Talk about trying to fill enormous shoes. On September 28th, viewers of The Daily Show will find a new face behind Jon Stewart’s freshly vacated desk: Trevor Noah, a smart, politically minded stand-up comedian from South Africa who’s huge abroad but an almost entirely unknown quantity here. Stewart transformed the politically minded talk show into a late-night institution. The challenge for Noah, 31, is to honor what his forebear accomplished while ushering the show into a new era — one in which social-media drives news cycles as much as, if not more than, Stewart’s old cable-news foils, and one where programmers are scrambling to attract as many millennial eyeballs as possible. Here, the host talks about where he’s from — and where he wants The Daily Show to go.
What can people can expect from your first episode?
The first episode will be a reintroduction of the show — but you can’t just go off one episode like, Oh I know what this is about, I know what this is. It takes a lot more time. You’re building a relationship. So what we’re doing is dividing the first week into a four-part miniseries that will set the tone for what we hope the show will be.
Have you spent the summer working?
Yes. It’s been a lot of preparation, preproduction, watching old shows, looking at new stuff, figuring out scripts and writing, and so on. If I have time in the evenings I’ll maybe try to catch a show on Broadway or do a bit of stand-up or whatever, then I start my next day working again. But with The Daily Show, for the most part you’re preparing to be prepared when something happens. It’s not like we can write the shows now.