Not a show popular with our readers, I know. Annnnnnd not a show that’s going to be popular with them, it sounds like.
AP: You have a much different background than Stewart. How will that affect the show?
[Trevor Noah]: One thing we both share: We are both progressives. Obviously where you’re from may inform a lot of your decisions. But traveling the world I’ve learned that progressives, regardless of their locations, think in a global space. And although I happen to be a guy who’s not from the same place that Jon’s from, I’ve lived in America for years before I went back out on the road, and I’ve learned to love the place. I’ll bring something different because I am different, but because it’s a team, it’ll be the same as well.
He was born and raised in South Africa, a detail featured prominently in his first bit for “The Daily Show” in December, which you’ll find below. Some critics think the fact that he wasn’t raised in the U.S. is a point in his favor because, like John Oliver, “as a foreigner — an outsider — he is considered neither from the left nor right.” Yeah, I’m … pretty sure John Oliver is considered reliably left at this point, and Noah is signaling outright to TDS viewers above that there’ll be continuity in the politics of the show, if not in the type of humor. Which is important, obviously: If, say, 80 percent of the left’s “clapter” for Stewart derives from his progressive advocacy, then toeing the same line politically should minimize the damage once he’s gone. Frankly, if I were Noah, I’d make a point of being especially nasty to the American right in the first few months of the new show. If you’re not sure yet if you can make ’em laugh, at least make ’em happy.
How far down the depth chart was Noah? If you believe Bill Simmons, no higher than fourth:
Heard Comedy Central pursued 3 big-ass names for Daily Show: Poehler, Louis CK, Schumer. Went 0 for 3. Young/cheap/upside was smart audible.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) March 30, 2015
The last two would have been bad fits. Schumer’s funniest when she’s raunchy; I don’t know if I’ve ever heard her tell a political joke. Louis CK is unlikely to step back into something as rigidly generic as fake news for liberals after his affecting, genre-bending show “Louie.” Poehler was a smarter play — she’s a big name after “Parks & Recreation” and she has fake-news experience from SNL’s Weekend Update. An even smarter play would have been Tina Fey, another Weekend Update alum with more of a political persona than Poehler thanks to her Palin spoof. If neither of them wanted this gig either, presumably it’s because replacing Stewart is a thankless task. It wouldn’t be enough to be as funny as him; any falloff in the number of day-after lefty blog headlines about Republicans and/or Fox News having been DESTROYED by last night’s TDS would be seen as proof of failure. (Fey has also been critical of the “clapter” element on “The Daily Show.”) If you’re big enough to land your own sitcom or star in your own movies, why would you want to be Not Jon Stewart for Comedy Central, even at $15 million or whatever a year? No wonder the rookie’s being sent in to pitch.