29 September 2015 - Trevor Noah takes over as Daily Show host
Trevor Noah’s Daily Show Debut: Much Room to Grow for a Newcomer
Daniel D'Addario (Time)
On Monday night, the 31-year-old comic Trevor Noah hosted his first episode of The Daily Show, taking over for the recently retired Jon Stewart. Early promises that the show would become, under Noah, something different were only partially fulfilled. It was as though Noah knew that there’d be a wave of first-night reviews that would compare him negatively to Stewart, and sought to forestall the issue by referencing Stewart as frequently as possible.
Noah opened the show with something of an acceptance speech, thanking Stewart for his trust in the newbie and saying that the show was something he never might have dreamed of in his childhood “in the dusty streets of South Africa.” There were jokes, occasionally, but the whole thing was suffused with the sort of reverence that’s antithetical to comedy. (And his decision to make a joke out of the outcry over the all-male slate of late-night hosts, a tradition Noah’s hiring continued, required a real rethink, or a substantially better joke.) A segment where Noah discussed the resignation of House Speaker John Boehner with correspondent Jordan Klepper relied on a John/Jon double entendre (everyone is so sad, in Congress and in the TV audience, that Jo[h]n has left). Because none of the House Republicans seem particularly sad that Boehner is stepping down, the bit managed to avoid saying anything substantial about politics while endlessly referencing better days.
A traditional Daily Show
Darren Franich (Entertainment Weekly)
Nobody likes politicians and God is dead, so America has spent the last couple of years caring entirely too much about the philosophical symbolism of Late Night TV hosts. The eternal Leno-Letterman Cold War faded into history with a long whimper. CBS replaced white guys with white guys, and Comedy Central white guys with black guys. Late Night as a genre has started to feel almost reflexively about itself: The hosts are never women, which just means every host has to make at least one joke about not being a woman.
Trevor Noah’s first Daily Show was mostly a Daily Show about the Daily Show. (Our TV critic Jeff Jensen will have a full review of Noah’s first show tomorrow.) Noah sat onstage talking about how honored he was to be the host of The Daily Show. He made a few Jon Stewart jokes. He referenced several Daily Show meta-narratives: He said Comedy Central offered the job to a woman, although he didn’t mention Amy Schumer by name. The first correspondent check-in, from Jordan Klepper, was nominally about John Boehner, but “John” sounds exactly like “Jon,” so talking about Boehner’s replacement became a tangent about Stewart’s replacement. “I bet he’ll bring a new global perspective to things,” said Klepper. “I just keep hearing ‘global.’ I hear ‘viral’ and ‘youth’… everything’s just so f—ing new!”to the area."
Wit and irreverence intact
Hank Stuever (The Washington Post)
There’s no way to judge a brand new “Daily Show” on the strength or weakness of a single episode, especially since we’re talking about 20 minutes of material (subtract all of the commercials for “The Walk”). But after watching new host Trevor Noah’s seemingly smooth debut Monday night, I just have to ask: What were we all so afraid of?
“The Daily Show” doesn’t exactly write itself (or perform itself), but there’s plenty about it that’s a well-oiled operation, with or without Jon Stewart. When he signed off in August, Stewart left behind a more-than-capable crew. All that really has to happen is for the news cycle to bring the funny, and in this regard, Noah got pretty lucky, able to make John Boehner jokes (future jobs for the weepy former speaker: onion slicer, seat-filler at a funeral, Claire Danes impersonator), Pope Francis jokes (“He’s like a young Bernie Sanders”), pope penis jokes (oh, yes, he did make a pope penis joke) and water-on-Mars jokes with aplomb. (“Don’t worry, California, they’ll find water on you too, someday.”) Even his edgiest jokes (a little Whitney Houston/crack joke there; an AIDS/aides joke there) seemed well within the expected tenor of “The Daily Show.”
A lack of cheek?
Robert Rorke (The New York Post)
Trevor Noah is either a brave man or a fool to take Jon Stewart’s place as host of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central. The show was so identified with Stewart that it barely seems to exist without him, as the raft of Emmys recently bestowed upon his final season would attest. The comic used the show as his platform, to put politicians on notice and influence a generation of voters. Expecting anyone to come close to making that kind of impact is folly.
The South African Noah smartly acknowledged his debt to Stewart in his opening monologue, as well as his awkward selection for the job over other candidates, specifically female (red-hot Amy Schumer reportedly turned down the gig) and American. Stewart’s style was blunt; in his sleek blue suit, Noah is the picture of dry wit. Calling Stewart “our political dad,” Noah called himself the show’s new “stepdad,” one who happens to be black — “which is not ideal.”
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"29 September 2015 - Trevor Noah takes over as Daily Show host", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), septembre 2015. Consulté le 01/12/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2015/29-september-2015-trevor-noah-takes-over-as-daily-show-host