Trevor Noah opened up his first night hosting the The Daily Show by remembering his past and paying tribute to Jon Stewart, the man who built the show into what it is today. “First of all, this is surreal for me. I’m not going to lie,” Noah said. “Growing up in the dusty streets of South Africa, I never dreamed that I would one day have, well, two things really: An indoor toilet, and a job as host of The Daily Show.”
It was weird to see someone other than Stewart guiding The Daily Show after that host spent 16 years at the helm, and Noah recognized the awkwardness of the situation. “I can assume this is as strange for you as it is for me. Jon Stewart was more than just a late-night host. He was often our voice, our refuge and, in many ways, our political dad. And it’s weird, because dad has left,” Noah said. “And now, it feels like the family has a new stepdad. And he’s black.”
Noah then quickly tackled the criticisms that Comedy Central handed the reins to Stewart’s show to a relatively unknown male and not a woman – none of the late-night shows have a female host – or even an American, since The Daily Show focuses so heavily on U.S. politics. Noah responded that both female comedy stars (rumored to be Amy Poehler and Amy Schumer) and Americans turned down the Daily Show hosting duties before he accepted it. “Again, a job Americans rejected is now being done by an immigrant,” he quipped.
Noah then thanked Stewart once again for the program he built. “You know, many people are part of the reason that I’m sitting here today, but above all, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge one man, and that’s Jon Stewart. Thank you, Jon,” Noah said. “Thank you for believing in me. I’m not quite sure what you saw in me but I’ll work hard every day to find it and I will make you not look like the crazy old dude who left his inheritance to some random kid from Africa.” Noah then promised to continue The Daily Show‘s war on bullshit.
Later in the episode, during a segment on outgoing House Speaker John Boehner – “He’s basically the bouncer of Club Congress,” Noah said of the ever-tanned, often-teary departing Republican – Noah and returning “Senior Congressional Correspondent” Jordan Klepper discussed what Boehner’s future might hold. “Professional onion slicer or seat filler at a funerals,” Klepper joked. However, the discussion about who should succeed John (Boehner) morphed into a veiled conversation about following Jon (Stewart).
“Those are big shoes to fill,” Noah said. “This is John Boehner, whoever takes that job will probably fall flat on their face in front of the entire nation.” “I get how you’re feeling, Taking over for John … Boehner is hard. It doesn’t have to be a disaster,” Klepper said. “But I can already hearing everybody saying ‘John, please come back, please come back,'” the new host responded. Klepper reassured Noah, for the sake of his recently purchased condo. “Sure, everyone is feeling nostalgic for the old leader, but maybe the new guy will surprise us and just crush it, you know?”