Comedy Central has announced Monday that South African comedian Trevor Noah will replace Jon Stewart as host of 'The Daily Show' when Mr. Stewart departs later this year.
Mr. Noah, who first appeared on the show this past December, is a well known comedian from South Africa. So far, Noah has done only three segments: one on Ebola, one on Boko Haram, and one in which he played a game of chess with Stewart.
But he comes with Stewart’s endorsement. “I’m thrilled for the show and for Trevor,” Stewart said in a statement. “He’s a tremendous comic and talent that we’ve loved working with.” Stewart added that he “may rejoin as a correspondent just to be a part of it!”
Prior to working for “The Daily Show,” Noah hosted a well-known late-night talk show in South Africa, as well as a several radio programs and the South African Music Awards.
He has also performed stand-up shows around the world. Entertainment Weekly describes his comedy as “a solid balance between understatement and outrage,” much like Stewart’s.
Despite his success overseas, he is not yet well known in America and his appointment came as a surprise to many, including Noah.
“You don’t believe it for the first few hours,” Noah said of learning about his new job.
In a press release he added “It’s an honor to follow Jon Stewart. He and the team at ‘The Daily Show’ have created an incredible show whose impact is felt all over the world. In my brief time with the show they’ve made me feel so welcome. I’m excited to get started and work with such a fantastic group of people.”
Also on the shortlist to fill the soon-to-be vacant anchor's chair was correspondent Hasan Minhaj.
While the original list of possible replacements was quite long, it quickly got shorter as candidates left to pursue other opportunities. John Oliver and Larry Wilmore, two of the most promising candidates, recently got their own shows, “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” and “The Nightly Show,” respectively. Similarly husband-and-wife duo Jason Jones and Samantha Bee are leaving “The Daily Show” to work for TBS.
Noah’s appointment will add diversity, as well as an international perspective, to the world of talk shows, although it does little to dispel the perception that late night programming is largely a boys club. Correspondent Jessica Williams was a popular candidate among the show's fans, but she claimed that she was “extremely under-qualified” to take over as host.
Noah will most likely take over sometime between July and the end of the year when Stewart leaves.