comedy Central president in an interview with the New York Times.

However, Noah has already received some flak for jokes made on his Twitter feed, which critics have said are offensive and inappropriate. Comedy Central came to his defense, releasing a statement of support for Noah.

“Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included. To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair,” read the statement from Comedy Central.

First of all, we should all realize that Noah is a comedian. His job isn’t to make you or anyone feel good about themselves. His job is to make people laugh. And for every person that found any of the (relatively few) inappropriate tweets to be in bad taste, 10 other people thought they were hilarious.

If you don’t like the jokes, which are no way an accurate representation of Noah’s actual character or of how he will conduct himself as the host of the Daily Show, then don’t watch the show. But don’t start a fire under a man and call for his job when he hasn’t even started work yet.

I for one have tremendous faith in Noah’s ability to take over as the host of the Daily Show. He will never fully replace Jon Stewart, as he has already noted himself, but he will bring an interesting dynamic and perspective to the show. He grew up in South Africa during Apartheid and was born to a white Swiss father and black Xhosa mother, so by nature of their different races, they were not allowed to be together publicly.

A line from one of Noah’s standup routines that is particularly hard hitting is when he tells the audience that in racist South Africa he was “born a crime.”

Noah is an international traveler and also speaks six language, but if you want to bash his character and call him ignorant on the basis of a few jokes that he made as a comedian (which is, you know, something comedians do), then go ahead. I’m sure he can take it for two reasons: first, he’s certainly been through worse times than people disliking him on Twitter. Second, he’s got himself a pretty cool new gig and I’m betting there isn’t much that can be done to spoil his mood this week.